The Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana first aired on Netflix on 31 January, this documentary gives us a compelling and intimate look into the superstar’s life as she deals with body image, mental health issues and the issues of being a woman in the music industry. The documentary is truly inspirational as Swift takes charge of her own narrative, challenging the views constantly portrayed by the media. We also get to see sweet family home videos that show the more vulnerable side of Swift.
‘Miss Americana’ documents Swift’s struggle of playing the ‘good girl’ – throughout her career she was played the ‘girl next door’, an image that hit its all-time high after the 2009 VMA incident in which Kanye West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech. This moment goes down in pop culture history and through this documentary, we are able to get a true insight into this moment for Taylor Swift. When the crowd began booing Kanye, Swift (who was 19 at the time) thought they were booing her, we then get a close-up moment when Kanye left the stage of Swift standing looking heartbroken. This moment did make me tear up, as a 19-year-old girl myself the amount of strength she must have had to overcome such a moment is amazing. Proving further why she is such an idol and a woman who is strong.
The narrative of the good girl made Swift lose herself, this is further discussed as she opens up on her battle with an eating disorder, which was both heartbreaking and inspiring. One quote that stands out is “it’s better to think you looked fat, then sick”, this is something that is important for everyone out there to know, as the world makes it seem wrong to be ‘fat’, but it shouldn’t be this way. Any disorder is hard to conquer but Swift openly discussing it takes away the stigma and makes anyone suffering realise, they are not alone in the feeling.
Swift openly criticises the American criminal justice system for the way they treat sexual assault victims during the trial; they antagonise the victims making them feel it is their fault. She talks from experience as she takes to court a radio DJ who touched her inappropriately, Swift herself had seven witnesses and a picture to prove the DJ was in the wrong but was still treated poorly. It is in this moment we see Swift take a political stance, leading to her openly supporting the democratic candidate against the Republican candidate in the U.S 2018 mid-term elections in her home state of Tennessee. Within 24 hours of her social media announcement over 51,800 people registered to vote, one of the biggest surges in recent years, showing her power. This power caused Swift to write a song titled ‘Only The Young’ which is about giving young people a voice and hope that the future can change with them.
The documentary was an amazing insight into the life of Taylor Swift and even if you are not a fan you will enjoy the movie. She discusses how female stars have to reinvent themselves every two years in the music industry to stay relevant, displaying the double standard within the industry. We also saw the creation of her album ‘Reputation’ and ‘Lover’, where Brendon Uri appears as he records his section for the hit song ‘Me’. If you haven’t watched the documentary I would definitely recommend, even if you aren’t a fan of Taylor Swift the documentary features important messages that everyone should take in.
Miss Americana is available to watch now on Netflix. Watch the trailer below: