Swift initially released a teaser on Twitter which revealed she had directed it herself and hinted at “cameos."
The full video has now been released and features Swift playing the role of 'Tyler Swift' in full prosthetics, with dubbing by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
Swift, who also teased that the video contained "Easter eggs", appeared to take aim at Kanye West and Hollywood talent agent Scooter Braun - who she has been publicly feuding with over the past few years.
She released the video today with a live premiere on YouTube, which was pre-empted by a short Q&A with Swift where she revealed there would be a few “Easter eggs” and that ‘The Man’ would be played by “a bo$$”.
The video begins by focusing on a businessman in an office being celebrated by his co-workers, before following his life as he openly smokes a cigar on a train and reads a newspaper with the headline "for men with real thirst."
He is also seen relieving himself on a train station platform, taking a business call on a yacht surrounded by bikini-clad models and is celebrated as the "world's greatest dad" as he pats the head of a child.
It isn't immediately clear that Swift plays 'The Man' in question, as the team behind the prosthetics have clearly done a stellar job.
However at the end of the video, Swift shared pictures of the whole behind-the-scenes process which included her having a brand new jawline constructed, new eyebrows and facial hair.
In one topsy-turvy moment, Swift's 'man' storms off a tennis court after throwing a tantrum and shouting at an umpire.
This is possibly a reference to Serena Williams , who was widely criticised for having a disagreement with an umpire, sparking a debate about how female tennis players are treated in comparison to men.
— 𝐣𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐞 (@tswiftts)February 27, 2020
He then drops the bravado and approaches Swift, who is sitting in a director's chair.
The character, who is voiced by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson , then asks, "Hey, just checking. Was that last take more of what you had in mind?"
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)February 27, 2020
"Pretty good, could you try to be sexier? Maybe more likeable this time?" Swift asks him. Then she tells a woman starring alongside 'him', "By the way, excellent work over there Lauren - that was astonishing."
The song includes empowering lyrics criticising the double standard in the way people celebrate successful men and women, which read, “I'm so sick of running / As fast as I can / Wondering if I'd get there quicker / If I was a man.”
Is Swift channelling Leonardo DiCaprio ?
I couldn’t love the reference more #TheManMusicVideo pic.twitter.com/wchbzQEGg2— in taylord, we trust (@cantaloupe29)February 27, 2020
Some keen-eyed Swifties believe the popstar is nodding to Leonardo DiCaprio's character in The Wolf Of Wall Street, tweeting strikingly similar grabs of the movie and the music video side-by-side.
The lyrics also have a reference to 'Leo' in St Tropez and the video features a yacht scene where 'Tyler' is surrounded by bikini-clad women:
"And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play / I'd be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez."
What are the subtle digs at Kanye West?
Fans speculated Swift would rehash her longstanding feud with musician Kanye West in the video, who famously upstaged her at the 2009 MTV VMAs.
In her recent Netflix documentary Miss Americana , Swift revealed how the fallout from their feud led her to withdraw from the music world after she felt that “people decided I was wicked and evil and conniving.”
She has previously fought publicly with West and his wife Kim - especially after the release of his song ‘Famous’ in which West claimed he “made that b**ch famous” and featured a fake nude replica of Swift.
Kanye’s house/ The Man mv... i stand a genius pic.twitter.com/Kz4EZu9giK
— ootw FAN ACCOUNT (@disneyparklove1) February 25, 2020
In teaser art ahead of the release, keen-eyed fans drew comparisons between the arched hallway in Kanye West’s $60 million mansion and the artwork.
Whether deliberate or not, the picture Swift tweeted depicted a similar hallway with nineteen colourful hands reaching towards a frame featuring the release date and time of the video.
While it hasn't been confirmed, it does appear that the video does contain veiled references to her feud with West.
At one point, her character wakes up in a bedroom that looks very reminiscent of Kanye West's home where a woman lies naked with her back to the camera.
This moment seems to recall West's video 'Famous', which appears to feature a fake replica of a naked Taylor Swift.
In another angle, the woman's face is also revealed and she appears to bear similarity to West's wife Kim Kardashian, who became involved in the feud when she released an edited video of Swift appearing to agree to the lyrics about her
Swift took to social media afterwards pointing out that "the video of Kanye telling me how he was going to call me 'that b***h' in his song...doesn't exist because it never happened."
She said she "was never given the full story or played any part of the song."
She also finished her post with the now iconic line, "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."
How does Taylor Swift shade Scooter Braun in the video?
She also appeared to reference her fight with agent Scooter Braun , who she has been publicly battling with after he purchased Big Machine Records for £237 million.
Big Machine Records is the label which owns the masters to many of her original songs and Swift called the situation her "worst case scenario", especially because she claimed Braun tried to "dismantle" her career.
Braun used to manage Kanye West and still manages Justin Bieber, who posted a picture of him with West and Braun with the caption "taylor swift what up.")
During the moment that Swift's character relieves himself against a train station wall, a sign depicts a scooter with a big red crossed out circle over it.
The graffiti on the wall is also very telling, as it features the names of albums that Braun owns the master rights to including 1989, Reputation, Red and Speak Now.
Another poster also reads, "MISSING IF FOUND RETURN TO TAYLOR SWIFT."
At the end of the video in the credits, the words "OWNED BY TAYLOR SWIFT" also make an appearance.
There also appeared to be a sly dig at Scott Borchetta, who sold the company to Scooter Braun:
— 𝓛𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓇 (@Swiftness13)February 27, 2020
— 𝓛𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓇 (@Swiftness13)February 27, 2020
Others also placed significance on the number 19, as one user pointed out that in Swift’s acceptance speech for Billboard’s Woman of the Decade Award she mentioned eighteen women “whose work I absolutely love.”
They included Lizzo, Tayla Parx, Haley Kiyoko, King Princess, Camila Cabello, Halsey, Megan Thee Stallion, Princess Nokia, Nina Nesbitt, Sigrid, Normani, H.E.R., Maggie Rogers, Becky G, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai and Billie Eilish.
With the addition of Swift, that would make 19 names - matching up with the 19 hands.
It’s not 11, it’s 19 pic.twitter.com/YPtkTn7uw3
— Raph - Lover enthusiast✨💗 (@kaleidoscope198) February 26, 2020
In Miss Americana, Swift was seen writing 'The Man' and showing an early recording to producer Joel Little after struggling with the way successful women are written about online and in the media.
Describing how women are described in derogatory ways for behaviours that are celebrated in successful men, she told Little, “They get to f***ing call us that.”