Professor, cultural critic, and outspoken feminist Camille Paglia just called Taylor Swift a “Nazi Barbie.”
But is it feminist to call other women Nazi Barbies, though? Taylor Swift would argue it isn’t, and that’s exactly the problem Camille has with Taylor.
In an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, Camille argues that Taylor Swift’s popularization of the term #GirlSquad and her practice of parading her—mostly white and supermodel—friends around her concerts and on social media is actually damaging to women, or rather that it’s just dumb and isn’t helping women achieve anything other than knowing a lot of chicks.
"Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props, an exhibitionistic overkill,” Camille wrote.
"Nazi Barbie" is harsh AF, but if Taylor Swift can mobilize literally dozens of famous women with huge platforms and all she’s doing with that collective lady power is taking selfies and walking around with them during her concerts, it’s kind of a missed opportunity to leverage that power to, oh, perhaps create a new Lilith Fair, start a mentoring community, launch an all-female Reddit, create a supergroup, or literally anything else. I DUNNO, JUST SPITBALLING HERE!
Of course, many are saying that Camille’s critique is harsh, and even “anti-feminist.” OMG GASP! Some have called Paglia an anti-feminist feminist, which kind of doesn’t mean anything (do you believe in equality or nah?), so here’s a quick feminism primer in case you weren’t up on the psuedo-politics of a niche group of super-militant fems.
There’s the Taylor Swift brand of feminism, which says you shouldn’t call other women names, because if we aren’t in solidarity with one another, how will men treat us with respect? That’s nice and all. Sure, let’s never make fun of other women. Whatever.
But then there’s the Camille Paglia brand of feminism, which says, "I’ll call bullsh*t on your bullsh*t and I don’t care which gender you are." If you’re a woman who is doing something that might marginalize a large group of women, then Camille will call you out.
But as Roxane Gay writes, there’s really no RIGHT way to be a feminist. So really, everyone should just calm the f*ck down.
Besides throwing all that academic shade at Taylor Swift, how does Camille think women should be bonding?
“Girl squads ought to be about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects. 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.”
So next time you’re thinking about trying on feminism, maybe ditch the cute but ultimately fruitless group selfies and pick up a female business partner or something?