The upcoming Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana debuts on Netflix on January 31, following its recent Sundance premiere. The film is billed as “a raw and emotionally revealing look” at Swift, and in it, she speaks about her struggle with an eating disorder.
The Guardian notes that in the movie, Swift tells director Lana Wilson, “I would have defended it to anybody who said, ‘I’m concerned about you.’ I don’t think you know you’re doing that when you’re doing it gradually. There’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting. Because if you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants, but if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, then your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just f*cking impossible.”
She goes on to say that those issues are still a part of her life: “I tend to get triggered by something, whether it’s a picture of me where I feel like my tummy looked too big, or someone said that I looked pregnant or something. And that will trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.”
Swift expanded on those comments in a new interview with Variety and spoke about her relationship with food:
“I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable with talking about body image and talking about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me — my relationship with food and all that over the years. But the way that Lana tells the story, it really makes sense. I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience. And my relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.
I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine. And the headline was like, ‘Pregnant At 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment. And then I’d walk into a photo shoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, ‘Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes. Usually we have to make alterations to the dresses, but we can take them right off the runway and put them on you!’ And I looked at that as a pat on the head. You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.
I think I’ve never really wanted to talk about that before, and I’m pretty uncomfortable talking about it now. But in the context of every other thing that I was doing or not doing in my life, I think it makes sense to have it in the film.”
Read our Sundance review of Miss Americana here.