Bad Blood: Passive or Aggressive?


The Taylor Swift Bad Blood video has caused quiet the stir in the pop culture world.  Most things in the public eye receive backlash for how the rhetorical presentation of the text is perceived, no matter the intensions.  This video was created as militant, girl power video, but is this what is portrayed? I would argue that the video cannot be considered an aggressive response to Taylor Swift being wronged by another female artist because there is no confrontation in the video and the context of the video itself creates an entirely passive environment.

Background on the ‘feud’

The rumors about this song have been spun most media outlets in an attempt to create drama between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.  One of the most common rumors about the video is that Katy Perry stole backup dancers from Swift’s RED tour right before she was about to embark on tour.  This seems to be the most accurate of the rumors because there are veiled references to Perry. Perry herself has tweeted a few times regarding the subject but never openly admitted that the song is about her.


The choreography of the video is set up as a training montage, but there is little training that goes on.  Each star is introduced as a part of Taylor Swift’s team of femme fatales, and each of them has a different nickname to go with an interesting skill that they are ‘teaching’ Swift.  The entire video is just Swift and her friends posing near different intense settings.  Swift spends the entire training montage posing and twirling her hair in a childish way.  The video ends with two teams of girls, one is Swift’s team and one is Selena Gomez’s team, walking toward each other with exaggerated explosions in the background.  This is the part of the video that would appear to have an actual conflict but rather than show the aggressive nature of Swift, the video paints her as passive because she and Selena are about to start a fight and then the video cuts out.


Passiveness as a permanent state of being

It is important to note the background and the buzz surrounding the video because there is nothing direct about it.  The song never names the singer or even mentions the incident in depth.  Instead of Swift talking to whoever wronged her directly she is simply just singing about how much they hurt her, without ever giving them the chance to work it out. Swift is the queen of passive aggressive revenge songs.  She writes them about record labels, bad boyfriends, and now even frenemies.  This video allows Taylor to confront whoever wronged her, most likely Katy Perry, without actually confronting her.  Swift has been known to admit that confrontation makes her physically ill and this is her retaliation every time she feels mistreated.




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