Spoilers ahead, Nation of Swifties.
It’s a documentary about one, if not the, biggest pop music artist in the world. For the fans, it’s required viewing. For everyone else, it’s a rare look at the woman in front of the brand, how she molded her own public persona and how she broke out of it. Swifties that have had the chance to meet her will recognize Taylor and find out all the time she carried herself with a smile but was hurting inside.
Miss Americana is directed by Lana Wilson. It gives us a little deeper look into what makes Taylor Swift tick, and it’s surprising how a lot of it is public perception. Much has been said about how fans and audiences get obsessed and influenced by celebrities that live a life of privilege. Taylor is after all, a young woman growing up and making a career that depends solely on image. She’s not alone. A lot of women struggle with the way they are perceived.
Taylor knows her own image with a razor sharp accuracy. She is known for songwriting and singing her own songs. She herself cultivated her own auteur persona. Writing a song and creating a new album concept is a her signature in the industry. The impact that her work will have depends on the level of attention she garners. Any false moves feel like could cause the collapse of popularity. In the documentary we slowly but surely realize that Taylor is about to take a leap, a risk to show her own opinion that will undoubtedly cause a shift in the way she is perceived.
The mainstream media is represented at its loudest in the film. This is where Taylor receives the brunt of her harshest critics, specially the ones that make headlines out of their opinions. The documentary does address the VMA incident of 2009 as well as the follow up feud of 2016 involving the lyrics of “Famous”. If that is painful to revisit for us fans, imagine how hard it was for Taylor.
I feel obliged to tell you not everything in the documentary is sad and serious. We do get some candid and sweet moments from her life behind the scenes. Some of those will be familiar to the hardcore crowd that have followed her since forever. She did keep her relationship with Joe Alwyn private. His face is never fully revealed on camera, just to the side or from the back as he’s been hugged by Taylor. I know some may see this as Taylor keeping that part for herself and I say good – that should only be there as much as she wants.
Taylor Swift, the person, created Taylor Swift ™️, the brand based on the image she wanted to present. Since then, everything she’s done is in line with her own idea of the good girl she wants people to see. Now she wants to break that conditioning which puts her whole brand in the balance. Her motives feel more than true enough – she’s doing something bigger than herself, for the right reasons. Some will say too late as if fighting for what you believe in had an activation period with an expiration date. This is the part where you either believe her or not.
The catarsis for Taylor finally arrives in the form of political discourse. After fifteen years of not involving herself in politics or religion, she doesn’t feel she can just cheer for National Pride Week without saying something about midterm elections. This is the time in which Taylor Swift wanted to call out Marsha Blackburn for her political views and endorse Phil Bredesen instead. This is the time in which Taylor Swift, the person, wants to make a controversial decision that will affect Taylor Swift™️, the brand.
This is also the time she must go against the advice of a lot of the men in her management, including her own father. For management, it’s a mistake that could alienate half of her audience. But for her father, Scott Swift, the real fear is that it could bring more hate and stalkers her way, which is the last thing he wants for her. Taylor does say that even if it doesn’t do anything she at least knows she did all she could. And yes, Blackburn won – but that still lit a fire in Taylor to fight the good fight according to her own principles regardless of the public opinion.
Highly recommended for every young woman who has to deal with public perception and social networking (hint: all of them). Also recommended for all the men in their lives. For the people who love to hate on Taylor, I don’t think this documentary will change your mind. However, if you want to give yourself a chance to re-evaluate your opinion, you’re welcome to watch it. As for the fans, I must warn you that this is a little more of a mature look at Taylor Swift as an artist, person, entertainer and woman that you’ve seen before. It has painful moments, it has ups and very low downs but it has growth, independence, character, inclusivity and fierceness. Now those are values we should all stand for.
Coming up in the Calendar!
- March 29: The iHeartRadio Music Awards 2020 premieres from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on FOX at 8/7c pm. Taylor has six nominations: Female Artist of the Year, Best Lyrics, Best Cover Song, Best Music Video, Best Fan Army and Best Remix.
(Sources: Netflix. Featured Image: Netflix)