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The Taylor Swift Documentary Miss Americana Taught Me Girls Can Fight Back

Posted: May 14, 2020

Taylor Swift has fought many battles – from being objectified as just a pretty face to being attacked on stage. Her journey inspires many young women.

I have been a fan of Taylor Swift since I first started listening to Western music. I was introduced to her music when I was 10 or 11 years old, during the time that Love Story was soaring on the charts and the Internet. We had just bought a laptop and I was so excited to view the video on YouTube. I was automatically attracted to her songs and I started listening to her other albums.

When I was around 14 years old, I suffered from jaundice and Taylor Swift had released her new album 1989 during that time which made me feel so happy. I was so glad when she won the Grammy and when Time magazine named her the most influential person because I knew that she was getting her dues.

I always felt I grew up with her music. When her album Reputation released, I was a little shocked because the songs were very different from what she normally used to present to us. That’s when I started realising the problems she used to face.

We feel that if a person is a celebrity, then her life will be perfect, what problem can she possibly have? We don’t realise that these celebrities have in a way put their life at risk to stalking and physical assault from us, the ever loving fans. The adoration is so much that we really start harming their lives. The other thing is that we don’t realise how much pressure the celebrity has to live up to, given their public image of perfection.

I had never seen the depth of these problems until I became older and became aware after the #MeToo movement where the stories and struggles of women in the entertainment business truly shocked me.

The evolution of Taylor Swift

Miss Americana is a  documentary based on Taylor Swift’s life directed by Lana Wilson. I feel that this documentary presents a mature Taylor Swift – her beliefs have transformed and there is a realisation that self love and care are more important than seeking the validation of others. The documentary shows the life of Taylor from when she started singing at the age of 13 to the release of her current album, Lover.

At first, she has an uncomplicated life which completely changed after the Kanye West feud. The whole episode showcases how a young singer can be disrespected on national television by a man without it being her fault. After that whole fiasco, Taylor felt that she needed to prove to the whole world that she too deserved the respect and awards which she had earned. She worked hard and the result was her album 1989 winning the Grammy Album of the Year and her becoming the first female artist to win it twice.

After all of these efforts, she felt that she had it all. But, this didn’t last long as several controversies led to her closing herself off from any contact for one year.

She had a lot of vengeance which formed the base for the Reputation album. It was during this period that she came to the realisation that self love and care were very important for a person. She had developed an eating disorder due to the constant pressure of maintaining an image. The thing I like the most is the she realized that she didn’t care if people said she was fat or thin, she wanted a healthy lifestyle.

Women in the entertainment industry heavily objectified

She had never been vocal about politics because she didn’t want to get into trouble but she started advocating for gender equality, women’s rights and LGBTQ+ equality. At the same time, she faced a lot of problem regarding ownership of her work with the record company. She raised her voice regarding this issue, making us realise the corruption and problems that exist in the music industry.

She went on to win a case of sexual assault where an interviewer had inappropriately touched her. The interviewer had sued her and she countersued him. During the trial, she was very scared but the jury voted in her favour.

Many said that Taylor Swift is always playing a victim, that she was a liar. It is programmed in our minds that women always tend to pretend to be victims. Whenever a case of sexual assault, we always think that women should’ve been safer rather than blaming the man. People blamed her but she didn’t lose hope and went on to win the case.

Even today, there is a patriarchal mindset in the music industry that women can’t work after the age of 35 – they are considered unattractive as they become older. Women are not shiny objects, they are human beings whom all of us should respect. The singers’ music is the most important thing to determine whether they deserve our attention or not, rather than objectifying them for their looks.

After watching the documentary, I felt even prouder of her that she didn’t succumb to the pressure rather and fought hard instead. Everyone should watch Miss Americana once to truly understand and appreciate the work musicians put in, and what fame can do to the minds of celebrities.

It’s also a timely reminder that gender equality and women’s rights are still an issue in contemporary times.

Finally these are a few lines I love from Taylor Swift’s song The Man:

I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man
And I’m so sick of them, Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man, Then I’d be the man!”

Let’s change this belief and fight towards gender equality and spread love and harmony in the world!

Top image is a screengrab from the video of Look What You Made Me Do

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Radhika Srivastava is an 19 year old writer from Varanasi, India. She believes that writing

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