Netflix debuts Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana with a new, translucent perspective


courtesy of Vital Thrills

Miss Americana, a recent documentary featuring Taylor Swift, reveals the deepest, darkest elements of Swift’s ever-changing career. She touches on her obsession with popularity and how she tried to change her sound just to prove to the audience she still remained relevant. Swift also reveals her former struggle with anorexia, and how she’s recovered since then. Her overall evolution as an artist as well as problems within her career give her fans and audience and deeper insight into the star’s personal life.

Hannah Luck, Staff

January 31 saw pop icon Taylor Swift release her newest documentary titled Miss Americana, giving insight into the life and career of the star; more specifically, the documentary highlights Swift’s obsession with increasing her popularity, her fans and the what that sparked, as well as her former struggles with anorexia, political views and Swift’s overall evolution as an artist.

The film begins with Swift playing her beloved piano and giving a brief description of her former mentality, revealing how she began her career seeking others’ approval (a common theme throughout the documentary) and how her “good girl” persona first developed. The film shows how she began writing and performing songs at the early age of 11 and releasing her inaugural album Taylor Swift at 16. Starstruck with fame, she showcased her sweet country twang and the ability to play the guitar, quickly multiplying her fan base and image.

“I had been trained to be happy when you get a lot of praise… those pats on the head were all I lived for. I was so fulfilled by approval that, that was it. I had become the person everyone wanted me to be,” Swift said.

The film continues, showing Swift’s songwriting process for her newest album Lover, and the issues regarding the pressure of putting out music, surpassing everything done to please her audience and avoiding failure. Her ability to tell gripping stories and write meaningful music shows her talent connection with her fans shone throughout the film. 

Swift acknowledges the downsides of this, reiterating how living for a stranger’s approval can harm one’s career after a negative experience; she specifically noted the infamous Kanye West incident at the 2009 MTV Music Awards, where Kanye interpreted Swift’s speech to mention Beyonce’s Single Lady’s video. 

   With pressure and fear in mind, Swift, (scared to speak out and face the judgment of others) began to showcase why her music began to change along with herself. Her transition from country to pop fed the fire, proving that her constant evolution relied on self-judgment and audience approval rather than her own personal growth; this was a surprise since considering her current state of being.

After transitioning into the pop mainstream world, Swift then revealed her struggle with anorexia for the first time, touching the hearts of viewers and generating overwhelming concern for her wellbeing. She describes how after concerts and shows, she would pass out and starve herself continuously just to look good in pictures. 

“It’s only happened a few times, and I’m not in any way proud of it. A picture of me where I feel like my tummy looked too big… that’ll just trigger me to starve a little bit.” Swift said.

Swift touches on her 2017 album, Reputation and how prior to its release she experienced a deep wave of criticism, abuse and hate from former fans and news media outlets, an overwhelming situation for the star at the time. Her former beliefs pertaining to popularity crumbled and she went into hiding for a year, growing bitter and depressed. This shifted the focus of the drama, making for an ultimately oppressive dark mood and a better understanding of reputation.

In its conclusion, the film investigates Swift’s former silence towards politics and how her “good girl” image dominated her public image she goes on to show her participation in the 2016 election by speaking publicly on Twitter about her opposing views of Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn and Donald Trump at the beginning of his political career; Swift also speaks about her sexual assault case at age 19, and the issue regarding female rights that Marsha Blackburn failed to acknowledge. Early on in the film, Swift describes her constant political comparison to the Dixie Chicks and their comments about President Bush within their career, a notable mistake that cost them their popularity and prominence. 

Overall the documentary emotionally engaged Taylor Swift’s fans and gave insight into Swift’s deepest and darkest endeavors, along with her issues regarding fame and personal growth. In opening up about a number of concerning aspects and her own songwriting process, the documentary educates viewers while reflecting on past lessons learned and how Swift currently embraces her truer self and the idea of criticism, making for an interesting and exciting film.

The Chant’s Grade: A