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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Akron chapter.

Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated Netflix documentary Miss Americana officially dropped on January 31, and it is definitely something you should check out, regardless if you are a fan of her or not. It is the most candid that Swift has ever been to the public about her personal struggles whether that be with her image, her eating disorder, or her decision to voice her political stance.

One of the prevailing topics throughout the documentary was the rise and fall of Taylor’s image. It is a reminder that celebrities are still human and are affected by what you say about them. Taylor was the good country girl until suddenly she wasn’t in the eyes of the public anymore. This culture of hating Taylor Swift started to spring up, and that is something she wasn’t ready to deal with. For a while, Swift measured her success by awards and by how much someone liked her, but when her mom got sick, it seemed less important if the internet was angry at her.

One of the most shocking parts of the documentary was the revelation that she had an eating disorder. That isn’t something she has been really vocal about in a way that other celebrities have (such as Demi Lovato who is outspoken about her own struggles with eating disorders and other addictions). She revealed in Miss Americana that she had anorexia. “I’ve learned over the years that it’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day ‘cause I have the tendency…to get triggered by something, whether it’s a picture of me where I feel like my tummy was too big or someone said that I looked pregnant…and it will trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.” Swift is someone who has been criticized for being too fake, often by celebrities like Demi Lovato herself, and for promoting a body image that is unhealthy, so it humanizes her, in a way, to see how she has struggled with something like an eating disorder.

One of the major topics of her documentary was definitely surrounding her decision to break her silence on her political views. This was something that goes back to record label executives constantly telling her, “A nice girl doesn’t force their opinions on people, a nice girl smiles and waves and says, ‘Thank you,’ a nice girl doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable with her views…” There was this struggle with convincing her team that the right decision was to speak out because she was tired of being “muzzled” about where she stands.

The event that really sparked this was her sexual assault case against radio DJ David Mueller who was found guilty of groping the singer. He sued her for $3 million, so she countersued him for $1, and she won. This served as the catalyst for her to speak out against injustice and what ultimately led to her decision to speak about the Tennessee Midterm Election of 2018. It was an uphill battle with her team, to say the least.

“She [Marsha Blackburn] votes against fair pay for women, she votes against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act…she thinks that if you’re a gay couple or even look like a gay couple that you should be allowed to be kicked out of a restaurant…I can’t see another commercial and see her disguising these policies behind the words “Tennessee Christian values.” Those aren’t Tennessee Christian values. I live in Tennessee, and I’m a Christian. That’s not what we stand for,” Swift tearfully told her all-male team. This was an uphill battle because it was men she was talking to who didn’t really understand why this was so important to her. There was no other choice. She had to speak out. The bottom line was she was doing it regardless of what they said because it was the right decision for her. “I need to be on the right side of history,” Swift told her team.


Taylor Swift on stage in colorful jacket

This is what led to her actually saying what she always wanted to through her music. She expressed her support for the LGBTQ community with her song “You Need to Calm Down.” She talked about the sexism in the music industry with “The Man.” She talked about the political turmoil that was sweeping the country and that she personally felt with her song “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.” And finally, with the release of this documentary comes her latest single, “Only the Young,” which is meant to show how important the vote of the young people is. They are going to be one of the biggest demographics to be eligible to vote in the 2020 Presidential Primary, as they were in the 2018 midterm election, and voting is so important to accomplish any type of change in our country. That’s why this song is important in conveying this to the youth of today.

Dorian Mayenschein is a non-binary senior at the University of Akron who majors in English while also minoring in Women's Studies. Their passions include pop culture, literature, social justice, LGBT rights and feminism as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. They hope to one day become a Senior Editor at a book publishing house in Chicago, Illinois and have people other than their aunts read their stories and support them.