Say what you will about cultural critic Camille Paglia, she doesn’t pull punches and she’s not afraid to tip sacred cows. In a scathing essay for The Hollywood Reporter, she says that Taylor Swift‘s relentless girl squad mentality doesn’t empower women at all… it, in fact, promotes elitism. And furthermore, it’s distinctly out of step with modern feminism. POW. So take THAT.
“In our wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse,” wrote Paglia. But ‘Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props.”
She goes on to say:
“Girl squads ought to be about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects. 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.
“If women in Hollywood seek a broad audience, they must aim higher and transcend a narrow gender factionalism that thrives on grievance. Girl squads are only an early learning stage of female development. For women to leave a lasting mark on culture, they need to cut down on the socializing and focus like a laser on their own creative gifts.”
I mean: She’s not wrong, but is she being a bit harsh on the girl? The Guardian tells Paglia to “lighten up”:
Even those who are not fans of her music should feel for Swift. In many ways, she cannot win. Her confessional brand of songwriting has seen her frequently portrayed as the “crazy ex-girlfriend”: manipulative, calculating, and obsessive; now the “fascist blonde” is doing female bonding wrong as well. In the same essay, Paglia called the singer’s persona a “scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth”.
Swift’s girl squad of real-life friends and associates is, of course, something of a marketing gimmick (a pop star who engages in gimmicks – who would have thought it?) But to hold her stage production up as a totemic symbol of the hollow nature of modern female relationships seems somewhat unfair.
Continue reading here.
What do you think? Is Taylor Swift’s habit of bringing her “girl squad” on stage with her nauseating in the extreme and elitist claptrap? Or does it empower female friendships and replace mean-girl competitiveness? Let me know your thoughts in the Facebook comment section.