Miss Americana: an overturn of the ‘good girl’ stereotype

On January 31st Netflix released Taylor Swift’s brand new documentary: Miss Americana. The title refers to one of the songs included in the singer’s last album, Lover, hinting at some of the themes covered in the movie. While the Reputation documentary (2018), dedicated to Swift’s more recent worldwide tour, dealt specifically with her music and career, Miss Americana focuses on some issues the artist had to face during the last couple of years, such as food disorders and her unexpected development of a political stance.

Born in South Pennsylvania in 1989, since 2004 Taylor lives with her family in Tennessee. Since the very beginning of her career at the age of 17, the young singer has based her entire image on the “good girl” stereotype, avoiding any public display of her political beliefs.
However, after Trump’s puzzling win at the last presidential elections, Taylor felt the need to speak up about her political opinions and, as the documentary clearly shows, even at the cost of facing her own staff and management. On Instagram, she opened up about the importance of voting and supporting the right candidates in order to garantee everyone’s fundamental rights, referring especially to human rights and minorities protection proposals which stood at the center of the Democrats’ campaign. In fact, after her public statement, a strong increment of registrations for the Midterm elections was recorded by the related voting platform; nonetheless, despite her commitment and the high media coverage generated by her post, it was the Republican candidate who won Tennessee’s seat in Congress, leaving Taylor in total disbelief and disappointment.

Overall, the movie seems to be aimed at showing to the public how Taylor recovered from what she considered a total failure, using her art to keep spreading her ideas and encouraging young people to be informed and to vote. Likewise, the movie portrays the change of heart of a woman, bound to be only pretty and nice by the music industry, who decided to put her power of communication to a good use.
The documentary ends with a shot focused on Taylor writing the song Only the young, dealing specifically with her reaction to the electoral results and her will to keep talking about politics, and, by doing so, getting as many young people as possible involved in the future of the country.


Marica Orrù

MA in Publishing and Journalism @ Università degli Studi di Verona. BA in Languages and Cultures for Publishing (languages of expertise English and Spanish). My main research interests focus on: American popular culture and its representation through cinema, TV series and music; the construction of US heroic figures, especially related to the superhero genre in film and comics; editorial currents in the international market.

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