Mention the phrase ‘squad goals’and you are inevitably met with the general response of eye rolls, perhaps even a condescending tut. This is a phrase that was introduced in 2015 thanks to the likes of celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss and has grown in popularity over the last two years. A quick Instagram search brings up thousands of pictures captioned with the infamous #squadgoals. This has inevitably led to wide spread criticism of what the phrase stands for, with critics citing it as an excuse to create a clique of attractive, long legged, genetically gifted female celebrities, drawing upon the flaws of other women to hide their own imperfections. But what happens if #squadgoals meant something different? What would happen if the phrase was used to describe genuine female friendships, and promote widespread support amongst womankind?
In this day and age, there is a constant pressure to document the best parts of your life on social media, there is a pressure to look good 24/7, and the beauty regimes that girls are almost expected to undertake are rigorous, not to mention extremely time consuming. This constant expectation of what girls are ‘supposed to look like’ can cause high levels of insecurity, with the growing temptation to compare yourself to others. It is easy to reflect your ‘flaws’ and your insecurities onto women that surround you. You’re not happy because you don’t have the ‘desired’ thigh gap, but it’s okay though because Susan has a bigger waist than you. Plus, did you see the way her thighs wiggled when she ran on the treadmill? But, why does it matter what she looks like in comparison to you, concentrate on your own happiness and health and let others do the same. You should be congratulating her on her decision to be proactive and make the changes that she wants to make to her body, rather than pointing out what she probably already feels insecure about. View her as an inspiration rather than the competition.
I’ve never understood why there is the constant need to tear women down, instead of building them up. There is strength in numbers, and there is an even greater strength in women supporting each other. So it’s about time that #squadgoals took on a new meaning. It should be a term used to describe the genuine bonds of the female friendship, rather than shiny Instagram pictures that are heavily manipulated and quite often staged. It is the friendships that aren’t shouted about on social media, those 3am phone calls and knowing that you have someone to call on when you need them most, or coming home and knowing that a cup of tea or a biscuit will be waiting for you after a long and tiring day at uni, or even those moments of lounging around in the kitchen catching up on life. Personally, having a group of girl friends that you’re close to and knowing that they have your back and support you through the good and bad times, is the real definition of #squadgoals. They’re the friends you’ve known since you were 10, the ones you met at school/college/uni – regardless of where you met them, knowing that they are there, and you’d do the same for them is the most important.
In this day and age, women are still facing the same struggles: the unequal pay gap, gender discrimination – the list goes on. There is no need to make life any harder by creating divisions amongst groups of women, if everyone was nicer to each other, and women stopped seeing other women as the ultimate competition, then think of how much we could collectively accomplish.
If you’re at the gym, feeling slightly self conscious about yourself, and you see a girl that has chosen underwear that can clearly be seen through her leggings, don’t laugh and stare and tell your friend. Think maybe she has 9-5 every day at uni, this is her only time to visit the gym and she got ready in a rush this morning so overlooked what clothes she was putting on – everyone has been there, everyone knows the struggle. She’s probably feeling as self conscious as you are, and doesn’t need to be made aware of it from another girl.
So next time you want to use #squadgoals, think about the alternative meaning behind it. The one which supports and includes women of all shapes, sizes, race, and social circles – the one that doesn’t judge women based purely on appearances. Think of #squadgoals as representing the magic behind true female friendships, the less glamorous ones that can’t be filtered and plastered all over social media. It’s challenging enough as it is being a woman in the 21st Century, we can at least try and make it that much easier by supporting each other along the way.