Rowan Blanchard, 14: ‘Squad goals’ polarize people who are ‘not white, thin, tall’

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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. ”

[From Just Jared Jr.]

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.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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165 Responses to “Rowan Blanchard, 14: ‘Squad goals’ polarize people who are ‘not white, thin, tall’”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    What a smart young lady! So so happy when I see people her age speaking such good sense :)

    • Dtab says:

      I wish I was this smart and self-aware when I was 14….good for her :)

    • knower says:

      she’s smarter than a lot of people I know over 30, 40 and 50!

    • funcakes says:

      Smart young lady. While I was in highschool I was so jealous of the squads. When I receive invites to reunions I think,”I couldn’t stand you then. Why would I want to see you now?” I then proceed to throw them in the trash with a smile.
      Now as an adult I stay way from squads because:
      - they never last
      -they snipe about one another behind each others backs
      -they suck you into unnecessary perpetual drama
      - they bring bad karma

      • knower says:

        it’s seems to me a lot of people who want to go to those reunions hit their peak DURING high school.

        I see those people I knew then, all of us now in our late twenties. There are many sad cases, some former peers of mine willing to do anything to relive their best time, which unfortunately for them was their earliest :-/

      • AtlLady says:

        The only high school reunions to attend are 40 plus years when everyone is at or near age 60 or over and most really have no f***s left to give. You go simply for the party.

      • Sara says:

        My 10 year high school reunion was this year. I was valedictorian of my high school and was a considered an uncool geek. I always carried a lot of books with me andbI remember kids would slap books out of my hands in the hallways and laugh. I would stand up for myself and eventually they began to leave me alone. I was captain of my varsity tennis team for my sophomore year and junior year but didn’t return my senior year because the girls were always so mean to me. I loved tennis but I refused to deal with the disrespect and jealousy any longer. I didn’t even go to the senior awards ceremony where they announce college scholarship awards each senior received. I received more money than any other student. I was awarded over $30,000 per year for 4 years from the best private college in my state. I didn’t care to hear their phony congratulations so I skipped it. I was proud of myself and so were my true friends. So when I got my invitation for my 10 year reunion I pitched it. Maybe I will attend a reunion in like 40 years though. Everybody is older and wiser (hopefully).

      • kibbles says:

        Isn’t karma wonderful? I wasn’t the cool kid in high school, but I think I have the most exciting life out of all of my classmates. I went to one reunion, and found that the cliques still exist to a large extent because I went to a small high school. That’s why it saddens me to see young people who commit suicide or are effected so greatly by bullying and rejection from these squads. Life doesn’t end at high school. It’s just the beginning. The cool kids in high school don’t end up nearly as good looking or successful in a few decades compared to the nerds, artists, and people who seek to discover more outside of their local communities. There is a whole world out there with people much more interesting and successful in their lives to care about forming squads and alienating others.

    • ninal says:

      yes-lovely to hear a smart girl speaking her mind when you have thirty year olds like katy perry who are afraid to even identify with being a feminist. And the picture of her with the braids is adorable.

      • knower says:

        heck, when Meryl Streep is uncomfortable calling herself a feminist while promoting a movie about feminism, WE GOT A PROBLEM YO.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        YES Knower, it’s funny to me people are more comfortable with women who refuse to call themselves feminist but believe it’s all fake when a young girl is actually passionate about feminism. Screwed up world we live in.

    • Mike says:

      Good to know that there are young people this perceptive out there. She is absolutely right asl well (in my opinion)

    • Mary Mary says:

      With more discernment and analogy one would see and understand that the Swift squad is not all tall, and white.. The one thing the squad has in common: they are all strong, successful young women. Being, strong, successful and young should make anyone happy. So, what is wrong with a squad of strong successful young women being happy? I guess if you aren’t in the squad then you go negative and criticize for what you may lack within yourself. If you are confident, then why should this matter. If it does, then go start your own squad :)

      As for the squad being white: Gigi, is Palestinian, Selena Gomez is of Mexican descent, Zendaya is bi-racial, AA

      As for being thin: Lena Dunham is not tall and thin. Gigi and Selena have both been fat/body shamed and cyber bullied on social media. Gigi has been criticized for being too curvy and not pretty enough to be a super model. Selena has also stood up to the anonymous fat shaming she received. While there are always cruel criticisms aimed towards Taylor.

      The 14 year old is reaching and looking for her politically correct platform.

      Taylor isn’t selling exclusivity, she is selling success, being and striving to be the best you can be and stay positive, not politically correct, lessons the 14 year old could learn from.

      • LIsa says:

        Zendaya commented in an interview that she does not hang out with Taylor Swift. Although, she was in the Bad Blood video, at most Zendaya and Taylor are acquaintances.

      • TrustMOnThis says:

        Wow, that’s pretty mean. There are frequent mentions of Taylor dropping people from her “squad” and how exclusive and special it is. I think Rowan (who you dismissively refer to as “the 14 year old” because apparently you can’t be arsed to scroll up to get her name right) articulately makes some excellent points. Are you Taylor’s social media assistant or just a stan?

  2. COSquared says:

    There is hope for our children’s future, then. Too bad many teens out there follow that Jenner-Smith set.

  3. Falula says:

    Preach!

    I’m terrified for my future teenagers. I know every generation says that, but here I am.

    • Loopy says:

      Whatever happened to just plain old friendships and sisterhoods, this squad nonsense is just a new term for mean girls, disgusting.

      • Krista says:

        Here here. We need more Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and fewer squads.

      • Caz says:

        Yep. Cosign with Loopy, Krista & LaurenMac…too many people too quick to put labels on things and put things in “boxes”.

        There will always be mean girls, cliques and peer group pressure and a feeling of inadequacy when you’re a teen. It’s just that social media and the constant online media glare highlights everything x 1000%.

        I had to explain to my 14-year old daughter that the instragam posts are heavily edited and styled to look perfect. She also found it useful to be told that mean girls usually peak at high school. A perspective of life beyond high school is helpful to a lot of teens caught in moments of teen angst.

  4. Abbott says:

    I’m okay with just handing all decision making keys to Rowan, Amandla, and Kiernan. You ladies drive this ship. I’ll be over here eating frozen waffles bc I’m too lazy to toast them.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Seriously. In a world where Donald Trump has the adoration of the Republican Party and an uncomfortable amount of the population I need there to be girls just like this (both celeb and regular) to fight back, speak truth and come from a place of knowledge.

      Intelligence is the only way to fix many of our issues.

      • Dangles says:

        Trump’s role is to make the real right-wingers look like moderates. Can’t remember if it was Bill Maher or Jon Stewart who said it but over the last twenty years the centre has moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental institution.

    • I Choose Me says:

      +1

      Let’s not forget Zendaya. These young ladies are a breath of fresh air.

      • Loopy says:

        Yes Zendaya too, which makes it even more annoying that Taylor Swift to slither her way and bring Z to her silly squad.

      • Naya says:

        Taylor is so calculated, you just know that she decided she needed one “token black friend” and picked Zendaya out of a pile of head shots. Zendaya will probably have the most interesting revelations when Taylors reign finally comes to an end.

      • Nicole says:

        I was about to say Zendaya too. Best thing is I believe Amandla, Kiernan and Rowan are friends. Amandla and Kiernan have been friends for years now for sure. I’m here for this.
        And Rowan nailed the stupidity of squads. Super rich, tall, leggy models. My friend the other day suggested its taylor’s way of selling her lifestyle and getting back the high school experience she never had. Now she’s the “cool Queen Bee”

  5. Amelia says:

    She’s 14?! God, I wish I had a fraction of her poise when I was her age.
    #BlanchardStenberg2028

    • cannibell says:

      “#BlanchardSternberg2028″

      Word.

      • antipodean says:

        This girl is amazing, never mind feeling like this at 14, I can recall feeling excluded and not good enough or pretty enough to be in with the in crowd, or even worse being openly laughed at by the “plastics”, I can go back to that feeling in a minute, even at my grand old age. It is deeply unpleasant and excoriating to the psyche, and served to make me determined to never make others feel that way. I think for TS it shows a deep insecurity that she has to collect and dispense with “friends” as proof of some need she has that is not fulfilled by her apparent success. In a way she is a victim herself, not that it excuses her conduct. The trouble with this sort of pandering is that eventually you have to be able to face yourself in the mirror, and people soon get wise to your modus operandi, and the tide turns against you big time.
        I agree with the poster above, I would rather saw off my right arm than ever attend a reunion of any sort. I am a great believer in onwards and upwards, and never look back.

  6. SloaneY says:

    I’m so confused. I guess I don’t get the “squad” thing? This is Taylor Swifts group of friends? I didn’t realize she was supposed to be promoting feminism and friendship? I guess I always thought she just collected people to take pretty pictures with for awhile and then discarded them when the new it girl cam along and did the whole thing over again.

    Is this the same thing as “cliques”? But because they’re famous they’re supposed to be politically correct?

    I’m so old.

    • MonicaQ says:

      Yes, pretty much “squad” = “cliques”. But “cliques” sounded too “mean girly” so the hashtag #squadgoals was born on instagram. It’s kinda like “on fleek” just means “on point” but the new generation had to make up a new word.

      Source: 21 year old brother because I’m 30 and too old for squads.

    • Jegede says:

      @SloaneY

      I don’t own any Swift songs, streamed or hardcopy, and have never been to her concerts or anything. She means as much to me as well……………….. nada.

      So I did not realise Taylor Swift was this important in socio cultural debate.
      She appears to be name checked as a reference point to a level I find baffling.

      Maybe cause I’m a Brit, so there was no High School expereice per se.
      But coupling this with Camille Paglia recently calling Taylor a ‘blonde fascist’ (Frau Swift??); and it seems some folks were tormented by blonde long legged cheerleaders in HS see some flashback in Swift, and project.

      Or is it that serious? Is tokenism any better?

      • Aarika says:

        I think the mainstream media keep referencing Taylor when they talk about “squad” because they think she invented it which is not true. People in rap/hip hop circles have been using it forever. It just took a major white celebrity like Taylor to bring “squad” into popular culture, so now every time the word is mentioned people see her.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        I think it goes a bit both ways.

        She is the archetype of a lot of people’s frustration, conversely she also seems to fit the stereotype of the mean blonde cheerleader we all recognize.

        I do think there’s something there though. When you have someone like Jared Leto (adult man in a totally different genre) basically suing and apologizing to her for TMZ releasing a tape of him saying he doesn’t give a shit about her then something is there.

        She seems to be held up in and BY the media as this perfect representation of being a girl and many people disagree and see a negativity to it.

      • Tapioca says:

        No. Tokenism is not any better. Pulling people into your social circle merely so you can USE THEM to say, “Look at my black/asian/muslim/fat/disabled/gay friends!! Aren’t I so perfectly inclusive?!” is as unpleasant as excluding them because they’re black/asian/muslim/fat/disabled/gay.

        If you and your friends are all thin white pretty girls than that’s perfectly OK. As long as you’re friends for the right reasons.

      • Kitten says:

        ITA Jegede.

        I also agree with Rowan’s observations that the media painting feminism as a bunch of pretty white chicks holding hands is incredibly frustrating for those of us who care about bringing intersectionality to the forefront of the conversation.

        Taylor’s an easy target because she’s brought a lot of it on herself with her pick-and-choose feminism. That being said, it’s getting really old. Juvenile terms like “mean girl” and “squad” just detract from the underlying issues. It’s such a superficial, hollow manifestation of a deeper problem. I wish we could spend less time worrying about how “mean” some pop star is and more time focusing on rehabbing feminism–that is to say, making it more inclusive.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “I wish we could spend less time worrying about how “mean” some pop star is and more time focusing on rehabbing feminism–that is to say, making it more inclusive”

        Yes!

      • Wren says:

        Haven’t the media always done this, though? Held up some leggy blond or group of leggy blonds as the ideal of whatever? I don’t see Taylor Swift as any different, she’s just the current incarnation to fit the current buzzwords.

      • Misti64 says:

        @Jegede, @Tapoica
        Agree completely. Tokenism for the sake of tokenism is NO better. Rowan, go find your own friends and stop concerning yourself with Taylor Swift’s life and choices.

      • teacakes says:

        I find it interesting that Taylor Swift is regarded as such an article of faith that people attack public figures of any age, from 14 (Rowan) to 44 (Jared Leto) for comments indicating they don’t care for her as a performer or as a public persona.

        Granted, Rowan is 14 and smack in the middle of the demographic Swifty caters to so she can’t even be dismissed as being ‘old and out of touch’. So commenters settle for couching their “leave Taylor alone!” comments as ‘go get your own friends, why are you bothered about a pop star.’ I don’t see why people want to go out of the way to dismiss the opinions of an actual teenage girl who’s politely critiquing the machinations of a pop star’s image making/PR and the effect it has on the young fans Swifty projects it to via her social media.

  7. InvaderTak says:

    Cynics take: that was a bit too well worded. Not saying she’s not smart or doesn’t have good things to say, just that that is a bit much for a 14 year old to have come up with.

      • Junior says:

        Yes, I think it was ‘polished’ by a pro, as was her previous statement on Intersectional Feminism in August. I find it interesting that we all applaud when a young person makes highly sophisticated political pronouncements we agree with, but we’d say she was being manipulated by adults if she was equally articulate about something we found offensive.

      • Tig says:

        Ooh- I want to be on your squad! I concur with the skepticism. C’mon- she’s 14! Next week she’ll have her own squad, bec 14 yr olds change constantly- they are supposed to! And, good Lord Camille P- high school was a long time ago for you- try getting over it! #allblondsnotbad!😃

      • SloaneY says:

        I think so too. The first sentence sounded like something a 14 year old would say, but not the rest. It’s also very click baity. All the right words.

      • teacakes says:

        I’m not surprised Tswift’s fans would want to put down this young woman by suggesting her statement is too articulate to have come from a 14-year-old. Anything to discredit her for going up against Glitter Princess Taylor Swift, I guess…. even if she is barely over half Taylor’s age.

        And to those of you who think 14-year-olds can’t be articulate about complex ideas or feminism, I suppose you’ve never heard of Tavi Gevinson (who at 14, called out fashion’s pet perv Terry Richardson for his degrading treatment of women – this was five years ago, btw).

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      Agreed. It’s a lovely statement, but I find it very hard to believe all those words are her own.

    • OhDear says:

      I think you’re underestimating people her age – she may have had her drafts edited, but there are a lot of very well-spoken/written whippersnappers out there.

      • Kitten says:

        I was a pretty solid writer at that age so I can believe she wrote that. I wouldn’t have been able to verbally articulate it, though.
        It’s often easier to express yourself through writing, where you can go back and edit, etc.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        I had to write a page long letter to a friend explaining the history of racism (very briefly) and why her use of a racial slur jokingly wasn’t cute, so yeah…it’s not really impossible to be well versed at 14. Especially when you read a lot.

      • Erinn says:

        Agreed – In 8th grade I had a teacher try to tell me I had obviously ripped my writing off from someone else. Hauled me up to her desk and put me on the spot “What does this word mean?” “Can you make another sentence using similar words that’s this descriptive?”. It was humiliating, really. I felt like I was being punished for being more articulate, and being able to paint a better picture than my peers. As if it was impossible for me to have come up with the wording on my own.

      • Wren says:

        No kidding. I doubt she said this off the cuff, but unless proven otherwise, I believe it’s her own thoughts. I’m guessing there were a few drafts and outside reviewing involved, but that doesn’t make it someone else’s words.

        I can’t tell you the side-eye I got from English teachers over some of my essays. Like I, a teenager, couldn’t possibly know some of these words, structure a sentence like an adult, or have an insightful opinion on, well, anything. Like Erinn, I was hauled over the coals a few times and made to explain some of my work as if I couldn’t possibly have written it.

      • teacakes says:

        The most prominent example in recent years is Tavi Gevinson, who was 12 when her blog got profiled in the New York Times and subsequently had a ton of people suspecting she had a ghostwriter because there was no way a kid could be this intelligent or articulate (spoiler: she didn’t. Her family didn’t even know she had a blog).

        It’s very easy to believe that a 14-year-old who’s spent some time on the internet, particularly on feminist sites, could actually write this on her own. People who insist otherwise seem to be pretty transparently trying to put her down for going against Swifty (however benignly) and for daring to be young (so she can’t even be dismissed as some jealous old coot in envy of the #squadgoals) and articulate about it. Sorry people but your princess isn’t that precious. A 14 year old girl has something to say about how fake her public persona looks, it might be worthwhile to take a moment and reflect on that.

    • SnarkySnarkers says:

      @Junior Exactly what I was thinking. Why is it we think the only things that can be faked are associated with the negative? The Kardashians ect. Lets not forget this young lady works for Disney who loves to craft picture perfect identities. I have a hard time believing she is so eloquent at 14. Also, do people really have f*cks to give about “squad goals”? Like are people really crying themselves to sleep over this ridiculousness? I never associated squad with white and thin but then again Im 35 and associate it with young and stupid.

      • Elisa the I. says:

        WORD.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Well Taylor Swift’s fan base is 9-13 year olds so yes 14 year olds do worry about her impact on their generation. We as adults don’t. But these young preteens to teens get Taylor Swift stuck into their faces by parents and schools who think Taor is a “good role model”.

        Us WOC pick up at around age 12 that we are different and treated different. We have Oscar winning actresses and the news media telling us that the girls who matter are the cute white kids. So you bet we have conversations about race and the Taylor Swifts of this world that we are supposed to look up to.

        I don’t find her assessment of the situation too advanced for a 14 year old young woman of color. In fact there was also a White teen girl from one of the same TV shows who blogged about this same thing (intersectional feminism), in a similar intelligent way. This is a concern of their generation .

      • WinnieCoopersMom says:

        True. Anyone who thinks she came out with this on her own is just naive. We all know how Disney controls their little stars and what comes out of their mouths. It’s a branded message and they use these kids to spread it. Think of the thousands of publicists who work for Disney, I’m sure one is assigned just to her. Maybe she believes it or maybe she is brainwashed, but having a 14 year old speak on political and social discourse to this extent is manipulative. I’m not saying this is a bad message to get out, that’s not really the point. The point is, adult language and messaging over something so complicated is being put out through children and I have an ethical issue with that.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        @ Original TC

        You bring up something I was thinking of recently. From a very young age both Amandla and the young woman who played Annie were told by society in general that despite all the preaching of equality and fair roles that when they were given blind casting for roles as WOC that their talent, work ethic, and success didn’t matter. That they were simply the wrong color full stop.

        When you get that message at a very young age it changes you, makes you more mature and leads you to an awareness many other children don’t have. I think for many suggesting that Rowan’s words couldn’t possibly be her own they don’t realize not all 14 yr olds live in a bubble of ignorance and Instagram. Rowan is friends with these girls and works in the same industry that marginalized these women. It is kinda funny that a young white woman saying something meaningful is accused of being a puppet (cause duh, obviously why would she care about intereectional feminism or poc?).

      • jj says:

        For why would Disney be involved in this? Taylor did almost all of her television publicity for 1989 on ABC, a Disney company.

    • M.A.F. says:

      Not that this makes me an expert but I’m a teacher who is surrounded by teenagers all day. And her statement is on par with some teenagers. It’s a small fraction compare to the rest of the class but there are those who are aware of the world, who think outside the box, and can form complex thoughts and sentences. Again, it is a very small fraction.

    • Iknowwhatboyslike says:

      I can’t speak for Rowan, but I have come in contact with a lot of young people – even as young as 14 – who can articulate and formulate much more complex thoughts than most adults. Some kids are just smart. They are well read, and their brains move at a more faster pace than kids their age. Of course, Rowan isn’t the norm for kids her age. But her thoughts shouldn’t raise skeptism because of her age. I think Rowan’s parents most likely took her education very seriously and opened up a world to her that was less about Katy Perry concerts and lip gloss and more about raising a conscientious and intellecutually curious young lady.

    • CornyBlue says:

      It can very much be her thoughts. Kids are getting smarter and more aware.

    • vespernite says:

      I completely thought this statement was too polished as well. I am the mother of a very intelligent, self-aware 14 year old girl and yet I don’t believe she could be this eloquent on any subject. LOL!

      I have also seen Rowan’s Instagram page (my daughter showed me) and the girl is clearly struggling with fame and being a teen in general. And most of her comments and photos lately are dark and troubling. But vague and not as fancy as what is posted above, so I’m not buying that this is a verbatim quote from her.

    • Denise says:

      I believe she wrote it because she used the word ‘literally’.

  8. Mia says:

    Hmm, I don’t feel that way at all and I am not tall, thin or white.
    Why not create your own squad goals? Must we always look to popular media to tell us what is “cool” or aspirational? The media will always hype up mediocre WW because they are invested in keeping the status quo.

    • Junior says:

      Great idea. There are many types of squads – or, as they used to be called back in the day, posses. She should make her own squad with girls of many shapes and colors, and maybe add some guys or non-binary types as well. And the media is less interested in keeping up the status quo than in generating clicks and making money. As the population becomes more diverse, we’ll have more young POC celebs for girls of all colors to look up to. Zendaya and Selena Gomez are just the start.

    • SloaneY says:

      It’s like I tell my son: be friends with the kids that are nice to you. Like who you like and don’t bother with the kids who are mean to you or pick on you. (He’s 7 so it’s a little watered down, obv)

    • Pandy says:

      I think there’s too much being made of Taylor’s “squad”. Why does it have to hit every demographic/trend? It’s just pictures and it’s her life. Her life just happens to contain models. My squad is menopausal bitches. We all have gray roots and a bitchy, didn’t-sleep-last-night look in our pictures.

      And ultimately, who really cares??

      • Original T.C. says:

        @Pandy

        This article is from ” Just Jared JUNIOR” which is for teens. So ultimately THEY care. Just like adult women care about too thin actresses, Jen Law playing older women etc. Teen girls would equal say who cares? JLAW is great and can play anyone!

      • Pandy says:

        @OriginalTC – my point is that it’s Taylor’s life and friendships – so who gets to say how she lives it? Do your own thing, have your own “squad”.

      • teacakes says:

        It’s “just” pictures and it’s “just” her life, the same way that the endless pap pics of her with assorted boyfriends that she proceeded to write blind item songs about, were “just” her love life. i.e. that’s what she wants you to believe, and it looks like you do.

        Much easier to believe that than deal with the idea that the paparazzi photos are staged and the instagramming of #squads and whatnot is a concerted effort to project a certain image, which she uses as part of her public persona to sell her music.

      • Kitten says:

        @Teacakes-Or maybe it’s a little bit of both? She works in the industry so she’s going to have friends in the industry, KWIM? That’s not any different than any other celeb. Same thing with her image–most celebs have a manufactured image, most engage in social media posturing and most use the paps for when it suits them.

        I can’t fault her for that because ultimately it’s up to the consumer to be more scrupulous. If someone wants to buy into The Swifty Image, then that’s on them.

      • Original T.C. says:

        ” my point is that it’s Taylor’s life and friendships – so who gets to say how she lives it? Do your own thing, have your own “squad”.”

        I’m sure this young lady has her own girl squad and I think you might be missing both her’s and my point. Taylor’s girl squad is used during her concert performances and in her videos, she is advertising to 9-13 year olds with her girl squards whom she mixes with her “real life”. So 9-13+ year old girls have every right to express their thoughts about this advertising of the “ideal” girl squard that looks nothing like them but is being marketed at them.

        Same reason grown women bitch about skinny models and girls in their teens being passed off as the way women in their 30-40′s should look. That complaint happens every single day on celebrity but have a POC talk about her feelings and it’s who cares? That’s all I’m saying. But perhaps people really don’t get it but I do because I was there at age 13 feeling insecure about myself because of media influences.

    • moo moo says:

      yup, same here.

    • WinnieCoopersMom says:

      That’s my takeaway here. Squad = friend group. Nothing more. I actually think this is someone trying to make something out of nothing. Ironic, as seeing how she was trying to come across as so mature, but it reads as a bit petty IMO. I guess I keep forgetting we live in a PC world now where every word or phrase will offend someone out there when it wasn’t even intended. I’ll just add this girl to the “PC Squad of Hollywood” along with Zendaya.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Ooh the ultimate burn, calling someone PC, damn you Rowan and Zendaya you’re supposed to be taking pictures of your butt and twerking for you to be liked!

  9. Louise177 says:

    I’m surprised that more people don’t see squads and Taylor Swift as being exclusive. Squad is just a a nice way of saying clique. Although Taylor has a nice image, to me she gives off the feeling of superiority.

  10. Naddie says:

    So the world still has hope. 14 years old and thinking/speaking like that, she’ll be an amazing woman. While I wasn’t stupid at all at her age, I wasn’t so mature either. Even if it’s just a media strike, the message itself is good.

  11. Nev says:

    Zendaya should be on the list too!!

  12. Ohreallynow says:

    Taylor Swift is tall so she prob wants a tall squad anyways so she’s not always the tallest one lol but seriously

  13. MonicaQ says:

    I didn’t know the hash tag had Swifty connotations because on my insta, all I see is happy people at music festivals with #squadgoals at the bottom. Ah well. Good on her (Blanchard) for speaking so well for any age.

  14. Saphana says:

    yep there is no feminism anywhere near Taylor Swift, she is a big advocate for Taylorism though.

  15. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Tbph Taylor Swift’s squad reminds me of a Barbie Box Set of Friends. Different variations of the same tall thin model with one minority friend and one less than perfect friend thrown in.

    Literally just one.

    POC for the squad quota has been filled.

  16. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    I think when we look at ‘squads’ and ‘squad goals’ we have to realize the same way Taylor Swift capitalized and monetized past relationships for the sake of revenge songs is the same way she did her ‘friendships’.

    Hollywood is filled with women and yet other than Taylor I can’t recall anyone pushing the images of their friends (not their identities and their specific talents, just their images) as hard as her. It’s all “Look At Us, but mostly ME”

    I honestly think a lot of those women approached their friendship with her in a normal context, but after the 10th time appearing like her traveling band of roving models some of them got sick of the fakeness and dropped out. Similar to how she had plenty of normal looking friends (Lourde, Lena) who seemed to vanish as she attained more and more models.

    It’s intriguing to me how much of Taylor’s career is just image. The right image, the perfect image, but that’s it. Even her songs don’t really have an identity to them and her way of singing is just mundane.

    • I Choose Me says:

      No lies detected here. I like one or two of her songs so I went on Youtube one day and clicked on a bunch of videos just to see what else she had and after a while I realised it’s all beans, you know. Her singing/song writing is so superficial. Scratch the surface and there’s nothing meaningful there. I couldn’t find even one song that resonated with me on a deeper level. And yet, I get why she’s popular. It’s like you say, she is the epitome of a real life Barbie with her carefully crafted, aspirational life.

    • teacakes says:

      Preach.

    • jj says:

      So true. Aside from Karlie Kloss, I don’t see friendship when I see Taylor’s “squad”, I see recent acquisitions. These are models who travel around the world as part of their job so I don’t believe she has some deep sisterhood bond with any of them. It’s all image.

  17. ell says:

    well, to be fair to taylor, she’s also friends with lena dunham…

    ok, just joking. honestly, i get what she’s saying, and i do think taylor took the whole squad thing to annoying levels. but i like her attitude in being assertive, confident and positive so there’s some good to take from that as well.

  18. Neelyo says:

    Uh oh, you in danger gurl. I don’t think Disney likes their gaggle of tween stars to think too much.

  19. Lucy says:

    Girl, YOU are goals!!!

  20. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Meh, there will always be a group of pretty, tall, thin white girls hanging out with the same. It never represented inclusiveness and/or feminism and it never will. The trick is not to discredit the group itself – they mean nothing. The trick is to find your own true friends and your authentic self and not worry about what other people are doing.

    • Kitten says:

      Well-said, my friend.

    • SloaneY says:

      +10000000

    • Elisa the I. says:

      ITA, I wish I could upvote your comment!
      And Rowan Blanchard is doing exactly what she is accusing Taylor Swift of: polarizing. This us against them mentality is just ugh.
      And I personally don’t know anybody who is “white, thin, tall and always happy.” Cliché galore. Who the f*** is always happy? Is she not aware that this is just TSwift’s public image and not her real authentic self? C`mon.

      • WinnieCoopersMom says:

        “And Rowan Blanchard is doing exactly what she is accusing Taylor Swift of: polarizing. This us against them mentality is just ugh.” AMEN

      • Hannah says:

        @Kitten, gnat
        you are grown women and you think like grown women.
        It’s easy to say just find your own friends,shrug, it’s not a big deal if you don’t fit etc, in when you are 25- 35 or 45. This is knowledge that comes with maturity. This isn’t something you necessarily know at 14. The kids who follow Taylor and her supermodel friends are not 35 or 45, they are 12-14. That is an impressionable age.

        Elisa and Winnie

        She’s not polarising.She’s trying to lend a voice to the kids who don’t fit in. It’s important to have different role models for kids.

    • Keaton says:

      I completely agree with this :)

    • I Choose Me says:

      Amen!

  21. lucy2 says:

    “Plus, Taylor’s version of “feminism” is really just “don’t say anything mean about Taylor Swift.”
    Nailed it. I was glad when she stepped away from being all about a boyfriend and talked about female friendships, but there’s something very false and opportunistic about the way she does it.

    This “squad” stuff sounds dumb, I am SOOOO glad I’m not a teenager in this day and age, but I’m also so glad there’s smart young women like Rowan out there speaking up.

  22. Nancy says:

    *drops mic

  23. Sochan says:

    I don’t care for her generalizations, and I don’t care to be lectured to by a 14-year old.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      ? Someone speaking shouldn’t come across as lecturing to you unless you feel you’re guilty of something she discusses.

    • FingerBinger says:

      She’s only lecturing you if you’re a white thin tall pop star that collects friends. If that doesn’t describe you then she isn’t talking about you.

  24. Megan says:

    I’m amazed by all the people that swallow this from another Disney kid. I’m so sure that all these little girls are coming up with this on their own. It’s because this type
    of *feminism* is what’s popular at the moment. Disney and the same type corporations pay attention and make their products (because that’s what these kids are to them, products) built to sell.

    And just to edit: I can’t stand the likes of Taylor Swift/kardashians. I just don’t buy this either. There’s a middle ground where true feminism lays that gets ignored in the shuffle to dominate and be heard.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      …I gotta say I really doubt Disney is going, “Hmm you know what’s super smart, we’re going to have one of the stars of our show criticize one of the biggest names in the media and the epitome of ‘feminism’ as it’s currently being marketed. We’re going to make a ton of dollars from that right?”

      I just want someone to explain how this conspiracy theory actually benefits Disney when Taylor’s fans are Rowan’s target audience and could blacklist her show in anger.

      • Megan says:

        Look at the show she’s on and the content, written by adults and for the Disney channel. It’s not a conspiracy theory to go by past behavior for a nasty company that wants to save face. They’ll have their popular Britney style performers, just as they’ll have their more tumblr-esque social media style ones. It’s whatever sells.

        Disney is more than aware what their actors are saying as they are hired mouth pieces. Look at how much Disney has controlled their child actors in the past. I highly doubt anything is different today. I think it’s wise to side eye anything from those type corporations.

      • SloaneY says:

        I think you underestimate the mouse. They can be very, very scary.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        But what is the financial incentive?

        Why risk getting a show they’ve already poured millions into blacklisted by the very same crowd that they need to watch it?

        I think it’s easier to think of everything being monitored when stars didn’t have social media and their message was delivered via PR if Disney is really signing off on every tweet and post calling out the very people they need money from then I’m guessing they’re no longer in it for profit.

      • WinnieCoopersMom says:

        Megan – I am just reading your comments, and said something above with the similar sentiment. THANK YOU! These kids are Disney puppets and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one on here who realizes this reality. Disney wouldn’t allow her to just freely speak her mind to a media outlet! Are you kidding?

      • Farhi says:

        Good points, this message had to be approved by Disney.
        Disney is completely in control of their young stars public image. Just last week there was a post on here about Stellan S. and the Disney’s morality clause.

    • Lisa says:

      Er… You do know that 13 year olds can read, and have access to a wealth of information online? This stuff might have gone over my head at her age, but if I’d had the exposure to it that today’s teens do, I might have had a different understanding of it. Feminism isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s not fair to automatically discredit someone because they’re young.

  25. OhDear says:

    Good on her. Given that the interview was to JustJared Jr., her message was likely meant for a younger audience who are still figuring out their place in the world and how societal influences factor into their perceptions of it. She seems like she has a good head on her shoulders, which should serve her well if she continues in the industry.

    I’m surprised at some of the more cynical comments on here, considering other people who have talked about feminism were for the most part thought of as genuine,nearly to the point of being uncriticizable (save for the celebrities that people dislike).

  26. PennyLane says:

    Sigh. I’m not sure the blonde part matters quite as much nowadays unless you are a white Southern Republican like Swifty. The real discrimination happens towards girls who are not tall and thin regardless of complexion. If you are tall, long-limbed, long-haired, and pretty that is more important than the melanin. [Source: my stepdaughter turns 13 next month, and the cliques at her private school are vicious.] :-(

    • Farhi says:

      Mean girls culture is bad. I also have a teenage daughter. But I would say the cliques in school are not limited to thin and tall girls. My daughter is thin and tall and she is usually on the receiving end. The cliques are by groups based on popularity, race and interests (sports, cheerleading, church etc.).

      Having said that, I notice a lot of mean girls traits on CB as well.
      I don’t mean you Penny, just a general observation.
      I think online and social media enables this kind of behavior. And people get so used to being snippy and critical online they then carry it over to the real life.

    • PennyLane says:

      Sorry to hear about your daughter. I think you might be right about online communication styles leaking into social life, especially for middle schoolers. It’s one thing to read about how youngsters nowadays have less empathy than kids did 30 years ago and quite another to see it play out in actions between students. I can’t say for sure but it seems worse than when I was a kid, and it was bad then!!

  27. Lisa says:

    She’s so right. Also, as a white woman, I’m tired of seeing white women use that term.

  28. Farhi says:

    What is feminism, though? People who can’t speak clearly and instead use big words and have circular speech patterns usually don’t know what they are talking about.

    All I got is that feminism is complex but it is not for white, thin, tall girls, of which I am one. I am not always happy but I always smile, when I meet people. This is a part of American culture.
    I noticed she is smiling in the picture too.

    • Lisa says:

      That’s not what she’s saying. She’s saying that a POC or black artist could use the term #squadgoals and it probably wouldn’t make the news, but suddenly, Taylor Swift calls her friend group a squad, and she’s an inspiration? I don’t get it myself, as a white girl.

      I think what Rowan says goes deeper into the weird cult of celebrity, which is exclusionary enough, and is even narrower through T Swift’s lens. What about her non-famous friends? People she’s known for years? Are they part of her squad, or or is it just the ‘acceptable’ ones? (ie thin, tall, white, with a few light dark-skinned girls thrown in to protect against accusations of racism).

      • Farhi says:

        The girls who hang out with Swift all seem to be a part of entertainment and modeling establishment. I think they are already self selecting by that fact alone.
        How many non-white non-thin models are out there? The same for actresses and most other entertainers.
        This is what audiences pay money to see and this is what Swift gives them.

        Swift could make an effort to mentor a POC singer but would a starting POC singer gravitate towards Swift or somebody else?

      • WinnieCoopersMom says:

        “Swift could make an effort to mentor a POC singer..”

        So she now has to change who her friends are in order to adapt to the political correct landscape of pop culture? This is getting ridiculous. No one has suggested to Beyonce that she should mentor an up and coming white artist, wouldnt that be absurd? Taylor is friends with Zendaya, a POC. She is friends with Selena Gomez, a POC. I am not a Taylor defender by any means but Wow people are finding every little reason to pick her apart over something really trivial. News flash – most people have friends who look like them.

  29. gene323 says:

    Honestly- I rarely associate the term “squad goals” with Swifty. I’m in college and the time people use #SquadGoals is either for pictures of their individual friends (regardless of race/height/gender etc) and animal photos. It is very commonly used with funny pictures of sleepy puppies in PJs or something like that.

    I do hate the concept of #goals because its rarely used for realistic things. The #RelationshipGoals pisses me off to no end because most of the photos it is used on are fake and you should NEVER compare your relationship with other relationships. That’s just unhealthy

    • Zaid says:

      This. I often see it like a joke or meme. Like theres a picture of the power rangers in front of an explosion and people go ‘the squad and i after partying’ or something like that.

    • SloaneY says:

      I still really don’t understand. If a squad is your group of friends, what does that have to do with animals?
      And if #squadgoals are what you aspire to (?), are you aspiring to be a puppy in pajamas?

      #soconfused

  30. Zaid says:

    Yeah.. I never saw ‘squad goals’ like a tall, thin, and blond thing. I think media saw teens like to refer to their group of friends as squad these days and used that word to describe Swifty. But squad was always your tight group of friends.

  31. TJ says:

    It’s not a crime to be white, tall, and thin. You shouldn’t body shame anyone.

  32. lila fowler says:

    I really don’t think that the Taylor Swift squad thing is THAT serious. TayTay just likes to collect cool people and show them off. How is she promoting (or not promoting) feminism? It’s a little silly to see how people react to literally everything that she does, calling her a Nazi and whatnot. And I’m not even a Swift fan but this is hyperbolic.

  33. Embee says:

    I am concerned with the media’s portrayal of Taylor as the model of feminism that they subsequently tear down. That smacks of patriarchy to me.

    And yes, Taylor self-identifies as feminist, a fact for which I thank her, as a feminist and a mother to a young girl who likes her music. I am more concerned with the monitoring of Taylor’s performance of feminism by women. Actually, by everybody.

    Do we see men/the media complaining they about male groups of friends (recalling the Lance Armstrong, Jake Gyllenhal and somebody else deal), the Leo DiCaprio Pu$$y Posse? No, this harsh criticism of friendship is reserved for a successful young woman who dares identify as feminist. And it smacks of patriarchal propaganda, especially when voiced by a very young Disney mouthpiece.

    • Hannah says:

      It’s the elitism people critise. It’s non inclusive. It’s no better than the girl squad in mean girls. Feminism is suppose to be inclusive.

    • Original T.C. says:

      “a mother to a young girl who likes her music. I am more concerned with the monitoring of Taylor’s performance of feminism by women. And it smacks of patriarchal propaganda, especially when voiced by a very young Disney mouthpiece.”

      Well women “monitor Taylor’s performance of feminism” because it’s not actual feminism. And it’s interesting how you want to invalidate a 14 year old girl’s intelligent commentary regarding an issue that affects her age, the same age-group that is Taylor’s fanbase, to defend a 26 year old pop star.

      Additionally most likely when your child outgrows Taylor’s music she too will be critiquing her just like this 14 year old. Once you are old enough to see through her manipulation, you don’t go back.

      Mothers like to support Taylor because she doesn’t display sexuality so she’s a seen as a good role-model. Reality hits young teenage girls and they do eventually come to see that sex is a normal human need just like hugs, eating and pooping. It’s fascinating that those who support Taylor’s feminism fight so hard against the ideal that women just like men are sexual beings.

      • teacakes says:

        You’ve been on fire all through these comments, THANK YOU.

        I can’t believe how uncritical we’re expected to be when it comes to Taylor Swift – seriously, what about her is so untouchable?

        We have no problems dragging other women for fakery, real and imagined – George Clooney’s wife gets raked over the coals in every single post about her for doing nothing more than smile at the paps and get some fancy dresses, but we’re expected to buy that this blonde paparazzi-staging instagram chick with her conveniently famous “squad” is all authentic and should be above criticism for promoting feminism as all about Who Supports Taylor? BS.

  34. Myst says:

    Gorgeous on the inside and out.

  35. Jane says:

    As a teacher, I would be honored to have this young lady in my classroom.

  36. Anna says:

    “… teenagers who are thinking for themselves and really engaged in issues larger than “getting likes on Instagram.”

    YES. The world needs more of those. Not the Kardashian/Jenner trash.

  37. Danskins says:

    Rowan seems to be a very smart girl with lots of insightful thoughts. And I’m sure she has her own “squad” but of course the media is too busy focusing on showcasing Taylor’s instead so that’s all we tend to see, which I think was part of Rowan’s point.

    It’s not fair but that’s pop culture for ya and the marginalization of POC and their valid opinions playing out right before us.

  38. Mltpsych says:

    Been following her on IG for about 6 months as my daughter watches her show. Same as with Zendaya, when my kid likes these girls I want to find out what they are about. Rowan is truly an inspiring young woman.

  39. mkyarwood says:

    I think she is the true reincarnation of Audrey Hepburn. We named our eldest Rowan, back when we liked it from the Anne Rice series, but she’s pretty sure she’s named for Ms. Blanchard ;)

  40. Erica_V says:

    I see people of all sexes, sizes, races, etc using #squadgoals on IG. To say its only “white, tall, thin” women is ridiculous.

  41. kibbles says:

    Rowan is a real life Topanga (her mother on Girl Meets World). I was a fan of Boy Meets World, so I have followed this new spinoff and Rowan a little bit. She seems very mature (in a good way) and well spoken. I believe these are her own words and I believe she will speak out more on feminism and women’s rights as she grows older. She really seems to be one of the few child actors who has her head in the right place and is quite intellectual. I believe she will do well long after her show ends regardless of whether she wants to continue acting or do other things with her life.

  42. Denise says:

    Re: the authenticity of Taylor’s squad. Remember Lena Dunham commenting how she would never stand up there with the rest of the girls again because she felt so conspicuous and uncomfortable? She knew what it was and didn’t want to be the token fat friend. She wasn’t overwhelmed with the sisterly spirit. It was a photo op and everyone there knows it. Why are grown women not seeing this and instead criticising an insightful and brave 14 year old?

  43. shannon says:

    I don’t get the big deal. Most of my friends have a lot in common as well, because I meet them as we’re pursuing similar interests/career goals etc. So what? The only dumb thing I see about it is calling them “squads” lol but I guess that’s the new thing. I just call my squad my friends

    • kibbles says:

      A squad or clique is exclusive and implies that certain outsiders are excluded from joining because they don’t fit in. Of course, we all have our own circle of friends and there is nothing wrong with that. But, I don’t get together with my friends with the mindset that someone else who doesn’t look the same as I is excluded. Maybe I’m abnormal, but anyone who is nice to me can be my friend. I have friends from all over the world from different cultures, different personalities, different body types and careers.

  44. Hjf says:

    To anyone doubting what she is saying:
    the white racial frame by joe feagin

    Great read, very eye opening, highly recommend.

  45. Gretchen says:

    Her publicist writes well.