Netflix Docu Review: Miss Americana

March 01, 2020

I originally did not intend of writing a post about this because I think my opinion about the documentary is already a given (I super loved it!). But lately I noticed that I am starting to go to that route of binge-watching Netflix titles. Now to drag things up and to prevent myself from spending too much time"chillin", I have come up with this rule for myself -- for every movie/series that I would watch, I need to create a post about it. This is similar to what we do back in high school -- remember those book reports every quarter? Well this rule will be a win-win for me because I will not be just a consumer, but also a creator of content. This will let me exercise critical thinking, and also will provide more content for the blog!  I actually just thought of this rule a few minutes ago, but here I am onto my Netflix review. #thatshowiroll 😎

Like most of the Swift fandom, I first heard of the existence of this documentary through Taylor Swift's "rant" post about Scooter Braun -- about him preventing Taylor to use her older music library for the film. I was super excited because based on the teasers that came out, the documentary intimately covers Taylor's life of the last recent years. We know how private she is now of her life. She started to shift to being "low-profile" in the industry and in the online community after the Kanye West hullabaloo in 2016. I expected this film to fill the gaps of all the events that happened to her after that. The documentary has a play time of 1 hour and 25 minutes, which for most fans is too short (hey we need more of Taylor!). Still, for most fans, it was a nice treat to see all those familiar moments of her life (the reputation tour, her pre-red carpet moments in various award shows, her recording sessions!) in a new perspective.

The documentary covered the period Taylor was doing the reputation tour.
Taylor has gone through a lot, and I think she best summarized all of it during her Woman of the Decade award acceptance speech at the Billboard’s Women in Music 2019 celebration. As a fan that religiously followed her post-1989 era, I thought I already knew all the issues that she had to deal with as a superstar. But wait, there's more! The most surprising one for me that the documentary revealed was her suffering from eating disorder. I have never thought that her physique during the 1989 album era was too skinny. I always thought that that was just her body type. But to hear straight from her that she had to starve herself because she became too conscious about how her body looked was just heartbreaking. She said herself that during tours she felt her body about to give in. 😢 I have to laud her for bringing that up on this documentary because this is such a moving revelation and a positive inspiration for her fans who are undergoing something similar. Now that Taylor is already past that stage and has gained (pun intended) her learnings, she shares her takeaways from that unhappy phase of her life: it's better to look fat than to look sick. She doesn't need to be all self-conscious because this is something that improves her quality of life. And that is always better.

Another topic that stuck with me during the documentary was her sexual assault battle. This is one thing we have in common, unfortunately. During that time, I wasn't really able to defend myself or to speak up. I was too young, I didn't know anything. The Universe knows how this changed me, and as an adult looking back at my younger years, I knew this was the pivotal moment when I transformed from being an energetic and cheerful child to this timid and introverted person (that I am until now). I think my family doesn't remember that this happened anymore. For me, it felt like it all happened yesterday. It unconsciously scarred me. I would only realize the impact as I approached adulthood because I guess I was so good at protecting myself from myself. I just repressed all the memories and emotions. Decades after, it was as if a switch was turned on. I suddenly remembered everything. Since then the flashbacks got worse. That's when I knew I needed to seek help. Up to this day, I have only spoken about this to two other souls -- a college friend and the therapist. After publishing this, I guess the "secret" is now open to the world (at least to those who has the time and luxury to read this lengthy post 😂). I guess now I just want to squeeze and release all the emotions out of my system and just feel and undergo the needed reflection that never happened at the right time. This is part of who I am. This is just one of the many chinks in my armor and I should never ever be ashamed of it.

As I watched Taylor's struggles in defending herself in the trial, I thought to myself that I would never be as brave as her. At the 57:12 mark of the documentary, Taylor, on the concert stage, spoke to her fans about her experience, before performing her song entitled Clean:

"This exact day a year ago, I was not playing a sold out stadium in Tampa. I was in a courtroom in Denver, Colorado, and I was there for a sexual assault case. This day a year ago was the day the jury decided in my favour, and said that they believed me. I'm don't want to– I guess I just think about all the people that weren't believed, and the people who are afraid to speak up because they think they won't be believed. I just wanted to say I'm sorry to anyone who wasn't believed, because I don't know what turn my life would have taken if people didn't believe me when I said that something had happened to me."

Thank you Taylor for saying this. It means a lot to me.

This scene just shattered my heart into pieces. 💔
It was heartbreaking to see her mom cry, but I was amazed because it was now Taylor who was comforting her mom. I also kind of envy her because she has such a supportive mom -- someone who would defend her no matter what. I guess this is another insecurity of mine surrounding that event. Again looking back now as an adult, I think I would have done things differently if I were in her position. I guess I just have to thank my younger self for being strong (all thanks to the power of repression lol) and to the Universe because no further harm happened.

I'm so happy that more people understand her and know her better now after seeing Miss Americana. It was a genius tactic to release the documentary in Netflix because through that medium, it could reach a wider audience, you know those bored people just flipping through the titles would be able to randomly stumble upon the documentary and be curious about it.

Thank you Taylor for being such an inspiration. Yes, it's more than the music now. I now love you as a person. Keep shining and spreading rays of positive sunshine to this world. 🌞🌈

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