My Thoughts on Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana as a Long Time Fan

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Elijah Perez

Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary was released on Netflix last Friday and, as a long time fan, I have been eagerly anticipating the film. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, all I knew was that the film was going to take a magnifying glass to aspects of Swift’s life even fans like myself had never seen before.

Upon watching the documentary, it hit me on an emotional level that completely caught me off guard. It was heart wrenching to see Swift’s raw emotions in response to all the degrading and villianizing of her character I watched the media put her through for years. It was also both enlightening and tear jerking to see that Swift had experiences similar to my own.

Going mostly chronologically, the filmed made mention of Kayne West’s famous interruption of Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Swift opened up that she initially thought the crowd booing was at her and not West which was a tough pill to swallow because her entire mindset in performing was based upon applause and approval. Knowing that piece of information really clarifies her career to me as a fan and why her year long disappearance from the public was not only essential, but liberating for Swift. Of course, her choice to disappear came after the release of West’s “Famous” music video. Swift was outraged by the video, and rightfully so, but the media and internet started a witch hunt for her, calling her a liar and a snake. So, the disappearance was needed not only to heal, but to separate herself from the mind frame of approval and begin to do things for herself unapologetically.

Finally seeing Swift’s side of the Kanye drama was amazing because I saw her get constantly discredited in her anger and completely invalidated. The whole thing was unfair and cruel. The Kanye drama was always odd for me because I am a huge fan of Swift, but my best friends are lovers of West. Through their friendship, I respect West as an artist and even like a tune or two, however the whole ordeal over “Famous” is something I have never been able to forgive West for nor respect. He is directly responsible for the media and public’s shaming of Swift and has no remorse over it. So, seeing Swift’s side of the story being told was liberating as it finally validated the argument her fans have had for years that she is not the bad guy.

Her ongoing struggle with representation in the media was only the surface of what the film would touch upon. I was completely shocked when the film took a serious turn with Swift discussing personal battles with disordered eating. Although it was devastating to see her detail starving herself and feeling faint during performances, it was also heartening to me because it’s something i’ve dealt with myself. I already resonated deeply with Swift in her struggle to be understood, from this her reputation album helped me deal with lot’s in my life, but to know that she had also experienced unhealthy relationships with food pulled me closer to her as a fan. In fact, she spoke of how she has to remind herself “ no, we don’t do that anymore” in reference to the unhealthy eating which I resonated with because it’s something I have to do as well.

There was a very small segment of the film that I really appreciate where Swift performed half of her song “Clean.” The clip came after her elaborating on her sexual assault case from 2017. She called the process “dehumanizing” and that when you win the case you still don’t “feel any sense of victory.” The reason why her performance of “Clean” after this is noteworthy is because the song describes going through a grueling experience and having carried it’s weight with you until that moment you finally feel free of it, or in Swift’s words, “you’re finally clean.” This means that she has come to peace with the sexual assault case which is gladdening. This scene also held a special place in my heart because “Clean” is by far my favorite song by Swift and has been a source of inspiration in my life for quite some time. We also never get to see much of the song and it’s often labeled as one of her most underrated songs, so it was nice to see it brought to light.

What I found most interesting in the film was Swift’s dialogue on how lonely she was. She now has been in a serious relationship for several years, however before this she revealed she got quite lonely. She apparently came to this revelation after she won Album Of The Year at 2016 Grammy Awards for 1989. She stated that she was extremely happy and felt accomplished for doing what she set out to do, but felt like she had no one to share the success with saying, “shouldn’t I have someone to call right now?” It was very eye opening to see that she’s this huge star constantly surrounded by people with a strong bond between her and her fans, yet she still experiences such a pit of loneliness. It really makes you wonder if it’s true that “it’s lonely at the top.” Loneliness is also something many people can relate to, huge celebrity or not.

Having followed Swift for now a decade from Speak Now to Lover, it was fascinating and thought provoking to see not only one of my idols, but one of the biggest stars so deconstructed and open. The film added a human feeling to the name Taylor Swift opposing the the cold and villainous connotation the media attaches to her. I’m glad to see that she is seeing life in a new light and has grown from everything explored in the film. Although fans like myself will primarily enjoy the film, I would recommend the film to anyone because of the journey it takes you on as well as the facade it breaks down.