The highly-anticipated Taylor Swift documentary, "Miss Americana," that dropped on Netflix on January 31 is the first real in-depth look into Taylor's personal life and her history.
With an initial Rotten Tomatoes score of 86% and a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, director Lana Wilson and Swift were excited to share this with her fans and the entire world.
This documentary was described as a "revealing" look into the superstar's life. I would agree with the word revealing but would add the words "raw," "real," and "emotional."
If you have always had a negative vibe towards Taylor, this documentary will change your mindset on her as an artist and a person.
I've always had an issue with people telling me that they enjoyed the "old" Taylor's music better than her new music ("1989," "Reputation," and "Lover"). Why? Well, because I knew there was always something wrong with why people were saying this.
People couldn't grasp the fact that Taylor completely crossed over from country music to pop music while doing it successfully. Her country music was what everyone expected out of a country artist, songs about breakups, love, and relationships but this isn't what Taylor was about or wanted to do.
She took the role of a sweet, innocent country girl, feeling bullied into the idea that she was this cookie-cutter country star that everyone wanted. There were a lot of factors that played into her country career, ones that brought her down, ones that kept her going and ones that carried over into years beyond her country career.
2009. A year that strikes humiliation, fear and a feud that felt like it was never going to end. If you are unaware of what happened during this year, let me refresh you on an incident that really hurt Taylor and her fans.
the 2009 MTV Music Awards was the year that Taylor won an award for Best Female Music Video and that didn't sit well with Kanye West as he interrupted Taylor on stage and applauded Beyonce for her nominated music video instead of Taylor's win for "You Belong With Me." A complete humiliation for Taylor. She expressed in "Miss Americana" that this was one of the worst feelings she has ever felt.
"At the time I didn't know they were booing [Kayne West] doing that. I thought that they were booing me. For someone who's built their whole belief system on getting people to clap for you, the whole crowd booing is a pretty formative experience." — Taylor Swift "Miss Americana")
Imagine being a 17-year-old girl who just won an award for her music and the video and getting interrupted by another artist saying that yours wasn't good enough to win. It made her rethink everything she was doing and if it was good enough. Insecure about that and trying to create music was hard for her, continuing to do what she loves and get people to have respect for her wasn't the easiest. She then created Fearless, Speak Now and Red.
Dealing with problems within the public, Swift was also dealing with her Mom and her diagnoses with cancer. Swift reveals that her mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and it was one of the hardest times for her and her family because Andrea is Taylor's best friend.
"It woke me up from this life where I used to sweat all these things. But, like, do you really care if the internet doesn't like you today if your mom's sick from her chemo?" Swift said. "You gotta be able to really prioritize what matters to you. For me, it's my family and my friends." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
Her fifth studio album, "1989," was a true teller of her changing her ways and showing people what she really wanted. Converting from her Tennessee country roots to a pop singer and releasing her first single off the album, "Shake It Off." Shocking everyone with this catchy, upbeat song, Swift was ready to move on to the next chapter of her life.
"1989" was one of Swift's most successful albums, but it wasn't one of her easiest times in life.
Content Warning: Eating disorders
Revealing in "Miss Americana," during the 1989 era Swift struggled with an eating disorder.
"I thought I was just, like, supposed to feel like I was gonna pass out at the end of a show or in the middle of it. I thought that was how it was, and now I realize: no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all of these shows and not feel it." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
Feeling like she had to do this to fit the "perfect" celebrity body and image that everyone perceived her to be, but not realizing that this made her physically and emotionally sick.
Even with people who cared about her immensely, she would disregard anything they said because she always thought what she was doing was OK and there was nothing wrong with it.
During this time, in 2016, Kanye found another reason to make his way back into Taylor's life by making a phone call with his wife, Kim Kardashian, about mentioning Taylor in his new single he was writing, "Famous." Taylor was 100 percent allowing him to mention her in the song but she only knew that he was asking about the lyric: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex," but was unaware of the part where he said "Why? I made that bitch famous."
"I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex
Why? I made that bitch famous (God damn)
I made that bitch famous."
Taylor defended her claim that nowhere in the video that was released was there proof that she approved the lyrics Wes decided to use in the song. But no one believed what Taylor had to say, even after she put out online what happened.
This caused the internet to explode, starting the "#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty" hashtag.
"#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty was the number one trend on Twitter worldwide. Do you know how many people have to be tweeting that they hate you for that to happen? When people fall out of love with you, there's nothing you can do to make them change their mind. They just don't love you anymore." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
That's when Swift went private for a full year and no one physically saw her, because in her mind this is what she thought people wanted. They didn't want to see her at all. During this time was when Swift reflected on the past years of her career and thought about what she really wanted going forward, thus started the "Reputation" album writing and the start of her love life with actor, Joe Alwyn.
"Reputation" was an album that Swift thought was the actions of her lashing out and getting out her anger that was being held in while being away for a year.
"Sort of like a wounded animal lashing out." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
This album grew to be one of the best albums that Swift has ever released, with a record-breaking stadium tour, she truly felt like this is where she began to grow her happiness and life back.
"I had to deconstruct an entire belief system for my own personal sanity, even though it was really horrible, I was happy. It was happiness without anyone else's input, it was just...we were happy." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
The album was a way of telling everyone that she is leaving her ugly past in the past and moving forward with what's most important to her.
Content Warning: Sexual assault
Standing up for what she believes in has always been something that Swift has wanted but sometimes couldn't find the opportunity to do it because it could have ruined all the good things she had going for her. One of those things was speaking up about sexual assault. According to Swift, in 2013, a radio DJ during a meet-and-greet took advantage of Taylor and grabbed her inappropriately and she spoke up about it years later.
"Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you react quicker? Why didn't you stand further away from him?" — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
The DJ sued Taylor for millions of dollars but Swift countersued for only $1. The jury ruled in Taylor's favor and she won her case. This has given Taylor a voice and spoke up about sexual assault to everyone and telling everyone that you always have a voice in these situations.
"I just want to say I'm sorry to anyone who ever wasn't believed because I don't know what turn my life would have taken if people didn't believe me when I said that something had happened to me." — Taylor Swift, "Miss Americana"
Swift has always voiced her opinions for the first time about something that was very important to her and her home state of Tennessee and that was the 2018 midterm elections, with candidates Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen.
Brought up in "Miss Americana," Swift is shown arguing with her father and her management team about the importance of her being able to finally voice her opinions about how she feels about the candidates running for Senate in Tennessee.
Never before in her career had Swift voiced her opinions on politics but she strongly believed that it was her right and her time to post about how she feels about this and how important it is for people to use their voice and vote, as well as educating yourself on who you are voting for. Her publicist, Tree Paine, and others allowed Taylor to post this post below.
Vote.org reported that more registrations in the last day since Taylor's post than in all of August. Nationwide there had been 51,308 new voter registrations within the 24 hours that Taylor posted her post. Opening new voters' eyes on how important it is to educate yourself and use your voice to vote.
After her post for voting, there were speculations of a new album coming soon and within the next year, we got her seventh studio album, "Lover."
"Lover" is the album that truly showed fans and the world that she is happy and content with the changes she had made in her life and wouldn't change anything for it.
Being in love with Alwyn and being happy with her family and friends is the life that Swift has always dreamed of but could never find because she was too caught up in the media and what they wanted her to be.
For people who have always avoided the so-called "new" Taylor, you may want to rethink your words and think about everything that has been talked about in this article. The "old" Taylor was broken and didn't know what she wanted.
She was this perfect figure that society wanted but never really got to show who she truly was and this documentary shows that she is truly an icon and a genuine, loving, caring, and educated woman who deserves more recognition.
Hats off to Lana Wilson and Taylor Swift for this beautiful documentary. It was truly amazing.
Stream "Miss Americana" on Netflix.