At the very end of Taylor Swift's music video for "Look What You Made Me Do," the singer did something she's never done before: she acknowledged all the criticisms that've come her way over the last few years. In the clip, which premiered at the 2017 VMAs, several versions of Swift from over the years appeared together, each one calling another out for some supposed offense: acting too fake, or being a "bitch," or "playing the victim" once more. Predictably, fans and critics alike freaked out, stunned that Swift may finally be recognizing her faults. But let's be clear: while the singer's acknowledgment of her damaged reputation is certainly a big step, fans shouldn't pin their hopes on Swift actually owning up to her flaws.
After all, before this video, Swift had shown absolutely no sign of even recognizing the criticisms that've been lobbed her way, let alone apologizing for them or working actively to fix her image. Over the years, the singer has been rightfully criticized for issues such as feuding with her fellow stars like Kanye West and Katy Perry, appropriating cultures and exemplifying white feminism, and staying silent during the 2016 presidential election while her peers spoke out, for instance. Yet despite a very public backlash against her, Swift never apologized for her mistakes or showed any desire to change.
As such, the lyrics for "Look What You Made Me Do" painted Swift as angry and vengeful, blaming her reputation issues on everyone but herself. And the music video, up until its ending, did the same thing, showing the singer as someone with no intent on apologizing for or taking ownership over anything, but rather, focusing on getting revenge on the people who supposedly did her wrong.
So why should we think that anything's changed now? Well, they shouldn't. Sure, the video's ending was surprising, since it showed that Swift, at least, has heard and internalized all the criticism aimed at her over the years, but that doesn't mean she's actually going to change her image or work on her flaws. Acknowledging one's flaws isn't the same as actually owning up to them, and so far, Swift has only done the former. So fans shouldn't get their hopes up and expect to get a different version of the singer now, just because she's no longer ignoring her haters.
If in the coming weeks, Swift releases another song or two that actually see her doing more than just noting the criticisms she's received, then that's another story; at that point, fans and critics alike would have reason to wonder if the singer has really changed and matured, and applaud her for making those developments. But until that happens, fans shouldn't give Swift the benefit of the doubt; even with this new video, she hasn't proved that she's any different than the defensive version of Swift we've known before.