Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing okay! I’ve just come back from a whirlwind 24 hours at home where I did… nothing. I actually let my body have a rest, I surprised my sister for her birthday (she cried, it was wonderful). I watched Eurovision and knew that Ukraine were going to win weeks ago, purely because it was so political we’d give them the pity vote*. It was great to relax and I’ve come back to university feeling refreshed and motivated to write, revise and smash finals.
*This vote is great, as it’s the perfect current affairs story for my exam on Ukrainian history. Welcome to LVIV!
Anyway, I think we’re all overdue a further installment in the discussion of Female Identity. I’ve thought even more about my dissertation (considering it’s in two years time). I think there’s a very recent phenomenon that has existed in the conscience of a young girl/young woman/anyone with social media. It’s something that pervades our existence, without us even realising it. All girls want to belong in one, and they want to show themselves off to the best of their ability by having one.
THE GIRL SQUAD.
Here is an example of a famous girl squad.
Taylor Swift aka Miss ‘Look at Me, I was all country and now I’m all mysterious and alluring with Calvin Harris’ is the leader of this particularly famous girl squad. Members of said squad include Gigi Hadid, Hailee Steinfeld, Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez and Cara Delevigne, to name a few.
This squad is dreamy; but doesn’t it highlight something that we all crave? The idea of acceptance with others. As a female, it’s clear that we all want to feel some sort of belonging in society, for fear of being alienated is a strong feeling that perpetuates within all of our individual consciousness. It’s easy to say that, yes you’re comfortable in your own body, and there are plenty of adverts and feminist waves advocating for the discussion of being an independent, free woman who is in love with themselves. But, the mere existence of a ‘squad’ takes away any feeling of happy independence that we could feel.
A squad, like a sorority, champions the idea of togetherness based on similarity. It’s no coincidence that Gigi and Cara have become good friends through the belonging of a girlsquad. They work together, know each other’s every move* and cannot help but become well acquainted with one another.
*I mean, so do I, I follow them both on Snapchat, but that’s not the point here.
Swift is the ringleader of a crew of models, actresses, and singers who have each other to look after them, racking up ‘likes’, fans across the globe and acceptance in the public eye. But, does this just demonstrate how vacuous the female identity is? The squad doesn’t do much to aid the idea that women are determined to glamourise themselves.
I’m not discouraging the idea of a ‘squad’, a ‘squad’ can allow you to grow as a person. By being in a great relationship with a variety of people, you can bounce off your own others of people, learn from others and become a well rounded person. Yet, the alienation of most body types when looking at Taylor Swift’s girl squad suggests that female identity has become polarised.
You either do every beauty regime on the sun, or you do nothing. This is the idea and argument that promulgates itself throughout the media. Whereas feminism is supposed to be an inclusive moment (albeit the different strands go against each other), squads are exclusive. You have to go through ‘rites of passage’ in order to belong. Not become famous yet? Then Taylor Swift’s squad is not for you.
The girl squad can be likened as a form of petty, 21st century bulllying, which forms of social media are advocating. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, and I genuinely believe that without social media, I would not have been able to access the opportunities that I have. What I’m not a fan of is the selective process and the way in which you reflect your identity against the girl squad which the ‘sidebar of shame’ wants you to be like. We can’t all be mirrors (mirrors/reflection – great selection of words), we should all be our own individual self.
Sadly, the self-fashioning (Greenblatt, yes Clauds I’m getting my revision in) moulding our identities is so fixated towards an existing concept, that we can’t help but feel pressured to be in a ‘squad’ and feel influenced to behave in particular manners due to the ringleader.
In this case, Taylor Swift goes on the conventional sense. The girls or women around her love her style and strive to copy it. We all want to be in this group, because you know it must feel good. It must feel good to be special. It must feel warm to be on the inside.
What the girl squad does infact, is highlight that we curate our life. In a similar way to that of Beyonce Knowles and wearing makeup, it demonstrates that female identity is passive and compliant. As much as we want to drift away from it, our innate desire is to mimic and behave in a way that others accept. The best way to do this is through belonging, and if it takes being in a belligerent girl squad, then so be it.
In the next installment of female identity, I’m going to tackle a shop that I love, and wish I owned more of. Yet, there are so many flaws (price included), that it’s no secret… Victoria is for queens only. Yes, Victoria’s Secret will be being discussed, but for now, listen to a Taylor classic.