Before watching, you might think Miss Americana is a fan treat — some new footage, some funny moments, and a new song for Taylor Swift fans or pop culture lovers. You'd be wrong.
The documentary — which has already reached critical acclaim, according to review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes — touches on a multitude of issues. And most of those issues aren't pop star problems. They're human problems.
This documentary covers misogyny, slut-shaming, family struggles, body image, social media, sexual assault, politics, cancel culture, and more.
One of the most important moments Taylor had in her documentary was when she talked about the concept of deconstructing her previously held value system.
"I'm trying to be as educated as possible on how to respect people, on how to deprogram the misogyny in my own brain, toss it out, reject it, and resist it."
"There is no such thing as a slut. There is no such thing as a bitch. There is no such thing as someone who's bossy — there's just a boss. We don't wanna be condemned for being multifaceted." All true statements. Taylor rejecting what's been ingrained in her head since she was younger was something that we've all had to — or should — do.
The documentary touched on the universally relatable idea of priorities. Taylor said that in the past, climbing to that mountaintop, winning awards, and having success felt odd because she had no one to share it with. Having the internet hate her felt so minuscule compared to the pain of coping with her mother's cancer diagnosis.
So Taylor made a conscious decision, "You’ve gotta be able to prioritize what matters to you — to me, it’s my family and friends." This is something we all should prioritize.
Another subject covered was body image and eating disorders, which affects millions of people. In the documentary, Taylor does something that almost all of us are guilty of. She zooms in on a picture of herself and starts to critique it.
"This would cause me to go into a real shame, hate spiral. I caught myself yesterday starting to do it and I said, 'Nope. We don't do that anymore. Because it's better to think you look fat than look sick.' There’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting,” she said. “It’s all just fucking impossible.”
It shows that the biggest star on the planet is feeling the same insecurities and pressures that millions of people face. It's important we reject society's unrealistic expectations.
Taylor also spoke about her sexual assault trial. She was groped by a radio host, her team told his boss, the guy lost his job, and he sued Taylor. So she countersued for $1.
"The first thing they say to you in court is: Why didn’t you scream? Why didn’t you react quicker? Why didn’t you stand farther away from him?” she said, recounting the blame she felt.
"I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought to myself, 'Next time there is any opportunity to change anything, you better know what you stand for and what you want to say.'"
And she did speak up. In October 2018, she denounced Sen. Marsha Blackburn, in an Instagram post:
"I’m sad that I didn’t two years ago," Swift said to her parents in the film. "I’m saying right now that this is something that I know is right, and, you guys, I need to be on the right side of history. And if he [Blackburn's opponent Phil Bredesen] doesn’t win, then at least I tried." So before speaking about politics to her 112 million Instagram followers, she got educated, and in the film, her political prowess is palpable.
"It really is a big deal to me. [Marsha Blackburn] votes against fair pay for women, she votes against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which is just basically protecting us from domestic abuse and stalking. Stalking!" she said heatedly to her father. "She thinks that if you’re a gay couple or even if you look like a gay couple, you should be allowed to be kicked out of a restaurant."
Miss Americana is important for anyone who's been scared to speak up or get involved with politics.
One of the most timely concepts in the film was cancel culture. Taylor explained what it felt like when #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trended on Twitter. "I just wanted to disappear. Nobody physically saw me for a year, and that was what I thought they wanted."
The movie reminds people — fans, haters, trolls, etc. — to be careful with their words and their messages. On the other side is a real human.
In essence, Miss Americana is like Taylor's music — universal, relatable, and beautiful.
The film is for anyone feeling alone, scared, or confused. It's for anyone who's experienced sexual assault, misogyny, and sexism. It's for anyone who's found love, or who's still looking. It's for Taylor Swift fans, Taylor Swift haters, and Taylor Swift skeptics. It's for everyone.