Last week Taylor Swift dropped her newest project, “Miss Americana,” on Netflix. The 1-hour 25-minute film is a documentary on the last few years of her life and career and there’s a lot to unpack. It’s bold, unapologetic, and honest in a way that hit home harder than I expected it to.
***From here on expect spoilers especially if you haven’t followed anything to do with Taylor Swift since 2008***
I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan since her Fearless Album. I can remember being in middle school with a “13” written on my hand and a Taylor Swift leather bracelet on my wrist. So, you can say I’ve been in this for the long haul.
When she launched her “Reputation” tour video on Netflix I think I cried through most of it– completely unexpectedly. I didn’t realize how involved I had gotten throughout the years, but (and this is so cliche) it felt like coming home.
So, a lot of things she talks about in the documentary I’ve watched happen through the media, but also I’m very biased and have a lot of personal memories attached to them.
One thing that I didn’t know at all about her at all was that she’s struggled with food, body image, and eating disorders. Unfortunately, it’s really common in the entertainment industry, but I really appreciated her talking about it. She said something that resonated with me “We don’t do that anymore.” One day I’ll talk about it, but I’ve had similar struggles with food and other things. I like the idea of reminding yourself that you’re not in that place anymore and I also think it’s important that she talked about it.
On her new album, “Lover,” Taylor put out a song called “Soon You’ll Get Better” about her mom struggling with cancer. I can’t listen to this song. Cancer has touched my life too many times to count and that song and this part of the documentary really hurt. But again, I appreciate her talking about it and them getting a candid reaction from Andrea Swift about what that was like for them going through that as a family.
It’s no surprise that the documentary included the controversies Taylor has gone through in the last few years. From the VMAs incident back in 2009, to Kanye’s song “Famous,” to things people have been criticizing her for since she was a teenager like dating too many guys.
Instead of focusing on the drama Taylor talked a lot about how it made her feel. How she had to regroup and retrain herself into realizing that she doesn’t have to always make everyone happy. She talked about her new relationship and about how keeping it as private as possible has helped her breathe.Embed from Getty Images
I think she made some important points when talking about how she disappeared for a year to just relax and work on her art. I think, especially now with social media and micro journalism, it’s important to take self-care time. Whether that’s a day, a week (as I often do), or a whole year. I’m glad she recognized that.
Taylor also touched on her sexual assault case with the guy who put his hand up her skirt (I won’t say his name here because it’s not about him). She talked about the court case that made her one of TIME’s people of the year in 2018 when they named a bunch of “silence breakers” from the MeToo movement. The court case and the ensuing scandal also inspired the song “The Man” off her new album.
She featured footage of her working on the song and talking through some of the emotions that came with that. She also talked quite a bit how when you’re a woman in entertainment you have expectations to look pretty and not be controversial. You also have an expiration date more than men do. She said she wasn’t conforming to that anymore, and I applaud that. It’s time we threw out the rule book.
Taylor Gets Political
Going off of her sexual assault points and views on how the world treats women she touched on LGBT rights. She gave us the backstory as to why she was politically silent for so long and what made her break that silence with her famous Instagram post urging people to vote.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! ???
The ending of the documentary hinged on this raw emotion of throwing out the metaphorical rule book to how we should behave as women, as people, as activists, and as humans.
Overall, I give this documentary a 4/5…
…because it was missing her talking about the Katy Perry controversies, Big Machine Records fight, and her Spotify ban until Reputation was released. But I think it was a well thought out statement of why she’s made a lot of decisions and her views on things. It was inspiring and powerful.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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