All Of The Symbols In Taylor Swift’s "Look What You Made Me Do" Video, Explained

by Amy Roberts
TaylorSwiftVEVO on YouTube

By now you've likely poured over all the symbols in Taylor Swift's video for "Look What You Made Me Do," but they might not make any sense to you. After all, there's a lot to take in during the video, and so some of the intended symbolism in "Look What You Made Me Do" might have gone over your head. The video touches upon the whirlwind of public scrutiny over Swift's romantic relationships and several of her feuds played out in public — so, naturally, it gets pretty shady. But the video also addresses, with self-deprecating humor, some of the more obnoxious aspects of Swift's public persona over the past decade of her fame.

Though the video doesn't apologize for, or even explain, any of her behavior, it does show Swift taking ownership for some of it and passing the blame for the rest. For that reason, there are a lot of hidden details in "Look What You Made Me Do" that only the most intense of Swift fans would notice. So, here are are all of the most important symbols of "Look What You Made Me Do," that you definitely need to know more about if they left you scratching your head.


This Apparent Channeling Of Katy Perry

From Perry's current blonde hairstyle to the wild cat motif (because, you know, "Roar"), Swift's reference is unmistakable here. But the real shade can be found in that Grammy award she's holding. Not only has Perry never won a Grammy, but Swift won one for the music video for "Bad Blood," which was rumored to be about the feud between the two singers.


Zombie Swift

Visually, the sequence showing zombie Swift crawling out of her own grave shares similarities to the look of "Out Of The Woods." That also happened to be the last music video from 1989, making the reanimated appearance of Swift all the more poignant.


The Callback To Swift's 2009 VMAs Outfit

The 2009 VMA's were notorious for being the one where Kanye West cut off Swift's speech, thus starting the apparent feud between the two. In 2016, following Kim Kardashian's release of her Snapchat "reciepts," Swift wrote, "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I never asked to be a part of, since 2009." The first part of which is uttered by this particular Swift in the video.


The Notable Kim K Reference

Adding more fuel to that particular fire is the Swift standing next to the 2009 VMAs iteration of the singer. Taking a selfie and proudly exclaiming that she's "getting receipts! I'm gonna edit this later...," it's hard not to see a shady reference to the Kardashian and a suggestion that she may have edited the infamous Snapchat video.


The Possible Kendall Jenner Reference

Jenner posted a "tea time" instagram soon after the Snapchat receipts of the "Famous" feud were released. Due to the timing, it was widely assumed that the post was a takedown of Swift. And, in this sequence, the singer is emulating the look of Jenner's post pretty well.


This Callback To A Well-Known Swift Meme

After the whole "Famous" feud happened, memes featuring obituaries for Swift went viral online, which this particular scene seems to take glee in referencing.


Swift's Fight Against Streaming Companies

Though she's since made her music available on Spotify and iTunes, Swift was outspoken for years about her concerns about how much musicians were making in royalties from streaming services. In 2015, Swift even managed to overturn an Apple policy in which musicians weren't paid if their music was streamed within the company's three month trial period by writing an open letter regarding it.


The $1 Hidden In Diamonds

This seemed to be a brief reference to Swift's recent sexual assault case against a Colorado radio DJ (Mueller maintains his innocence), in which she famously sought only a dollar in damages.


Those "I Heart TS" Tees & The Eight Men Providing Backup Dancing

As well as wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the same message that Tom Hiddleston wore while he was dating Swift, the number of dancers behind Swift are also notable. There's eight of them, which lines up with the amount of high profile romantic relationships Swift's had during her fame: Harry Styles, Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, Taylor Lautner, Conor Kennedy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joe Jonas, and John Mayer.


Taylor's Perfect Yet Cult-Like Squad

This ones pretty obvious to everyone, but it takes on an even greater significance when you realize that an NY Post article published in 2015 once suggested that Swift's squad had become a cult.


The Names On Swift's New Junior Jewels Shirt

Speaking of which, the first names of Swift's squad members appear to be written on her Junior Jewels t-shirt (the original of which you may remember from her 2009 video for "You Belong With Me"). The names featured appear to include Lena Dunham, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez, and even Patrick Stewart.


Swift's Bird Cage

As you may or may not know, Swift has a human-sized bird cage in her home. By pushing that concept to a colossal size and matching it with an orange outfit that makes her look like a prisoner, Swift appears to be making the statement that she felt trapped within her own identity.


Swift's Pseudonym From "This Is What You Came For"

If you look closely at the gravestone next to where zombie Swift is digging up a grave, you'll see that it features the name of Nils Sjöberg. And who's that? Well, it's the pseudonym that Swift used when she co-wrote Calvin Harris' "This Is What You Came For."

Here's hoping that the rest of Swift's songs and videos from Reputation also have her picking up a shovel, because there's probably still plenty of old ground for the singer to dig up.