Your Best American Girl – Mitski interpretation

Your Best American Girl - Mitski interpretation

Gracie Walthall, writer

The song Your Best American Girl by the artist Mitski is a very heartfelt song about the struggles of dating a white American as a POC, in her case as a half Japanese, half American person. She portrays the mental struggles of not feeling as worthy as her partner, as told in “I’m not the moon, I’m not even a star.” How I interpret this sentence is that she is saying that while her partner is the sun, she could never amount to anything close to that. She feels incompetent because of how much systemic racism there is in America, and how much people who aren’t neccesarily white in America are looked down at. 

In the chorus of the song, she states “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me.” For many POC this is true. Older white people in America are sometimes apprehensive when it comes to someone being raised up in a different manner, or with a different culture than they were taught growing up. They raised their kids a certain way, and seeing someone raise their kids up differently automatically means bad to them. In the line right after this she says “but I do, I think I do.” This shows that she might have a hard time embracing her culture. This happens a lot in America because living here can make you feel like you have to conform to the social “norm.” This is a struggle that many people can relate to because people sometimes insult or mock cultures, or force stereotypes onto the people who are of them. 

Another line says “And you’re an all-American boy, I guess I couldn’t help trying to be your best American girl.” This shows more of how she felt as if she had to change for her partner, so she could be what society told her to be. She felt as though the only way to be with her partner was to be what society wanted, and not who she actually was. They wanted to strip her culture from her, and make her conform, and she did as well because she thought that it would make her seem perfect. Then, maybe people would see her as an equal.

Close to the end of the song she restates the line “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me”, but this time she says “but I do, I finally do.” This shows that she has finally come to embrace her culture, and not to be conditioned to live how society tells her to. She does though after this say at the end “but I do, I think I do”, which could show her internalized feeling that she pushed for so long, and how it’s hard to break that cycle of hatred.

Although I cannot relate to the struggles she tells that she faces because I am white, it does give a better understanding for people who may not fully understand the struggles she shows. Overall the combination of her ethereal voice, and meaningful lyrics, it is an amazing song that you should listen to.