Filled with behind the scenes shots of songwriting, finding her voice, dealing with the consequences of fame and plenty of cute cats, “Miss Americana” shows the world the many highs and lows of Taylor Swift’s celebrity life.
One thing is certain upon watching Netflix’s newest documentary: Taylor Swift has been through a lot.
Starting out as a young girl with big dreams in Pennsylvania, the documentary depicts how Swift has grown up with her music. As a child, she kept multiple journals with song lyrics and was always eager to perform, guitar in hand.
Around the age of sixteen, Swift’s first single entitled “Tim McGraw” was released – and the rest is history.
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl-next-door set out to be an incredibly huge star. However, as most celebrities seem to say, fame is not always all it is cracked up to be.
Taylor Swift is a multi-talented, multi-faceted and astoundingly hard-working individual, but that does not mean she is immune to criticism; from herself or from others.
Swift narrates as the documentary shows intimate, never before seen moments. Scenes of the songwriting process are often shown in the documentary, portraying her diligence and her “talent for storytelling,” as she calls it. She mentions how every singer has a certain “niche” that makes them unique, and hers is without a doubt her songwriting abilities.
While she is truly talented, she says that she seemed to have always found her happiness in the approval of others. She explains that she craved attention and praise and felt that she needed to become the person who “everyone wanted her to be,” and so she did.
For a girl who was once so caught up in how she was perceived, the Video Music Awards incident in 2009 truly rocked her world. While everything had been more or less positive in Swift’s famous life until that point, Kanye West’s comment that Beyoncé should have won the award for Best Female Video over Swift caused a snowball effect.
She speaks about how after the comment was said, she thought that the audience was booing her rather than Mr. West, and it upset her greatly. Although she did not realize it at the time, this would not be the first time she was ridiculed.
Swift felt that she could not do anything without people judging her. In a shot years later, she opens up about how she used to go without eating when she would see a paparazzi photo of herself in which people thought she looked like she had gained weight. However, she explains that that was the past, and she now declares that she is happy with herself.
Taylor Swift proves to be very self-aware in the documentary. She acknowledges when she has negative thoughts about herself and says that she “changes the channel in her brain” when she realizes she has them.
After years in the public eye and feeling as though she could never say how she really felt, a trial occurred regarding a sexual assault case against Miss Swift in which she was groped. There were seven witnesses and a photo of the incident, yet she was still forced to go to trial.
Swift explains that after the incident, she decided that she could no longer be silent about her opinions on things. She says that she was lucky to have been believed and for the trial to go in her favor when there are so many who are not believed or are afraid to speak up for the fear of not being believed.
Following this, she felt that it was time to take a stance on politics. In her twelve-year career, Swift had never spoken a political thought to the public because she was terrified of “getting in trouble,” referencing an incident in 2006 where the Dixie Chicks made a political comment and faced backlash.
However, when it was time for the 2018 Midterm Elections, Swift chose to break her silence.
Having lived in Tennessee for the majority of her life, she acknowledges it as her home state. Therefore, when Marsha Blackburn was running for the Tennessee senatorial position, Swift knew that she was against what Blackburn stood for and needed to reach out to Tennesseans.
Taylor Swift says how Blackburn claimed to stand for “Tennessee Christian values,” yet Swift was a Christian Tennessean and did not agree with Blackburn’s beliefs. Blackburn was against gay marriage and against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, among other things, and Swift felt that she had to speak out in opposition of the candidate.
Upon expressing her feelings about the election, Swift got thousands of individuals to register to vote. Although Blackburn ended up winning the position, Swift’s efforts were not in vain as she raised awareness for these issues she stood for, and it was a catalyst in helping her feel more open to communicating her political opinions to the public.
To conclude the documentary, Swift declares, “I’m trying to be as educated as possible in how to respect people, on how to deprogram the misogyny in my own brain and resist it.”
“Miss Americana” shows the many sides of fame and Taylor Swift’s experiences with the good, the bad and the ugly. It is evident that she is a renowned star for a reason and that she will go down in history as an amazingly talented, diligent, resilient and genuine woman.