Why Taylor Swift's Squad Is Baloney

Taylor Swift's squad of friends is infamous. It's part of her brand. And it's probably fake. Why? Aside from obviously being part of the singer's carefully calculated image, here's why the posse seems put-on to us (and to a lot of other people).

They're all rich and famous (but not as rich or famous as Swift)

In 2015, Swift and her squad earned a combined total of more than $120 million. The Daily Mail reports that Swift pocketed $80 million in 2015, while her squad members didn't struggle to pay rent either: Cara Delevingne made $9 million, Martha Hunt (who?) made $2 million, Karlie Kloss took home $5 million, and Gigi Hadid earned $2.5 million. Satellite squad member Kendall Jenner, with whom Swift has only been seen once or twice, made $4 million of her own money, not including whatever she inherits from the Kardashian family empire. Swift's Disney-starlet-gone-rogue BFF Selena Gomez earned about $7 million. Girls creator Lena Dunham is worth a cool $12 million.

What all these women have in common is beauty, a lot of Instagram followers, and a ton of money. However, none of them come close to eclipsing Swift's notoriety, which is why it's Swift's squad. Like pop rival Katy Perry implied, Swift is the Regina George of her particular group of plastics. You never see her hometown besties hanging around with her Hollywood pals, because they're probably not actually friends.

Some members only ever talk about Tay

This certainly doesn't apply to every squad member, but do a quick Google search of articles about Martha Hunt. Almost every result lists her as Swift's friend, not as a model who is famous or accomplished in her own right. Most of her own quotes are focused on Swift: how her "infectious personality" makes "everyone want to be around her at all times;" how it feels to be part of Swift's squad ("I am so lucky!"); how "we need more people like Taylor Swift." Same deal with actress Jaime King, who says things like, "She's so loving and so giving and so generous and she does everything from her heart and she's incredibly brave and authentic." Phew. Those aren't friends. Those are sycophants. Learn the difference.

The squad members don't hang out together unless Swift is around

Hunt admitted to People that she and the rest of Swift's squad don't even really know one another, so it's not necessarily a squad of friends. It's a squad of people who love Swift. It's a fancy fan club. This is especially true in the case of frenemies Lorde and Selena Gomez, or Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez, who reportedly can't stand one another.

She uses her squad to diss other women

Swift's entire squad got together for her award-winning "Bad Blood" video, which is awesome, right? Of course! Until you remember that the entire song was allegedly written about her feud with pop star Perry. That's like, super feminist, you guys!

The irony is lost on Hadid, who told Elle Canada, "'Squad Goals' is a big social-media thing right now, and that's what we want to inspire in other groups of friends—to be proud of the power you all have when you're together, which can be amplified so much by each person...we don't want to be like other generations who are infamous for their cattiness. That was cool and it worked for them and they were great. We just want to be the new generation." Get it? Because no women have ever been friends before Swift's squad debuted. Ever.


Even Dunham isn't convinced it's legit

Dunham revealed to The Huffington Post that Swift's squad actually makes her insecure—and she's one of its most famous members! "I was so thrilled to support my friend and so displeased to learn about the truth of my own height," she said. "I've been feeling pretty tall, feeling pretty sturdy, and it was amazing to me, like: 'Oh, I'm not tall. I'm chubby.' I mean, on most days, I feel really great and fine about my body, but I don't think standing next to, like, three supermodels or so is anything even the most confident woman needs to do...the minute I caught sight of myself in the Jumbotron, I knew something was very wrong."

She uses tokens when she gets criticized

After Swift began receiving criticism for how white her squad was, she allegedly diversified by inviting Zendaya and Serayah McNeill to appear in her "Bad Blood" video. "I didn't know any of the girls before," McNeill told E! News. "[They were] all beautiful ladies and all very talented at what they do. I was just really thankful to be in the vicinity of them." The Empire star has continued to pop up in trendy photo ops on Swift's social media.

It's ridiculously exclusive

Want to know just how exclusive the squad is? When Swift threw a birthday party for Fifth Harmony's Camila Cabello, the other four girls were nowhere to be seen. Maybe Cabello's bandmates had other plans, but coincidentally, Swift own friends were free, as evidenced by the picture-perfect social media snaps.

It doesn't end there, of course. Chloe Grace Moretz revealed that she was invited to join Swift's squad, because, you know, that's something real friends do, right? When Complex pressed for details in a 2016 cover story, Moretz said she could not elaborate. She would only say this about Swift: "She's a very talented person." As for squads, in general? Moretz made it clear she wants no part in them. "They appropriate exclusivity," she said. "They're cliques!"

Rowan Blanchard explained it well to Just Jared Jr. "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...'Squad goals' can polarize anyone who is not white, thin, tall and always happy."

Even Miley Cyrus told The New York Times flatly, "I'm not trying to be in the squad. None of my friends are famous and not because of any other reason than I just like real people who are living real lives."

It's all to benefit Swift's brand

Taylor Swift's squad came about after a mass of criticism for her stances on feminism and her constant use of her highly publicized relationships in her music. When it was time to promote 1989, she told Rolling Stone that the album, which was rumored to be mostly about her failed relationship with Harry Styles, was about how at this point in her life she has "friends around me all the time."

Though squad members get a bump in search traffic from their association with the singer, Swift's image benefits the most. The New York Post's Lindsay Putnam writes, "Merely wanting to be Swift's friend isn't enough. Celebrities who make the cut also need to possess enough social capital to offer her something in return—to add another dimension to bolster her clean-cut image. Baking cookies with Hailee Steinfeld makes Swift look innocent and down-to-earth; being named godmother to Jaime King's newborn makes Swift more maternal; standing next to models such as Karlie Kloss and Martha Hunt reminds the world of how tall, svelte, and blond Swift really is."