Taylor & Karlie: The Beige Cardigan of Celebrity Friendship

The upcoming March Vogue cover chronicles Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss’s friendship, heralding the blonde twosome with the tagline “Taylor & Karlie. Unstoppable, Inseparable, Adorable.” Jada Yuan’s feature article, “On the Road with Best Friends Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss,” was posted on Vogue.com on Friday, February 13th at 11:47AM and the Cut’s take on the Vogue feature, “Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift Verify their friendship,” was posted less than two hours later, at 1:45pm, by Maggie Lange.

Lange’s response taps into a phenomenon around the discussion of female friendship that I have felt to be present in the media for some time. Lange’s take on the article’s emphasis on “normal and real, real and normal: nothing better than real and normal” really drove home what I find to be the most boring female friendship in the public sphere. I imagine this is what men would think female friendship is like—baking cookies, pasta nights and blown-up polaroids entitled “Best Friends Forever.” The feeling I have towards this type of friendship portrayed in the Vogue article is summarized by Lange’s opening sentence: “Sandy-haired tulip sprouts Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift submitted a testimony on the condition of their friendship in the cover story for Vogue magazine.” I think really zeroes in on the presentation of their personalities in the media. The fakeness of the Taylor & Karlie BFF-ness is taken down by Lange sarcastically: “as the account confirms: this relationship is a real and natural friendship arrangement”

In the Vogue article, Lena Dunham is quoted as referring to Taylor Swift as the Betty Crocker of friendships.” The seemingly unnatural quality of these friendships being chronicled in Vogue is articulated by Lange as “mixing up the exact right ingredients, in the right order, under the right heat, but in a natural, normal fashion.” The duo, though powerful within their industries, comes off as unthreatening and uninteresting. Though I am a huge fan of Taylor Swift’s music, I’m much more intrigued by her friendship with Lena Dunham. But the interest instead is on a fellow tall, blonde model, with no discernible personality. Relationships between women in general fascinate me, but what about even an article on Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke, or if we want to stay on the supermodel/pop star train—Cara Delevingne and Rihanna? Or any of her array of friendships, even Kendall Jenner would be more interesting than this. Or if we want to do an all-star throwback—why not profile Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss? Models only, certainly, but far more interesting.

I write this while I am on a weekend away with some of my closest female friends from college and our friendship is not all cookies and heart emoticons and braiding each other’s hair.  It’s up and down, occasionally resentful yet unwaveringly supportive, but it’s also not always very feminine and attractive and full of wives-in-training activities like knitting and cooking. The complexity of that type of friendship between women maybe is less appealing to Vogue readership, or harder to capture. Whatever the reason, if one is to dedicate an entire cover to female friendship, one would hope they make a bigger effort next time to capture its intricacies.

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