Wednesday 29 March 2017

Feminist critic Camille Paglia labels Taylor Swift a 'fascist blonde' for girl squad ethos

(L-R) Models Gigi Hadid and Martha Hunt, actress Hailee Steinfeld, model Cara Delevingne, recording artists Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift, actress Serayah McNeill, model Lily Aldridge, actress Mariska Hargitay and model Karlie Kloss attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
(L-R) Models Gigi Hadid and Martha Hunt, actress Hailee Steinfeld, model Cara Delevingne, recording artists Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift, actress Serayah McNeill, model Lily Aldridge, actress Mariska Hargitay and model Karlie Kloss attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Camille Paglia
(L-R) Recording artist Taylor Swift, models Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Independent.ie Newsdesk and Agencies

Taylor Swift has come under fire from revered cultural critic, feminist and author Camille Paglia for making the girl squad concept a big trend in 2015.

The pop star brought her celebrity pals together as she shot her Bad Blood video earlier this year and the group which includes feminist Lena Dunham and supermodels Gigi Hadid and Lily Aldridge, became known as the singer's 'Squad'.

The media pounced on the idea and have since helped the likes of Drew Barrymore and Adele create their own celebrity 'squads', but Paglia is not a fan of the term.

In an essay written for the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, she urges those keen to promote feminism to avoid the "tittering, tongues-out mugging of Taylor Swift", adding she thinks the singer's "twinkly persona" is "such a scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth".

(L-R) Recording artist Taylor Swift, models Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
(L-R) Recording artist Taylor Swift, models Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Further singling out Taylor for criticism, the feminist icon urges the pop star to "retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props", suggesting women who group together should take themselves more seriously.

Read more: Who's who in Taylor Swift's squad

"Girl squads ought to be about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects," she writes. "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.

"Given the professional stakes, girl squads must not slide into a cozy, cliquish retreat from romantic fiascoes or communication problems with men, whom feminist rhetoric too often rashly stereotypes as oafish pigs. If many women feel lonely or overwhelmed these days, it's not due to male malice.

Camille Paglia
Camille Paglia

"Women have lost the natural solidarity and companionship they enjoyed for thousands of years in the preindustrial agrarian world, where multiple generations chatted through the day as they shared chores, cooking and childcare."

Paglia concludes, "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."

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