Taylor Swift’s “Miss Americana” :: What It Means for Our Daughters {and Sons}

Miss Americana released on Netflix today, and let me tell you, it’s worth the watch.

The documentary does exactly what a documentary is intended to do: it goes behind the scenes to show Taylor Swift in her everyday life. While she’s one of the most famous women in the world, the documentary actually has nothing to do with her celebrity. It’s about the (very relatable) journey of growing up in this world, and all the things that young girls encounter every single day of their journey, famous or not.

The notion of being a “good girl”

Swift has been both praised and demonized for her “good girl” persona over the years. As women, it’s ingrained in our heads from a young age that every one likes a good girl; everyone expects a nice girl. I can recount numerous occasions as a child when I was told to act nice, act like a “lady,” and to calm down when I strayed from such model behavior. The notion left such a footprint in me that I sometimes catch myself telling my daughter “that’s not nice girl behavior.” I cringe when I hear those words spill out of my mouth because I know better than to extend that narrative!

It’s psychologically damaging to assign gender identification to a behavior. 

I think most of us who were raised in the 90s and earlier were told something along the same lines: Be nice. Be the girl everyone wants you to be. Essentially, don’t be you. And for a lot of us, including Swift, that notion doesn’t necessarily make you a nice person internally. It makes you afraid. Afraid to sway from the mold. Afraid to speak up. And as Taylor puts it, “obsessed with not getting in trouble.”

It took a long time for me to find my voice and to not be afraid to not be liked. I am the furthest thing from famous and she experiences it on a MUCH larger scale. However, the concept is clear and universal. Let’s teach our girls to be themselves. Let’s teach our girls to have a voice. Let’s teach our girls that they can be anyone they want to be and they don’t have to apologize for it.

Real life is so much more important than social media likes

The world we are raising our children in scares me. Our happiness is all too often gauged by our acceptance and praise on social media.

Today, we have to make a conscious effort to make sure our babies realize that facade of “hearts” and likes does not define who they are. There are real problems in life and even though it’s easy to get distracted by the text and photos constantly streaming in front of our faces, Miss Americana has reminded me that as a parent this is another thing in the myriad of 21st century issues I need to address as I raise my children.

Work ethic and millennials

It always gets under my skin when the often-heard myth rears up: “Millennials are lazy.”

Whether you like her or not, Taylor Swift is an insanely hard-working woman. She’s also a millennial. And guess what? Most of us reading this are millennials, too (1981-1996, baby). In motherhood alone, we work our butts off every day!

There were lazy, pot-smoking bums in the 70s and people with zero drive and direction, just like there are today. So, let’s try not to blame things on a decade or generation and just do our best at home to instill work ethic in our children.

“I would starve myself…there are so many diet blogs that tell you how to.”

This one kills me.

Eating disorders.

If you’ve paid attention at all throughout the years, you probably noticed at one point or another that Taylor Swift looked extremely thin. She admits it. Admits that she wasn’t eating. That she thought it was okay to feel like she was going to pass out. That she thought she HAD to look a certain way.

No matter who you are or how much money you have, this issue is HUGE for our youth. I have noticed my seven-year-old use the word “fat” in a context that hurts my heart.

Knowledge comes from example and I appreciate public figures such as Swift for coming clean about falling down the rabbit hole of weight obsession and for trying to exude a better example. I will try harder to show my daughters what healthy is, too.

Sexual assault 

It was eye opening to hear her perspective on this.

Taylor was groped and it was caught on camera. There were seven human witnesses to it as well. Even with all of that evidence, she was brought into a court room and forced to plead her case. She is devastated by the fact that she had to do so much to prove a wrong doing that had so much concrete support. It makes her step back and think, what do people do when all they have is their word against their attacker?

Disturbing.

Let’s talk about it. Let’s tell our children that no matter what they think will happen, if they were wronged in any way shape or form, it’s time to speak up. No one should get away with hurting another human being on any level. We can do better to bring justice to our wounded.

Finding your voice 

“I want to wear pink AND tell you how I feel about politics, and I don’t think that those things have to cancel each other out.” -Taylor Swift 

A lesson we should all take to heart. It doesn’t matter what color, religion, or gender you are. You are allowed to have a voice.

Be who you are and stand up for what you believe in. We all deserve basic human rights. It’s not that hard.

Postscript: I haven’t always been a die hard fan of her music. My kids like her songs and we have had numerous family dance parties to “Shake It Off” and “You Need to Calm Down.” Beyond that, I had never taken too much of an interest in Taylor Swift as an individual, but after watching “Miss Americana,” I have begun to understand her person, whom I appreciate immensely. 

The weekend is here. Your turn to watch! What did you think?

Amanda was born and raised in San Diego, California. In 2016, she and her family packed up and took the 1,500 mile trek to north Texas, happily settling in Collin County. Amanda was a hairstylist in California, but is currently taking a break from the world of beauty to care for two young beauties of her own. When she’s not chasing after her kids, sprinting through the neighborhood with her high energy dogs, or vacuuming her house like a mad woman, Amanda enjoys exploring Texas, shopping, cooking, and catching up on her favorite television shows. Although she sometimes misses the palm trees and salty ocean breeze, she is proud and excited to call Texas home. Stay tuned for more on her adventures living the SAHM life in Collin County.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a complete garbage article. The autobiography is nothing but carefully prepared propaganda to make sure Ms. Swift’s appeal is maximized. Mom’s like you are the reason why we are raising a generation that does nothing worship celebrities who in reality are absolutely some of the worst humans on Earth. Your a garbage mom.

    • This article is spot on. I felt exactly the same way and same experience with where I stood with my opinion of her prior. She did nothing that was not genuine in this documentary and the “Karen’s” of the world belong in the trash especially when they call others garbage. You must know of what you speak- Thanks for sharing your opinion on this! I related and am more mindful of what I will teach my daughter as she grows up since I’m a “lazy” millennial female myself.

    • Wow, you are a garbage human being. It’s fine to disagree with an article but do you have to call names and stereotype an entire generation? Come on.

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