A few months after the release of her 10th album, Midnights, Taylor Swift dropped a new single and music video for "Lavender Haze." The visual continued the aesthetic theme from the record as she was seen in a dimly lit room, stroking her lover's back (played by transgender actor Laith Ashley) while star constellations appear on the wall behind them. The song sparked a variety of conversations among fans regarding its themes of introspection, relationships, and societal expectations.
Swifties quickly picked up on one particular lyric that seemed to speak to her current relationship with Joe Alwyn. In an Instagram video she shared in October of 2022, she discussed the pressure from the media to either marry Joe or keep it casual. She explains she doesn't want to be boxed into a relationship that isn't either of those things. Instead, she prefers to stay in a lavender haze, which implies she doesn't care what people think.
The term 'lavender haze' is often used to reference infatuation, but it also has a racial connotation. The phrase harkens back to the '50s, which was a time of intense sexism and misogyny towards women. As such, the lyrical choice is ironic and an explicit reminder of the era in which the song was written.
In addition, many fans interpreted the video as being queer-coded, given that the color lavender has long been associated with the LGBTQ+ community. The ethereal feel of the video coupled with Ashley's cameo made it an easy assumption. Upon its release, Swift expressed how much she loved working with Ashley and credited him with being an "incredible" and "amazing" partner for the project.