Oh Good, Camille Paglia Weighed In On Taylor Swift’s #Squad
#SquadGoals, a pervasive and terrible trend that has dominated the Twitter and the Instagram and all the other social media you and yours choose to use, is the horse of 2015 that has been beaten thoroughly to death. However, The Hollywood Reporter decided to let Camille Paglia weigh in on this very important issue (that will hopefully go away in 2016) for their “Women in Entertainment” issue, which feels like a misguided error in judgement.
Paglia, author of Sexual Personae and a critic who writes about the intersection of pop culture and feminism, didn’t really have anything particularly nice to say about Taylor Swift’s performative Best Friends Forever Tour. But as someone who has not been the biggest fan of Swift and her “look-at-me-and-my-Bennetton-ad-friendsies” shtick, even I think this is a bit much:
Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props … Women need to study the immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history. With their results-oriented teamwork, men largely have escaped the sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women.
I have said and thought a lot of things about Taylor Swift, but “Nazi Barbie” crosses a line, as does the implication that women need to throw their complicated, difficult and ultimately very rewarding notions of female friendship and solidarity in the trash and look to men for inspiration.
Paglia’s bio notes that writing this teensy essay was a trauma akin to being dumped back in middle school at the mercy of sharp-witted teen girls with a taste for blood, hell-bent on ruining her life:
Writing about Taylor Swift is a horrific ordeal for me because her twinkly persona is such a scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth.
While there is something that irks about Swift’s braggy friendships, telling the world that women need to be more like men isn’t the answer either, Pags. Here, let Rowan Blanchard, star of “Girl Meets World,” lay it out for you. From a recent interview with Just Jared Jr., Blanchard says:
“Sisterhood is something so valid and important when you are growing up that I literally think the essence of it should be taught in schools. But, the ‘squads’ we see in the media are very polarizing. Feminism and friendship are supposed to be inclusive, and most of these ‘squads’ are strictly exclusive. …
It makes feminism look very one dimensional. Feminism is so multilayered and complex that it can be frustrating when the media and the celebrities involved in it make feminism and “squads” feel like this very happy, exclusive, perfect thing. There’s so much more than that. ‘Squad goals’ can polarize anyone who is not white, thin, tall and always happy. ”
Don’t hate the squad because it reminds you of high school and the time Kelly Anderson threw a Slurpee in your face with one hand while applying lip gloss with the other. Hate the squad for all the people it willingly leaves out.