On Friday the 31st of January Taylor Swift’s documentary on Netflix came out. To be honest, it has exceeded my expectations. Here’s why.
An empowering, real and honest documentary
The documentary shows how Taylor grew up from starting out as a 13-year old country singer to being – at the time of filming – a confident 29-year old artist at the top of the pop music industry. Despite what most of us think we know about the singer, she especially shows she’s only human too. She’s not resistant to all the things that are written about her in the media just because she’s famous. In the documentary she opens up about her difficulty to deal with criticism, how mean comments by tabloids and tv hosts in talk shows have made her starve herself and about how she felt like she always had to be a ‘good girl’. The fact that stand-up comedian and host Nikki Glaser, who is included in the documentary as one of the people who commented on Swift’s appearance, has in the meantime apologized for what she said, says enough about the impact of the documentary. Although Glaser says she was struggling with an eating disorder herself, she says she now knows she was wrong when she projected her insecurity on Taylor by bringing her down. Taylor herself has responded that she appreciates the apology and says she’s sorry to hear Glaser struggled with the same things as she did.
This documentary most of all shows the healing power writing music has for Taylor. You can see her in the process of writing some of her popular songs and it’s really inspiring to see how she puts what she feels into a song. Knowing this, it makes it even worse that she’s been criticized for years about ‘singing too much about her dating life’, as if it’s a bad thing. She makes a great point by saying this would never be said about a man. In my opinion she’s absolutely right. Which male singer gets broken down because of ‘singing about relationships’, about being too fat or too skinny, about being friends with models and so on? Taylor remarks that women in the industry have to reinvent themselves again and again to remain interesting for the public while men can keep doing the exact same thing for years and still are respected. It is true and I believe we sometimes forget how bad the problem is because we get so used to things being like this. But do we really want to settle for anything less than equality? Not in my opinion. Taylor did a great job reminding us about this in her documentary.
It’s a good thing she now speaks up about these important issues, which hasn’t always been the case. What plays a big role in this documentary is her internal struggle between wanting to be the good girl but also wanting to speak up about important issues such as equal rights for everyone and politics. It’s clear not everyone wanted her to speak up about these things, especially her management. The turning point for her was when she was sexually assaulted. Because of this she didn’t want to remain quiet anymore. When she decided to speak up and share her point of view, she immediately was being called uneducated and wrong to get herself involved in the political debate. Even Trump said he then liked her music 25 % less. This once again shows that it is incredibly hard to be taken serious as a – young – woman, even in these ‘modern’ ages.
Luckily there’s Taylor Swift to empower us and remind us this is NOT OKAY. It’s not okay we’re expected to remain silent because we’re women and ‘we mustn’t be too loud’, it’s not okay to body shame women – or anyone – , it’s not okay to call us certain names while men do the exact same thing but are being praised for it, it’s not okay to deliberately bring someone down because you ‘just can’t stand her’…
This message is incredibly important and I think everybody should watch this documentary. Even if you’re not a fan of Taylor’s songs, she shares some ideas which are of the utmost importance in today’s society.