Photo Credit: Courtesy CMT
Taylor Swift fans will be happy to learn that there's a great-looking new video for "Mean," one of the catchiest songs from the country princess's all-around catchy album, Speak Now. But not everyone thinks the video sends the right message. Watch the "Mean" video below, then read on to find out what all the fuss is about.
Swift clearly intends for "Mean" to be an anti-bullying anthem -- but is she sending mixed messages? In a promotional video interview for Speak Now, Swift said that song is about dealing with people who try to ruin your day: "There's always gonna be someone who's just mean to you, and all you can control is how you handle it. And this song is about how I handle it."
But the video doesn't show Swift being bullied, other than stylized shots of her tied to a train track like a silent movie heroine. Instead, she's a kind of savior to the outsider kids, who are all shallow stereotypes: the gay teen with a fashion magazine being picked on in the locker room, the waitress saving her pennies for college, the little girl eating lunch alone in the bathroom. Swift herself doesn't seem at all vulnerable -- so her smirking to the camera about how successful she is, and how much of a loser her imaginary bully is, seems a bit like gloating.
The critical response has been mixed so far. Vulture jokes that Swift is so unsympathetic in the video that it "makes us temporarily pro-bully." And Entertainment Weekly asks, "Is she really equating a professional critic questioning her ability to sing at an awards show to getting bullied because you're different?"
Don't get us wrong -- we love Taylor Swift, and it's a great song. But given the recent trend for empowering-message videos -- Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and "F-in' Perfect" videos, Katy Perry's "Firework" video, the "It Gets Better" Project, this entire season of "Glee" -- Swift's entry doesn't offer us anything we haven't seen a hundred times before. Considering her enormous talent, it would be nice to see Taylor truly go out on a limb for something she believes in.