Saturday 1 October 2016

Can Katy Perry help to install Clinton in the White House?

Singer Katy Perry has exchanged her firework bra for explosive support of Hillary Clinton, writes Julia Molony

Julia Molony

Published 01/11/2015 | 02:30

GIRL SQUAD: Katy Perry
GIRL SQUAD: Katy Perry

As Taylor Swift has taught us, every contemporary woman with ambition needs her Girl Squad behind her.

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Even, apparently, Hillary Clinton.

Swift set the blueprint. The most influential woman in pop has assembled an all-female inner circle who support and fortify each other's professional interests. Yes, they spend a lot of time posing for selfies looking hot, but there's more to it than that. They are a posse of power-players in the worlds of fashion, arts, media and entertainment, and Swift counts celebrity heavy-hitters Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner and Lena Dunham, to name a few, among them.

The Girl Squad is the twitter-generation's version of a gentleman's club. They hang out together, seeing and being seen, and profit by mutual association.

As Hillary Clinton leads the race for the Democratic nomination for 2016, she too, it seems, is not above benefiting from a little star power. In fact, she's fast lining up an ace-hand of young, glamorous and outspoken famous women supporters.

Last week, Katy Perry was the latest to join the campaign train, first performing at a Clinton rally in Iowa, showing off her Hillary-in-2016 manicure on social media, and even taking over Clinton's personal Instagram feed for a day. Hillary has returned the compliment - she's adopted the singer's female-empowerment anthem, Roar, as her campaign song.

As any lady in the public eye with a nose for self-promotion knows, when waging a PR war, there are few weapons as eloquent and persuasive as the celebrity supporter.

Back in 2008, a host of stars lined up to support the powerful, symbolic message of putting Obama, the first African-American president in history, into the White House. They mobilised a previously apathetic youth, spreading the message that the moment to make a historical gesture had arrived.

And for the social media-reared Generation Y woman - openly feminist, self-determining, intellectually curious and socially aware - Clinton represents the hope of similarly momentous, symbolic victory. Which must be why today's female youth are lining up in support of simple and powerful goal - the first-ever woman in the White House.

Alongside Perry, Clinton has also got Ellie Goulding, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lopez in her corner.

But perhaps most crucially, just like Taylor Swift, she's got America's most popular young feminist, Lena Dunham, self-declared "Voice of her Generation" in her Girl Squad.

Between them, these stars speak directly to a legion of young, predominantly female fans in their twenties and their thirties - women who are engaged and curious, who argue reproductive rights on Twitter and debate the gender pay gap on their Facebook feeds. They see no thematic dissonance between Katy Perry's 50s pin-up aesthetic and firework-shooting bra and Hillary, with her all-business hair, pant-suits and laser-focus on the Oval office. The Girl Squad supports all forms of female self-determination.

But while the first principle of the Girl Squad is solidarity, there's always one Queen Bee who calls the shots. And with the help of Perry and Dunham, Clinton may well be about to become the ultimate embodiment of that principle.

Sunday Independent

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