After accusations of fatphobia arose following the release of Taylor Swift’s music video for “Anti-Hero” from her new album Midnights, a new version has been quietly uploaded to Apple Music without the scene in question.
In the original music video, which is still available for viewing on YouTube, Swift steps on the dreaded scale only for it to lob the word “FAT” back at her. While it’s a passing moment in the music video, the message remains pretty clear: For thin people like Swift, being considered fat is terrifying, and a damning thing in a society that still lauds thinness as a marker of beauty.
It’s meant to serve as a moment to reflect on Swift’s own struggle with her own body over the years—but it’s neither nuanced nor touched on again in the music video. Furthermore, there’s nothing poetic or powerful about a thin, beautiful woman (who’s never been in a fat body), stepping on a scale only for it to say “fat.” The new version of the music video shows how ineffectual the scene actually is, as it doesn’t really make a difference in what the scale actually says.
As some Swifties shared how the messaging of the scene made them feel, others were quick to shut down the conversation altogether, calling to their own experiences with eating disorders. It’s a complex conversation that unfortunately carried itself out primarily on Twitter, the place where nuanced conversations go to die.
If anything, the polarizing response to the scene displays the connection between eating disorders and society’s view of anyone who’s overweight. Widespread disordered eating is a product of a culture that praises thinness and prioritizes its status over health at times, and the message as seen in “Anti-Hero” only reiterates this standard, and does nothing to challenge or dismantle it.
It’s not necessarily a scene that called for amendment, and Swift is perfectly able to talk about her struggles with her body image. However, the erasure of the scene without comment only further removes Swift from the conversation she apparently wanted to delve into in the first place.