I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find Taylor Swift’s never-ending Rolodex of female cohorts a tad irksome. Ever since I saw the first photos of TayTay gallivanting with Selena Gomez, Karlie Kloss and other glossy, svelte goddesses in tow, I’ve felt uglier, fatter and like a total loser. And I’m a dude. I can’t even imagine what this pink-tinged clique does to women. (Something tells me it’s far worse than Regina George’s snappy cafeteria quips.)
So, when I first saw The Hollywood Reporter writer Camille Paglia’s essay critcizing Taylor’s militant #GirlSquad on my feed, I jumped for joy. Finally, someone has the balls to poke holes in Ms. Swift’s so-called-feminist bubble. And Camille’s essay does not disappoint. It echoes many sentiments I share about Taylor’s princess posse.
But Camille took it too far with one of the points. I was getting my life up until she essentially compared Taylor to Adolf Hitler–you know, the man responsible for the Holocaust. Here is the questionable excerpt for your reading (dis)pleasure:
In our wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse. Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props, an exhibitionistic overkill that Lara Marie Schoenhals brilliantly parodied in her scathing viral video “Please Welcome to the Stage.”
Is Camille correct? Absolutely. There was something unnerving about watching Taylor collect friends like baseball cards this year–prepared to deal any one of them out at the drop of a hat on her wildly successful 1989 concert tour. But is that enough to put her in the same category as a group of lunatics responsible for the systematic annihilation of more than 10 million people? Isn’t that a little extreme?
Camille probably used the term “Nazi” as a shock device to get more eyeballs on her story, and she will succeed. Calling the most popular pop star–and arguably person–on Earth a “Nazi” will certainly ruffle feathers, but at what cost? Camille is one of many people who toss around the word “Nazi” so freely. Have you ever used the term “grammar Nazi” to describe an English teacher? I have too, until one professor of mine–Ms. Sisk–penalized us if we used the phrase in class. I cut that s–t out immediately.
And it seems Camille–and everyone else who plays fast and loose with the term “Nazi”–needs a metaphorical scolding from Ms. Sisk. There are many words to describe a thin, blonde woman who promotes a (seemingly) archaic form of female bonding. “Nazi” is not one of them.