11 Symbols In "Bad Blood" Explained

As soon as the #BadBloodMusicVideo dropped, so did the think pieces about its subtext. Theories both reasonable and far-fetched abound. It's a big eff you to Katy Perry. It's a feminist action film that also satisfies the male fantasy. It's a commentary on the power hierarchy in Hollywood. See what we mean?

Then, the more granular analysis started to trickle in. Namely, some say the "X" on Ellie Goulding's weapon is a dig at Ed Sheeran. (A track from his album X is reportedly about Goulding, whom he used to date.) But, would Goulding really use her cameo in the world's most talked about music video to do something so petty? Or, is the X just one of many secret messages hidden in Swift's latest clip? Ahead, we've broken down possible meanings behind some of the video's most cryptic symbols.*
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
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The Compact Mirror
This is a dig at Christina Aguileira, who popularized “Reflection” from the Mulan soundtrack in 1999. Swift is declaring that 1989 is the real year of the pop diva. 
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The Blue Car
It's no accident that Catastrophe (Swift) lands on this blue car when she's defenestrated by Arsyn (Selena Gomez). It's a symbolic destruction of the vehicle used in Thelma and Louise. Swift’s is the new feminist (fantasy) film in town. 
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The Cigar
Lucky Fiori, played by Girls creator Lena Dunham, powerfully puffs a cigar as a direct reply to anyone who says Cosmo Kramer is king of the hipsters. It is not the erratic skinny man who rules superior over the hipster, but she. And, what better way to prove that than to repurpose Kramer's cigar smoking?
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Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The Bulldog
Swift is nothing if not nostalgic for the things that make Tumblr's heart go on. Slay Z's bulldog is a reference to the Bulldog Clothing Company, a staple of Delia's catalogues of yore. The dog's name is actually Becky.
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The X on Destructa X's Weapon
Ed Sheeran.
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
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Teddy Bear
What Nashville native used teddy bears as performance peripherals? That's right. One Miley Cyrus. 
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
V on Motorcycle Helmet
Rumor has it that when Beyoncé removed her "IV" tattoo, it raised itself into the air in search of its next diva home. Landing on Swift's helmet, it shape-shifted to reflect its next-level status.

Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The Flare
As an official New York City Ambassador, Swift marches slow-mo, yet triumphant as subliminal messaging to remind her audience they really ought to visit NYC this summer — perhaps Lady Liberty?
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Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
The Triangle Earrings
Illuminati.
Photo: Courtesy of Vevo.
88, 89, 90
We see these three numbers on Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinity. When added together as single digits, these numbers add up to 42, or the original number of planned cameos in the video. Alternate theories suggest that 267 (the sum of the three numbers) reflects the number of days until the next Swift album drop. (That's February 8, 2016.)

The Trinity
Why make Steinfeld into three entities? Easy. She represents the sisters of HAIM, who regrettably could not participate in the video. 

*We don't have a "satire" button, so please note that these are all just silly theories meant for entertainment, not fodder for additional thought pieces.


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