Teaching Rhetoric With Taylor Swift’s Blank Space 

Check out our rhetorical analysis of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” below, and grab our corresponding lesson plans here.

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  • This is completely from a male perspective: “high maintenance” + interpretation of “Nice to meet you. Where you’ve been?” as a Paradox. It sounds like she was ‘in a relationship’ and then he changed. The video starts off with him pulling into the house in the morning, while Taylor Swift is in the bedroom w/a cat. Notice: he is not with her in the morning, the way most men are with their love interests, after spending the night with her – which he clearly did NOT. The paradox is how they are supposedly in a relationship (possible marriage?), and yet, she is in the bedroom -with a cat; the way most stereotypical single women are portrayed – “old maids” who end up with a cat. I don’t think there is anything schizophrenic about her or the video. I think the “Heaven, Sin” are two perspectives: she is in this relationship hoping it will be her piece of heaven on Earth, and he is obviously not spending the night with her, so he is engaging in something sinful (it’s called an affair). Notice, it’s an inference. The video is told from her perspective. There is no shot in the video of him engaging in the actual sin; but there is a shot of poor Taylor in her bedroom clothes and a cat probably wondering why he isn’t there!! It could also elude to this idea that women might succumb to becoming involved or serious too early in a relationship because of that fear of ending up an old maid with a cat instead of a husband in her life. She is the sophisticated woman: she can draw, paint, and dresses really well, and is obviously angry but trying to make it work. He just looks sophisticated: car, clothes, house, etc but without the type of character needed: like staying faithful. It’s after the relationship becomes serious: whether they have moved in or they are actually married is unclear, but at the beginning she wakes up and realizes he isn’t the man she thought he was: “Oh my God, look at that face. You look like my next mistake.” Poor Taylor: thought it was going to work out, and now she thinks he became her “next mistake.”
    “New Money. Suit And Tie.” She realizes he’s “new money” i.e. he doesn’t have the values associated with “old-fashioned” men who grew up with money: faithful, hardworking (that was how they made and maintained their money). It is possible he’s told her lies, and now he looks sheepish while he’s having breakfast with her, and Taylor looks more powerful as the truth becomes clear to her. “I know you’ve heard about me so hey, let’s be friends” So this poor excuse for a “young man” did some research on her before asking her out, and courting her “I can make the bad guys good for a weekend.” Maybe the “rumors” were how she might have had been in some bad relationships in the past, and uses that information to have his way with her; while poor Taylor thought it was a real relationship. At this point Then the video flashes back to the courtship period. That recurrent verse might refer to his inability to be in a relationship full time, on a regular everyday basis, and only on “weekends.” Like she is something that he can put on a back burner during the week, and once he has time, all of a sudden: he’s back to being the boyfriend she fell in love with; but only on the weekend. My name is Shabana Jameel, M.Ed. Teachargument.com would have to pay me to share the rest of my perspective on the video. I have a BA in Social Science with a concentration in Sociology and minor in Psych. Part of my undergrad was researching the Socio, Political, and Economic backgrounds to texts written during certain time periods. This video reminds me of those assignments. Take care. This was fun. xo

  • You didn’t refer to the portrait of the man/men that resembles the portrait of Dorian Grey. The evil behind the perfection and the fact she takes control of the outcome and the revelation of the true self in the man.

    • There’s a whole section of her holding an apple — clearly a biblical allusion. Hard not to mention that when teaching students rhetorical analysis.

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