Miss Americana: Are They Ready For It?

The costumes, the huge stadiums, the intimate songwriting sessions, the adorable cats….There are a lot of exciting reasons to watch the new documentary on Netflix that followed Taylor Swift through her last two tumultuous albums and world tours. (Major SPOILERS to come!) Taylor allows us to see her at her most vulnerable – when the world seemingly turned on her during the Kayne West scandal and when her album Reputation didn’t seem as commercially successful as she had hoped. For anyone that is a decades-long Swiftie, this may be an hour and half that makes your heart burst with pride over her tenacity and brilliance….

But as a Mama, I gotta tell you that I don’t think my elementary age daughter is going to get to watch it for a little while. Netflix does list this as “TV-MA” and there are a few things that I want to give you a heads up about just in case.

There is Quite a Bit of Adult Language

And I mean ALL the words––spoken by pretty much everybody. While those words may not be a big deal to some, seeing Taylor break out of her carefully protected image maybe a bit surprising to you. She also discusses the toll that fame has taken on her mental health and how it led to her battling an eating disorder. I truly appreciated her honesty about the double standards of the music industry and the way even the most vivacious and attractive celebrities are constantly scrutinized and criticized for failing to meet impossible beauty standards. Young viewers can benefit from hearing that a healthy body is more important to her maintaining the figure that she thought was the right size back then. She seems to be making her physical and mental health a big priority in the amount of time spent out of the spotlight.

Taylor’s Sexual Assault Trial

The show also allows Taylor to tell fans about the 2017 sexual assault trial that she endured in Colorado after a man groped her. Coming from someone with practically unlimited resources and celebrity power, it may be horribly triggering to others to hear how disgusted and degraded the process made her feel and she acknowledges that there are many victims that are not believed or supported. Taylor’s ultimate victory in court caused a change in her priorities and led to her breaking her silence on political matters prior to the 2018 midterm elections. Taylor has encouraged young people to register to vote and tell elected officials to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed by the House in 2019 and has stalled in the Senate. Younger viewers may not know about her experience with the assault and it may require a more delicate conversation about our bodily autonomy and the justice system for victims.

There are Many Joyful Scenes

…with Taylor surrounded by her family and most intimate friends. I particularly loved seeing her creativity just explode as she wrote the song ME! and immediately had a vision for all the crazy concepts and color that would be on display in the music video. It is fascinating to watch her songwriting progress and the end result being performed in a gigantic stadium. I found the show inspiring, to hear how she chose to recenter herself in the midst of what seemed like a total career and image meltdown. Taylor has such a way with words and has been easy to connect with for the last two decades. Her seventh and latest album, Lover, seems to find her in a much more balanced and happy place, leaving behind the vengefulness and anger that left her so emotionally empty. For me, the documentary was a reminder of all the reasons that fans of all ages have made her such a successful recording artist for half of her life.

And some day, I want my daughter to see Miss Americana so she can understand the raw, innermost version of Taylor that brings all that beautiful music to life. We just aren’t ready for it yet. I know that the realities of a grown up world are not something I can insulate my daughter from for too much longer, but I still gotta try. If you have a household that can’t get enough Taylor, just be prepared for the dramatic moments and maybe the big conversations that it can lead to.

Let us know in the comments if you watched the show or plan to allow your kids to. Dance and sing on, Swifties!

Katie
Katie is a small town girl raising a family in the big city. She grew up in Abilene surrounded by strong women and one patient father. She met the love of her life at only 17, and they both later graduated from McMurry University and moved to San Antonio in 2004. Katie was part of San Antonio’s inaugural Listen to Your Mother show in 2016 and is a happy working mom of three kids. Katie loves to talk about shoes, podcasts, rescue dogs, and her family of mostly redheads. She is held together daily by espresso and Jesus.

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