From “Real Housewives” to “The Hills” to “The Bachelor,” there is nothing that America loves to see more than women tearing each other down. Nothing sells more than girl drama, whether it is scripted or fake or somewhere ambiguously in between. Friendships between women are portrayed in the media as fleeting and fake. They are a profit point for gossip magazines and reality shows and basically every special on E! ever. No woman in Hollywood is safe from this: just a few weeks ago two “Orange is The New Black” cast members were asked about what “girl feuds” there were on the OITNB set. You read that right- out of all the questions the interviewer could have asked to members of the most intersectional, diverse cast of one of the most revolutionary television shows of our time, he chose to ask them who was stabbing who in the back. And if you’re curious, the answer is nobody. Nobody was stabbed in the back, because “Orange is The New Black” is a cast of mature, adult women, not last week’s guests on Maury, thank you very much. You may be asking yourself, how can we change this? Can we change this?
The good news is, Taylor Swift already has.
Whether it is intentional or not, Taylor Swift is changing how we view female friendships in the media in a progressive and powerful way. Instead of focusing on the latest feud, Taylor Swift and her ever expanding group of female friends are making headlines, but of a different kind. Instead of letting the media play into the age-old stereotype of the catty teen-to-twentysomething-woman, they’re making news for hanging out, for helping each other out, for being nice to each other. That is a bigger deal than it may seem.
Greetings from Maui! @haimtheband A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Swift’s friend group transcends age, fame, gender expression and ethnicity. She claims eighteen-year-old academy-award nominated Hailee Steinfeld AND internationally acclaimed model Karlie Kloss AND feminist hero/GIRLS star Lena Dunham as just a few of her many, many good friends. (This list does not stop there- she’s also good friends with singer Selena Gomez, actress Jamie King, singer/actress Zendaya and all three members of the indie group HAIM, to name a few more. Oh, and did I mention Beyoncé came to her birthday party?) At a first glance, Steinfeld, Kloss and Dunham have nothing in common aside from fame, but Swift has found things in each of them she can relate to and that she loves.
A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Fame isn’t even a necessary factor in claiming Swift as a friend – she is still extremely close with childhood friends Abigail Anderson and Brit Maack. Mack asked Swift to be her maid of honor back in February, and Swift recently threw Anderson the birthday bash of her dreams, complete with an appearance by Anderson’s childhood music obsession Dashboard Confessional. That, right there, is true friendship.
A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Speaking of birthday parties- Swift has shown herself time and time again to be the queen of throwing celebrations for the women she loves in her life. On top of Anderson’s party, Swift has thrown actress Jamie King a baby shower for her soon-to-be godchild and threw Fifth Harmony singer Camilla Cabello a birthday party in her Tribecca apartment. She has invited her friends on different legs of her 1989 world tour to come on stage of her during her performance of “Style” to share the spotlight with her and strut their stuff. Most recently, she invited the World Cup Champion U.S. women’s soccer team to dance onstage with her at her New Jersey concert.
These frequent expressions of love are so, so important in a world where a woman is more likely to be on the cover of a magazine for allegedly sleeping with her older sister’s boyfriend (cough cough OK! Magazine) than she is for just about anything else. When is the last time you saw a front page article about a suspected surprise party? (Shocking: Kim Kardashian allegedly makes sister Kendall the sweetest handmade banner for 21st birthday celebration: see the juicy pics inside!) Yet, because of Swift’s prominence and magazine-selling ability, magazines have started to make these expressions of female-friendship news. And more positive female friendships in the media means less negative female friendships in the media, which means that maybe we can squash the harmful stereotype once and for all.
Happy 4th from me, @gigihadid, @marhunt, @britmaack, @serayah and @haimtheband 🙂 A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Taylor has often been criticized as having “absolutely no chill” (an updated way to insult a woman for being “dramatic”) but her reactions to friends hanging out with former friends says otherwise. Even though Swift had a falling out with singer Katy Perry, this has not stopped her closest pals from hanging out with Perry publicly. Singers Ellie Goulding and Lorde, two of Taylor’s good friends, recently posted photos of themselves hanging out with Perry. And while, yes, her hit single “Bad Blood” is about her and Perry’s falling out over stolen backup dancers, Swift’s chillness about her current friends seeing Perry just shows that Swift is more interested in spreading the love than spreading the hate.
Not only is Swift more than okay with her friends hanging out with ex-friends, she’s okay with them dating ex boyfriends, too. GiGi Hadid, a Victoria’s Secret Model and one of Taylor’s besties, is currently dating Taylor’s ex boyfriend Joe Jonas. She’s so cool with it that they were just in London on a much-instagrammed double date (with boyfriend Calvin Harris and fifth wheel Karlie Kloss) with absolutely no passive-aggressive tweets involved.
Hollywood is not a supportive place for actresses, singers or directors, or basically anyone who identifies as female. Sexism is still rampant, pay gaps are still very much present, and women in Hollywood are constantly harassed for their bodies, opinions and various personal expressions. But by flooding Instagram, Twitter, interviews and paparazzi shots with love, sisterhood and friendship, Swift and friends are helping make Hollywood a warmer, friendlier and more feminist place. They’re showing the world that they won’t perpetuate the toxic, negative stereotypes that have so long plagued women in the spotlight. Instead of seeing each other as competitors, they’re hitting gossip magazines where it hurts and showing the world loud and clear how much they love and support each other, one Indian food date at a time.
On tonight’s episode of “Not Purposely Trying to Recreate Music Videos, Just Going Out For Indian Food” @gigihadid @marhunt A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Let’s not forget Taylor’s #1 girls, Meredith and Olivia:
They’ve come a long way since the hourly cat fights of the past. A video posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on