The highly-anticipated Netflix documentary Miss Americana follows Taylor Swift’s rise from a young country singer to one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
The documentary gives fans a glimpse into her life after a year-long hiatus from the spotlight that allowed her to transform from America’s sweetheart into an adult woman with strong opinions.
In 2018, after more than a decade of smiling and waving for the cameras and keeping politics off the table, Taylor publically backed a Democrat Senator running in Tennessee. In Miss Americana, we see her fight with her team about this decision, citing women’s rights as one of the many reasons she wanted the republican incumbent out of office.
After endorsing the democrat, it became clear that the smiling, people-pleasing Taylor we had come to know had grown up and was ready to fight for what she believes in — the old Taylor Swift really was dead. But just because Taylor was discovering feminism didn’t mean she was going to ditch her signature bright red lipstick and sparkly stage outfits.
Towards the end of the documentary, Taylor says,
“I want to love glitter and also stand up for the double standards that exist in our society. I want to wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics and I don’t think those things have to cancel each other out.”
As someone who has loved Taylor since the first time I heard her debut single, “Tim McGraw,” I nearly jumped on my bed in celebration when I heard this. Finally, someone had said out loud that it’s okay to live in the grey area of feminism, something I have struggled with for years.
I’ve always felt like I was both too much, and never enough. I love pink, I firmly believe that the more sparkles, on anything, the better, and I still get a twinkle in my eye when I watch Disney Princess movies with my three-year-old daughter.
I also believe in a woman’s right to choose, equal pay, in splitting household duties 50/50 with a spouse, and am enraged by old white men making life-changing decisions on behalf of women.
On a board above my desk where I am writing this, the lower right corner holds a card that reads, “Glitter Is My Favorite Color,” while the upper right corner houses a print out that says, “Nevertheless She Persisted.” Two sides of the same coin that never felt like they belonged together.
Taylor Swift’s transformation has allowed her to boldly encompass both sides. She gets to keep the parts of her femininity that she loves while also ditching the “shut up and look pretty” expectations. She gets to proudly live in the grey area of feminism and, by doing so, takes the weight off the shoulders of other women, like me, who have struggled to truly identify with either extreme.
Miss Americana shows the loneliness Taylor has felt at the top and how hard she crashed when she was forced to recover from the fall. It also shows her determination to stand up again, but to do it on her own terms this time around. Her story embodies the power behind “Nevertheless She Persisted,” but with a little extra sparkle for good measure.
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Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn’t a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.