Celebrated cultural commentator Camille Paglia has slammed Taylor Swift as a “Nazi Barbie” and urged Swift and her high-profile Girl Squad, who are often photographed at award shows with their arms linked and/or tongues bared in “edgy” Gene Simmons snarls as they sport gowns of varying textures, lengths and cut-out placements, to “unlink” those arms.
“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.”
Paglia reflected on the origins of the word “squad” in her latest essay for The Hollywood Reporter, noting that the word “once had a hard, combative street edge, but today it’s gone girly and a bit bourgeois. Social media are its primary engine.”
The sometimes-reviled and sometimes-revered cultural commentator zeroed in on Swift’s “Nazi Barbie” habit of collecting her famous friends and using them in her projects, perhaps best exemplified in Taylor Swift’s video for her song “Bad Blood.”
“Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props.”
— Todd Leopold (@tlleopold) December 11, 2015
— NME (@NME) December 11, 2015
The “Nazi Barbie” jab probably stems from a perception that blonde Swift is the leader of the Girl Squad, and the one who usually pulls the girls together for those public appearances, designed to “project power” to the world as a military strategist would. Paglia may also be thinking of Swift’s Hamilton Island birthday party, which will be held tomorrow, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.
Swift flew her international girl posse to Hamilton Island for the event, and was not shy about asserting her claim on the island and surrounding waters. The idyllic Australian resort island will be closed off to the media for Swift’s birthday bash, and Swift has received criticism for kicking a reporter off Hamilton Island.
Swift seems to believe she has the right to kick people out of open water in order to ensure the privacy of her girl squad, as reported by news.com.au.
Selena Gomez, Ed Sheehan, and Gigi Hadid are among the guests reported to be flying to Australia for Swift’s birthday bash.
“The legality of being asked to leave open water was questioned during [a recent] broadcast.”
The waters around Hamilton Island are the site of the imperiled Great Barrier Reef, and the island itself the habitat of a slew of unique Australian flora and fauna species, raising questions about whether Taylor Swift ought to be permitted to pay the resort off and proceed with a party completely unscrutinized (one commenter on social media reflected that if hamster-cheeked Selena Gomez were to get tipsy and indulge in some booze-fueled wildlife-destruction nobody would be there to protest the incident, and the Hamilton Island owners would probably turn a blind eye).
“I’ve never encountered anything like this before in 20 years of journalism, this is a pretty outrageous media ban.”
— i-D (@i_D) December 12, 2015
Responding to the media coverage, Swift imperiously ordered the concerned Australian media to “take it down a notch,” as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The “Nazi Barbie” branding is not the first time Paglia has criticized Swift. In an interview with Roda Viva, Paglia criticized the pop star for her regressive image and limp, girlish self-presentation (58:05).
“Taylor Swift seems to me an abomination — A reversion to a 1950s style of prim, prissy, white Anglo-Saxon girliness that I thought my generation had forever gotten rid of.”
“She’s a pestilence!” the opinionated libertarian and former Salon columnist added.
At 12:07 of the following interview Paglia gives a rallying cry asking women artists to have the courage to make big, obnoxious, crushing works of art.
“I felt that women did not aim high enough…I felt that for too long in history men have been the ones to make the epic statements. In rock ‘n roll I’m always complaining ‘why is it Led Zeppelin who are geniuses, who have that giant orchestral sound?’ Why is it that women will not make these big, obnoxious [artistic statements], almost like a military tank crushing the audience?”
“Obnoxious Nazi Barbie” Taylor Swift prompted Paglia to reflect on the nature of female friendship and mentorship.
“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.”
Feminist: Men Better At Friendship Than 'Nazi Barbie' Taylor Swift https://t.co/OQmfghmtnK
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) December 12, 2015
[Image by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]