Taylor Swift released her newest music video, this time for “Ready for It,” one of the singles off her upcoming album Reputation, last night. And, just like with literally anything Taylor Swift does, it’s been getting a whole lot of attention.
This particular video had a very specific visual identity, though. Swift went total sci-fi for the clip, and many started noticing that the video looked a little bit too much like the recent remake of Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson:
Meet Taylor, the only human who enjoyed Scarlett Johansson's Ghost in the Shell pic.twitter.com/sgAhfb2ggx— Thackery Binx (@The_SummerMan) October 23, 2017
Above: Ghost in the Shell (2017)— Ghost in Shell fans (@gitsost) October 23, 2017
Below: Taylor Swift, 'Ready for It?' pic.twitter.com/AK5kowyfZt
Ghost in the Shell bombed critically, and faced heavy claims of cultural appropriation. The original movie is based on Masamune Shirow’s 1989 manga of the same name, and many took issue with Johansson in the protagonist's role in the American live-action since the original character in the original anime is Japanese. Joseph Kahn, who also directed the video for Swift's "Bad Blood," has not yet spoken out about the inspirations behind this particular project.
It seems strange, then, that Swift would have wanted to emulate the aesthetics of a movie that really just wasn’t all that great.
But the Twitter machine was already running the minute the video was released. It didn’t take long for people to recognize the similarities between the two projects, and many people weren’t all that happy about Swift’s choice of visual cues.
Taylor Swift, watching 2017's "classic" film Ghost in the Shell: "This. This is me." pic.twitter.com/PopqUZ3Z8N— Inferno313 (@Inferno313) October 27, 2017
This is the worst thing to ever happen to the culture like whyyyyyy https://t.co/GMtQdcEDau— Virgin Suicides (@Sn0tBoy) October 23, 2017
Re: tswift ready for it vid— ninaly (@nlcoomes) October 27, 2017
IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC ABOUT GHOST IN THE SHELL THAT DEMANDS WEAK ATTEMPTS AT APPROPRIATION I DONT GET IT
So we know at least one person liked ScarJo's "Ghost in the Shell." #ReadyForIt— Todd Dupler (@ToddDupler) October 27, 2017
taylor swift saw the new ghost in the shell and thought "hmmmm... not white enough"— 🥀.cain (@mitchellcainn) October 27, 2017
do u think taylor watched the ghost in the shell reboot and was like 'this is that shit I was talking about!'— Micah Peters (@micahpeters_) October 27, 2017
Taylor’s somehow found a way to re-re-appropriate Ghost in the Shell— K (@AlsoPurple) October 27, 2017
The Ready For It video is so unorginal... It's like Ghost in the Shell but worse. Visually appealing, sure, but unoriginal and whitewashing. pic.twitter.com/ubkHqTTwCD— Lauren Hart (@laurensophia23) October 27, 2017
TSwift's new music video is 2 seconds away from telling me her name is actually Mira and her mom is played by Kaori Momoi pic.twitter.com/CUHKaap1u5— 🎃Clara Mae🎃 (@ubeempress) October 27, 2017
Them: "the Ready For It video is so unique, so original"— Lauren Hart (@laurensophia23) October 27, 2017
Me: *mentions Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, every apocalyptic/cyborg film ever* pic.twitter.com/sv6mB9MMqw
This is stealing from independent amphibians and I will not stand for it pic.twitter.com/eFUwgcWvzm— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) October 27, 2017
While it's true that, in this day and age, an artist of Swift's stature is unlikely to do anything without being on the receiving end of at least some backlash, this particular instance seems like it could have been easily avoided.