Review: Does America really know Miss Americana?

Taylor Swift released Miss Americana, a documentary on her life, on Netflix.


Ella Wertz, News Editor

Netflix released Miss Americana, a documentary on beloved singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, on Jan 31. Swift has been very influential in many people’s lives; her songs tell a story that everyone seems to be able to relate to. Swift created an image for herself throughout the years of being a very nice, polite girl. However, Miss Americana gives you insight on what was really going on with Swift all of these years.

I have followed Swift all of my life. I’ve listened to her music as she changed from country to pop. Swift’s music, even though it doesn’t really fit into the genre I listen to, has always been so impactful in my life. Swift references that every singer has a niche and hers is “storytelling” and this ability allowed her to jump from genre to genre with integrity and meaning in her songs.

The focus of the documentary is Swift’s evolution as an artist and how she has recently opened up to audiences and has begun to use her music as a way to fight for things that she believes in.

America has watched Swift grow up. We’ve been with her when she dated John Mayer, Harry Styles and Tom Hiddleston. We’ve watched her every move. Knowing this, the documentary shocked me so much because there were so many things that no one knew that she was struggling with.

The documentary starts with an informal interview with Swift in her house where she reveals that all her life she has found her happiness on the approval of other people. Swift explains how much of a trap this is for an artist. With everyone criticizing every single move an artist makes there is no way to appease everyone.

As the documentary continues, Swift explains that she had been struggling with an eating disorder because whenever she would see a picture she didn’t like or someone would comment that she looked pregnant or like she was gaining weight she would just stop eating. People would comment on her weight and she would claim that she was exercising and eating well. However, in her shows she detailed that she would feel as if she was going to pass out and knew that it wasn’t healthy.

I was so ignorant to this side of Swift. I pictured her life as perfect, but I was extremely incorrect. Nevertheless, the thing that I can say that I like about Swift is that she always set a good example and she continues to do so in Miss Americana.

When she spoke on her eating disorder,not only did she pity herself, but she explained to the audience why this cycle was so unhealthy. Swift told the world that starving yourself wouldn’t fix anything because our society has such double standards where you can never find a balance between too skinny or just skinny enough.

Besides the eating disorder, Swift, more publicly, went through a huge sexual assault trial. Swift was sexually assaulted by a former DJ. There were nine witnesses and even a picture showing the event going down. Swift quietly went to his company and got him fired, but refused to press charges.

However, in return, the DJ sued Swift for millions of dollars and Swift sued him back for a dollar. Swift won the case, but she disclosed that no one ever wins in those situations. Her wisdom and character in this situation is unparalleled. Swift has had to learn how to grow up under the lime light and she has done an excellent job. The documentary shows that Swift, continually, stands for what is right.

Instead of shutting down after these obstacles, Swift decided to take a stand and a new Swift was born. She decided to take a year for herself to find true happiness beyond the approval of others. However, when she got back Swift’s image had completely changed. She produced her album Reputation which explains how her “castle crumbled over night” and how she must rebuild her reputation.

Recently, Swift dropped her Lover album which continued her new pattern of not keeping her mouth closed and refusing to be the polite Tennessee girl. Swift’s new album spoke on politics, her life beyond fame and other topics that she wouldn’t have dared to address in her early years.

Overall, Miss Americana is a must-see. It opened my eyes to understand the true Swift beyond what she lets the public see. Swift’s authenticity and growth speaks volumes about her character. Swift remains a great example for youth in an ever changing society.