As the hotly-anticipated Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana hits our screens for the first time, here’s our reaction. Warning: spoilers ahead.
I’d like to start this off with a quick disclaimer: I am a massive Taylor Swift fan. The music video for Love Story was the first thing I ever downloaded on my iPod. I own every single one of her albums – as a physical copy. When she liked my Instagram post on 1989’s release date – back in October 2014 – I almost lost my shit. So it’s safe to say that anything to do with Taylor Swift is prime Lauren content.
But Netflix’s Miss Americana has given me a whole new perspective on the woman I’ve grown up with – in fact, I feel more proud than ever to have supported Swift throughout her 15 year long career. Lana Wilson’s directorial style has given Swift’s story the depiction it deserved – and it’s an honour to watch.
So without further ado, here’s 29 thoughts I had while watching the new Taylor Swift documentary.
1. Taylor Swift’s ambition is unbridled. At 13, she had a diary with the words “my career” on it, while most of us were obsessing over how many friends we had on Facebook or what we were doing at the weekend.
2. The idea that women should be “good girls” is inherently damaging. It’s clear that, throughout Swift’s early career, she was bombarded with messages that being polite and “good” was the only way to achieve success. But, as the documentary later shows, this put the power of Swift’s happiness in the hands of the people around her, which becomes a massive issue when the world decides it doesn’t “like” her.
3. Swift is surprisingly affected by her Grammys snub in 2018. It’s an important reminder that, no matter how successful Swift gets, she still cares.
4. Being a bestselling artist comes with a lot of pressure. At one point in the documentary, Swift gives an insight into how it feels to make music when so many people are watching you. “If I don’t beat everything else I’ve done prior, it will be deemed a colossal failure,” she says when creating her new album, Lover.
5. How was she such a mature teenager? When she first found success with her debut album Taylor Swift, she was already thinking of the future: “I give myself like five seconds a day to be like ‘this is happening’ and then the rest of the day I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to make it last.”
6. That Kanye moment was clearly more impactful than most people realise. Besides the fact Swift thought that the people in the audience were booing her when they were, in fact, booing West, she says the moment Kanye took the award from her hands was “a pretty formative experience” that formed many of the psychological paths she would later take.
7. Arrival fallacy is a real thing – just ask Taylor Swift. Sometimes, achieving all of our dreams doesn’t feel as good as we thought it was, as Swift explains. “You get to the mountain top and you look around and you think oh god, what now,” she says.
8. Artists really have to plan their lives two years in advance to account for tour dates?!
9. The relationship Swift has with her mum is truly moving. “Does it really matter if the internet doesn’t like you today if your mum is sick from chemo?” she asks in one scene.
10. Swift’s words on her eating disorder are truly powerful, and it’s a reminder of how society’s beauty standards play havoc on how women see and think about their bodies.
11. The words people post on the internet actually have a real impact, and it’s seriously admirable for Swift to show the effect online criticism has had on her life.
12. Swift’s musical reinvention was much, much more than that – she spent a year reinventing everything she believed in. “I had to deconstruct a whole belief system,” she says, in reference to how she had to stop herself from needing praise to feel whole.
13. How is she such a talented songwriter?!
14. Her country roots had a big implication on how she spoke about politics in the past, especially in light of how the Dixie Chicks were treated when they spoke out about the Iraq war.
15. While we’re talking about the Dixie Chicks… the backlash they faced was so horrific?! At one point, as shown in the documentary, a news anchor even called them “callous, foolish women who deserve to be slapped around.”
16. Being a woman in the spotlight will never be easy, and Swift just absolutely nailed why: “You are kind of doing a constant strategy in your head as how not to be shamed for something on any given day, but then you get accused of being calculated for having a strategy.”
17. Her sexual assault case, in which she sued a DJ for groping her for a symbolic $1, was a massive turning point for Swift – and led to her claiming her political voice. “No man in my organisation or my family will ever understand what that was like”.
18. Her decision to endorse Democratic candidates in the Tennessee mid-terms was a massive one for her and her family, especially her Dad who was concerned about her safety.
19. But Swift went ahead and did it anyway… this woman keeps giving us more reasons to love her!!
20. The moment she posts her political statement alongside her publicist Tree Paine and her mum is so monumental – and it gives us a powerful insight into what it’s like to have that much influence. Can you imagine?
21. Actually, at this point, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that Lana Wilson is a directorial goddess.
22. Oh, and Swift’s attitude toward a Trump backlash is one of our favourite things ever. When her publicist warns her that Trump might come after her for her political statement, Swift says: “Yeah, fuck that”.
23. By this point, we’re bowing down to Swift for pointing out yet another misogynistic stereotype in our society: the way the music industry treats female artists. “Everyone’s a shiny new toy for two years,” she says, before pointing out that female artists have to reinvent themselves a lot more than men do.
24. This! Is! Incredible! That’s it. That’s the thought.
25. Is this a new song? Are we getting a new song? *checks the internet* WE HAVE A NEW TAYLOR SWIFT SONG! (Only The Young is a banger, by the way).
26. Did Taylor Swift just win the award for one of the most iconic comments in the whole documentary? “I wanna wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics,” she says, challenging the idea that women can’t be feminine and intelligent.
27. As Swift expertly points out, we all need to stop apologising for sharing our views.
28. Another contender for best comment: “There is no such thing as bossy… there’s just the boss.”
29. I am prouder than ever to have supported this woman for the last 10 years – and I’m excited to see what she does in the next 10.
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.
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