Taylor Swift’s newest documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana premiered in theaters and on Netflix on Friday, January 31. Although long anticipated, not many fans knew exactly what to expect from the film. After years and years of a whirlwind of drama from the media, Swift published her own side of the story.
Miss Americana is an extremely heartfelt piece of work that opens viewers’ eyes to what fame can really be like. The film shows many clips of Swift’s performances and some of her brightest moments as a world-renowned pop star. However, the work also demonstrates Swift’s struggle with depression, eating disorders, and hate from the public.
From a young teenage girl starting her life as a musician to a strong, determined female icon standing up for herself, viewers are able to observe a complete transformation.
Taylor Swift has transitioned from a country artist to an American pop music icon over the years. She has certainly held a lasting impact on the music industry of this generation. Her more recent actions, though, use her voice to make an impact in a different way.
Miss Americana covers five intense struggles Swift has experienced in her life: hate from the media, an eating disorder, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, a sexual assault case, and a voice in the political arena.
Hate from the media is not a foreign topic to Swift; she has been the face of drama in the music industry since Kanye West infamously interrupted her award speech at the Video Music Awards in 2009. Although amends seemed to be made, West fueled the fire by calling Swift a “b****” in his song “Famous.” A tumult of commotion erupted and caused another strife among Swift and West. West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, instigated the trend of calling Swift a snake. After it seemed that the Internet could not handle any more hate towards Swift, she disappeared. Two years later, she dropped her album reputation. Swift called West and Kardashian out in songs and embraced the snake nickname, forming a world tour with the theme of snakes and bad behavior.
Alongside the drama with West, Swift received more and more backlash from the media, scrutinizing her every move. She is also well-known for being the artist who has dated many men; Swift has dated many men, like every other superstar, yet the media has thrown her love life under the spotlight, claiming that she sleeps around and cannot stay dating one man for long. Miss Americana reveals the struggle Swift had with an eating disorder, derivative of the attacks from the media and haters. She discloses in the film that it was hard to leave the house because she was ashamed of how she looked. The media wrote nasty, demeaning things and it built to a point where Swift could not handle it anymore, so she disappeared.
During the storm of bad press, Swift also had matters within her own home to deal with. Many fans know that Swift and her mother, Andrea, have always been close. Songs such as “The Best Day” and “Never Grow Up” illustrate the strong connection that the pair shares. Miss Americana divulges to viewers that doctors diagnosed Andrea with cancer just a few years back. On Swift’s newest album Lover, “Soon You’ll Get Better (ft. Dixie Chicks)” serves as an ode to Mama Swift and her difficult but steady recovery process through chemotherapy. Daughter Swift explains that dealing with the media as well as attempting to support her mother as best as she could was an uphill battle, a steep one at that.
To add on to the pile of pressure and tension in her life, Swift also had to go to court in August of 2017. At a pre-concert meet-and-greet, David Mueller, former radio host, sexually assaulted Swift. After the artist pressed charges, Mueller sued her for millions, claiming that she fabricated the entire story. Swift countersued for $1. It took the jurors less than a day to find Mueller guilty, as multiple witnesses and photographic evidence supported Swift’s argument. However, Miss Americana takes a look at how the trial emotionally impacted Swift.
She reflects that the trial process is “dehumanizing” and does not reward any victim with a sense of victory or fulfillment. She describes how standing in front of a group of strangers and illustrating an extremely traumatic event and then convincing the same strangers to believe the story is exhausting and demeaning. Swift also praises all of the women and men who have also experienced sexual assault, wishing them all the bravery and strength necessary to pursue the assailant. The potentially most important part of the sexual assault topic of the film is how Swift connects this to her newly found political voice.
The artist explicates how she used her voice during her battle against Mueller in the sexual assault case. Swift suggests that as horrible as the trial felt, it gave her an opportunity to speak up about her passions. Swift then adjusted this newfound skill with a politically driven lens in October of 2018.
For the first time in her career, Swift voiced her support for the Democratic candidate for governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen. She simultaneously bashed Marsha Blackburn, Republican candidate, and claimed that Blackburn’s core values belittled and disparaged the rights of many, like females and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Miss Americana illustrates the pushback Swift faced when she made the decision to speak about local politics. Dozens of her staff urged her to stay quiet, saying that speaking up might destroy her reputation and fanbase.
Nevertheless, Swift argued back, claiming that no matter the outcome, she needed someone to hear her. In her previous years of fame, Swift believed that staying quiet on the topic of politics would bring her respect and keep peace in her industry. After years of emotional abuse from strangers, her opinion largely shifted, and Swift knew that she had a “now or never” situation on her hands. With the size of her massive following of fans, she knew that there was an opportunity to fight for her own core values and the rights of many people in her home state. Just as in the sexual assault case, the artist learned how to use her voice to her advantage.
Miss Americana is a beautiful masterpiece that illustrates Taylor Swift’s metamorphosis from a young girl who accepted and went with the status quo to a badass female who does not tolerate or accept unjust behavior. The documentary demonstrates Swift’s path towards finding her voice and becoming an influential, powerful, and determined icon in the music industry. The film shows Swift’s success and fame, but also shows that being at the top is truly a lonely place. Miss Americana is a work of art that emphasizes the talent, hard work, and persistence of a powerhouse female singer and songwriter named Taylor Swift.