Updated: Oct 28, 2020
I remember the first time I heard Taylor Swift on the radio. It was her first single “Tim McGraw '' and it was then that I knew I needed to know who this girl was. Ever since then, the rest was history. I spent 15 years investing in her life and marking her words as my diary. In so many ways- they were and still are. Taylor Swift was an artist who wrote raw honest feelings and was brave enough to share them with the world. I always admired that about her and had wished I was courageous enough to do the same.
Fast forward to 15 years later and I no longer consider myself a Swiftie or even a big fan. It’s hurtful to write it but I feel as If there are so many things that need to be said, especially when it comes to her new documentary Miss Americana.
During the midterm elections- Taylor decided to break her silence on politics and declared herself as a democrat. It was weird for me to see this, but I still decided to support her. I figured that she would never make her music political, which is something she has never done and I’ve admired her for it. But I was wrong. I’ve wrestled with it for a very long time and I’ve been silent on the issue, thinking I could be. But after giving her new documentary a chance, I realized I couldn’t be. Why? Because some of the things she discusses are half truths, and dangerous language. I’m not here to bash Taylor or discredit her as an artist or songwriter (because she’s one of the best songwriters of our time). I’m simply here to shed light on what she discusses, why it’s potentially harmful to the viewer, her brand of Christianity, and more
Here’s the thing: the first half of the documentary made me miss the old Taylor- the Taylor who would wear her heart on her sleeve and express every kind of emotion in her songs. It’s the Taylor who I could relate to and the Taylor that made me feel a little less alone in a big world. While there were things I raised my eyebrows at, there was so much more that I enjoyed and it made me wish I were still a fan like I once was. But then the inevitable happened. Fox News edits plastered my screen and the propaganda Taylor was exploiting made me truly believe that she has isolated me and fans like me who have conservative values. I truly hope that I am wrong, but in a lot of ways, I feel as if Taylor doesn’t want me as a fan.
While it would take days to debunk everything Taylor says in this documentary, I'm willing to try to debunk as much as possible. First and foremost, her view on Marsha Blackburn is misleading. While I may not know Blackburn personally, I have listened to interviews and have done plenty of research to know that she is not what Taylor states she is nor does she fully understand what Blackburn stands for.
[Marsha Blackburn] votes against fair pay for women,” Swift says, on the verge of tears so the audience knows how genuine she is.
Blackburn] votes against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which is just basically protecting us from domestic abuse and stalking. Stalking! She thinks if you’re a gay couple, or even if you look like a gay couple, you should be allowed to be kicked out of a restaurant. It’s really basic human rights and it’s right and wrong at this point. And I can’t see another commercial and see [Blackburn] disguising these policies behind the words ‘Tennessee Christian values.’ I live in Tennessee. I’m Christian. That’s not what we stand for.
Blackburn actually does support fair pay for women. She states this in an interview with Roll Call after Taylor spoke out against her in 2018.
“Of course I support women and I want violence to end against women. I have been very active in abuse shelters and in child advocacy centers, I’ve been advocating for women and equal pay since I was 19 years old and making certain that women have the opportunity for maximum pay,” Blackburn said. She definitely does not believe gay people should be kicked out of restaurants either.
After this, she then goes on to call those who support Trump or Blackburn as ‘racists’,
‘homophobes’, and ‘fascists’. Wow. What a hurtful statement from a woman I’ve looked up to since I was 15. This is the language that she is portraying, that if you are not with her, you are one of them.
As a girl who’s worked her way up the ladder with a guitar and pen, this kind of language is astonishing and disappointing. It’s sad to see an artist who has worked so hard for what she has, and is smart in so many areas believe that those who believe differently are horrible people that no one should associate with. This is not how you learn, and this is not how you get people to stand with you. It is this kind of language that makes me want to run as fast as I can in the other direction.
In the documentary, Swift comes out as Christian, which is something I did not know about her, and was shocking considering her mockery of them in her music video for “You Need To Calm Down”. If Taylor is a believer, I pray that she continues to grow in her faith and touches up on her theology, but from the language and heart that I’ve seen from her lately, I find it dangerous that she is calling herself Christian when she is clearly mocking Christian values and Christianity all together. No, I do not know Taylor personally and I pray for her salvation. But, I do know that if she truly knew what Christian values were and what the Bible says, she wouldn’t be making a mockery of us for the whole world to see. This, my friends, is what hurts the most. Do not be conceived by the way she says ‘christian’ in this film because her brand of Christianity is not correct. It’s hurtful, wrong, and hateful to the worst degree.
The Taylor I fell in love with writes champions other women, even those who believe differently then her. She doesn’t place such ill intentions on people she doesn’t know. Taylor, for me, has always symbolized a strong woman who works hard, is courageous in her songwriting, brave in her stage presence, and relatable. She’s the girl who has said things in a way I so badly wish I could say. Never have I believed that Taylor didn’t love me or want me as a fan until 2019. It’s true when she says the old Taylor can’t come to the phone, because she left her back in 2017, and since we’re being honest here, I miss her.
As a conservative, I’ve battled this issue for over a year, wondering if I should feel offended or how I should handle this. I’m still battling this new endeavor she has decided to go on. Miss Americana continues that battle for me. Two worlds collide in the film. There’s the world of Taylor the artist, the world I’ve been a part of for years, and it’s the world I never wanted to leave behind. And then there’s the political world. This is the world where I see Taylor’s demeanor switch, and it makes me want to run away from her, not toward her. It’s an odd thing to see two totally different spectrums of a world you were once a part of in one film.
Taylor has every right to speak up about her values and her views in the world. But when you have so many impressionable fans, the burden of speaking out has repercussions. Spreading misinformation and half truths about her opponents, and depicting them in ignorant ways might be what Swift sees on TV and hears from her friends, but it’s not the Miss Americana way as she portrays herself to be in the film. Disabling comments on a post where she defends the Equality Act literally shuts down the conversation and sends the message, “I know better than you.”
Not once in the film did Taylor leverage with anyone who disagrees with her, but instead she chose to rely conveniently on edited Fox News clips to portray the other side. I pray that other fans notice the one sided propaganda that takes place in Miss Americana, but I also know that she sways so many just because she is Taylor Swift.
If Taylor ever wants to gain back her conservative audience (which is a long shot but not impossible) she’s going to have to find leverage from the other side, and correct the misinformation she passionately believes in. There are many days where I wish I could talk with her and let her know that the way she views me and other conservatives is hurtful, and I wish I could tell her why she is misinformed about those she does not know. Because it's not about being on the right side of history. It's about truth.
At the end of the day, it left me asking, “can the old Taylor come back to the phone now? I miss her.”