Shake it off with Taylor Swift in new Netflix documentary ‘Miss Americana’

Netflix Viewers watch Swift open up about mental health and politics.
"Miss Americana" follows Taylor Swift's journey to becoming one of the biggest stars in the world, as well as her battles with mental health. | Courtesy of IMDb.

Taylor Swift. T-Swizzle. It’s really hard for me to not call her that any time I hear her name, and after watching Netflix’s new documentary about her, it’s hard for me to not call her an old friend. I feel like I’ve known her for years.

At about two hours long, “Miss Americana” covers a lot of Swift’s mental health in her later years and how she came to be one of the biggest stars in the world. There was obviously a lot of growth; she changed her look and her music went from country to country-pop to just pop. But the documentary highlighted the biggest change in Swift throughout her career, which was most definitely her mental health. She has recently taken ownership of herself that she didn’t have when she started.

According to Swift in the documentary, when she started gaining popularity, everyone else controlled what she did. She didn’t open her mouth on anything but music because that’s what everyone told her to do. She let the public control what she looked like because if one person said she looked fat … well, you can guess what happens next.

Some have said that Swift tends to pull a victim card she doesn’t have, especially in this film. After all, she’s a rich white girl who made it big when she was 16. What does she have to worry about? I think this is a product of people downplaying problems they can’t see. While the stigma against mental illness is greatly decreasing, people still think you have to be born in some horrible situation to struggle. It simply isn’t true. Now, I absolutely agree that Taylor’s life would have been infinitely more difficult if she had been a different race or born into poverty, but why do people ignore the fact that she might be struggling with something they just can’t see?

I come from a white family. By the grace of something or other, we’ve never struggled with money. But after 18 years of watching my two older brothers in a battle with their brains, I’m not mad at Taylor for wishing people would lay off a little sometimes.

Taylor Swift came clean on her political views in the past few years, and the documentary puts a lot of emphasis on this. While I don’t want to ruin it all for future viewers, I do think she summed it up perfectly when she said this: “I wanna wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics. And I don’t think those things have to cancel each other out.” In my experience, my political views and opinions haven’t been taken seriously by some of my peers. I have friends who are very involved in politics, and because I don’t really look like someone who would know a lot about what is going on, no one (typically men) ever really wants to listen. Swift has become fed up with the stereotype that girls like her can’t be political and, well, got political. It was truly very inspiring to see her shut down those telling her to shut up.

As someone who has lost their connection with Swift over the past few years, this documentary is exactly what I think the public needed to see what really happened with her. We’ll just have to wait and see if her reputation is restored.

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