I Hate The Term ‘Girl Squad’; But If I Could Be In Taylor’s, I Would
This article originally appeared in The Sunday Times Style where you can read Dolly Alderton’s vociferous bad blood. This is a very similar version to what appeared in the magazine.
Growing up, I was never one breathlessly to Blu-Tack heart-throbs to my wall. My teenage libido was not stoked by Peter Andre’s abs or a post-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve never been a fangirl, never sought an autograph, never once surfed eBay for concert tickets. Aside from slight lust for that cocky Scots sexpot James McAvoy (only me?), I have historically had little emotional investment in celebrities. Except, that is, for Taylor Alison Swift.
Oh, Taylor. All 5ft 10in of her Cheestring form (one of many reasons to hate her, apparently) makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I want to prefix and suffix her name with an emoji heart and maybe put a gun in there, too (because meeting her would make me, like, die). Crushing on T-Swizzle, as she’s known to her global fanbase of “Swifties”, is now so common, it’s positively basic. But — not that this is a competition — I loved Taylor before any of you. I hearted her in the country days, before Jake Gyllenhaal dumped her five years ago. Before she got her hair chemically straightened and added sassy heels to her formerly flat brogues. Before she became friends with her doppelgänger, the supermodel Karlie Kloss. Before she wrapped her lissom form around the mega-DJ Calvin Harris, becoming half of the Most Powerful Media Couple in the World.
Taylor isn’t pop-star cool. She has never had a big, fat spliff between her diamanté talons in some desperate bid to be “real”. Taylor is kind and gracious to her fans and peers. That is why I love her. When Kanye West stormed the VMAs stage, during the then 19-year-old Taylor’s acceptance speech, and said the award should be Beyoncé’s, did Taylor throw a hissy fit? No. She responded with a shy smile and this: “I don’t know him… I don’t want to start anything because I had a great night.” To me, that is the epitome of cool. Not street cool, but manners cool. Can you imagine Rihanna doing that? Nicki Minaj?
On her recent 1989 tour, Taylor brought a “girl squad”, including Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, onto the stage in a PR move that inspired the term “squad goals” — a label for what you would like your group of friends to be or do. “It’s sham feminism,” snarked the angry turnips, forgetting that Taylor had gathered an indomitable crew of ladies because every time she was dumped, she was called a whore. Taylor doesn’t have only famous friends; she is organising her non-famous best friend’s hen do. But sexy famous people fraternise with sexy famous people because it is their immediate resource pool. To rail against that is pointless.
I’ve never been to a Taylor Swift concert (too slow on Ticketmaster). I’ve never “liked” her Instagram pictures. And the terms ‘girl squad’ and ‘squad goals’ infuriate me to the HILT. But my love for Taylor is about more than her songs; it’s an admiration for her as a young lady. Ultimately, the best PR is to be a nice, pleasant person. I believe that Taylor is truly nice. Journalists have no bad tale about her (and trust me, there are lots of “lovely” celebrities who turn out to be awful).
People hate Taylor for myriad arbitrary reasons. She’s white, rich and thin. She bakes cookies and collects Victorian nighties. Yes, she admits she is pretty weird. But no weirder than you and me. Just much richer, probably nicer and definitely, unequivocally, winning.
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