In 2015, the hashtag #SquadGoals began to surface after seeing pictures of Taylor Swift and her gorgeous friends together, at parties, concerts, or at her private Rhode Island beach house. Taylor parades them around stage after her concerts, and appears to collect them like some people collect snow globes.
While many media outlets immediately praised her for showing outward signs of female unity and solidarity, the New York Times saw right through it. Taylor has been bombarded for years for her reputation as a serial dater. Jon Caraminica noted that this was a tactic to become known for female friendships. “Rather than be known as a serial dater, she’d prefer to be thought of as a serial befriender.”Instagram: @taylorswift
But the idea of Taylor Swift’s squad is problematic in itself. Like many women seriously bullied in their teens (and I mean seriously bullied), large groups of attractive women can be intimidating. The first time I saw pictures of the “squad,” I had immediate flashbacks to being picked on and being called nasty slurs in the ninth grade locker room, by a group of someday-supermodels. I remembered the feeling of being excluded and being unwelcome in a space that’s supposed to be shared.
This is precisely the intimidation tactic that Swift is winning praise for. People view her as a feminist icon, when there is nothing empowering about her squad at all. Sure, it’s a sign of female solidarity in the entertainment business. But it does not serve others. Rather, Swift has been collecting famous friends to boost her own reputation. Taylor has utilized images of her famous friends, such as Karlie Kloss, Lena Dunham, and Selena Gomez in concert footage, singing her praises. What kind of propaganda is that?Instagram : @taylorswift
Look closely into her squad, specifically her Bad Blood video, which is being upheld as a feminist anthem for sticking up for yourself. Do you notice women of color? What about average looking women?
The answer is a glaringly obvious no. Taylor Swift’s squad is not inclusive at all. It is in fact a perfect example of white feminism, in which Swift is a classic example of.
White feminism can be defined as the type of “feminism” that does not include women of color or of different social classes. Swift’s squad includes only women of similar socioeconomic status, and who are (let’s face it) all white, and all super-model beautiful.
Caraminica states of the Bad Blood video, “The video is a feminist superhero fantasy, with oodles of famous guests — proof of the power and depth of Ms. Swift’s Rolodex and her desire to form alliances more than cast aspersions.”
So what can we take away from this?
We need to take Taylor Swift’s feminism with a grain of salt, and recognize that our faves can be problematic. We need to understand that behind this image is a powerful businesswoman, only serving herself by changing her reputation as Hollywood’s biggest sweetheart. Most of all, we should learn not to regard her squad as goals, and instead strive for more inclusivity.