Whenever I worry about the state of today’s culture, especially for the young ones, I do find a handful of great examples of teenagers who are thinking for themselves and really engaged in issues larger than “getting likes on Instagram.” Kiernan Shipka never fails to impress me. Amandla Stenberg is amazing. And now Rowan Blanchard, the 14-year-old star of the Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World, is my new spirit animal. Rowan has been acting for years, and she’s also been spending more of her time speaking out on issues that are important to her, like feminism, gun control and human rights. Rowan sat down with Just Jared Jr. for an exclusive interview, and she said one of the most amazing things about the stupidity of exclusive “squad goals.”
“Of course female friendship is a beautiful thing. It’s insanely powerful. Sisterhood is something so valid and important when you are growing up that I literally think the essence of it should be taught in schools. But, the ‘squads’ we see in the media are very polarizing. Feminism and friendship are supposed to be inclusive, and most of these ‘squads’ are strictly exclusive. It makes feminism look very one dimensional. Feminism is so multilayered and complex that it can be frustrating when the media and the celebrities involved in it make feminism and “squads” feel like this very happy, exclusive, perfect thing. There’s so much more than that. ‘Squad goals’ can polarize anyone who is not white, thin, tall and always happy. ”
I can’t believe this young lady is only 14! SHE IS AMAZING. I wish I was this eloquent and thoughtful when I was 14. I kind of wish I was this eloquent now. And she’s absolutely right – there’s something unnerving to see someone like Taylor Swift pushing her “squad” of mostly identical-looking, tall, beautiful, happy models and that’s supposed to represent the complexity of female friendship and feminism? Someone like Taylor is not really selling friendship or feminism, and Rowan has put her finger on that exact point: Taylor is selling exclusivity. She’s selling aspiration-as-friendship. Plus, Taylor’s version of “feminism” is really just “don’t say anything mean about Taylor Swift.” I’m glad that at least one 14-year-old girl has seen through that.
Photos courtesy of WENN.