The Merriam Webster dictionary’s traditional definition of “posse” is “a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal”. Today, an American pop princess has revolutionised the term, after having famously declared, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Over the past few months, Taylor Swift has cultivated a close-knit group of celebrity BFFs to be her companions at awards shows (and their after-parties), fashion events, restaurant dinners and the like. They range from actresses Emma Watson and Lena Dunham to models Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid to singers Ellie Goulding and Lorde — some of whom were featured in Swift’s Sin City-esque music video, Bad Blood.
Not to be outdone, Madonna jumped on the bandwagon. Her star-studded offering, Bitch I’m Madonna, features a posse including Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora and Katy Perry hamming it up in a party setting, in individual two- or three-second cameo appearances.
Entertainment value aside, these two very different music videos have reinforced how girl cliques remain relevant long after women have swapped pigtails and pencil cases for chic hairdos and Chanel 2.55 handbags. As seen on TV (Sex and the City, Girls) and the big screen (A League of Their Own, The Help), the concept of sisterhood has not been lost.
This is, perhaps, fuelled by how females have always had a very different approach to friendships as compared to males. Men will never be heard asking “Will you be my friend?”, nor will they openly share feelings, insecurities and analyses of emotional issues. For men, friendships are generally based on shoulder-to-shoulder activities, like playing sports or poker.
Women on the other hand, constantly seek support and validation. Sisterhood has always been a much larger part of our DNA, from the time we were in school looking for people to sit with at recess, to grappling with life’s hardships as adults today. Being a “member” of their very own pack offers women a sense of comfort and support that goes beyond mere networking.
Today’s bitch posse, though, should not be confused as extensions of the “It” Girls social set from our school days of yore. Those were largely focused on bullying and bitching, as members of the in crowd tormented the geeks and weaker social-climbers for being less “cool”.
Sadly, we still see the ghosts of such social groups at the workplace now, where a strength-in-numbers mentality makes it easy to indulge in bully tactics like ostracism, condescension and mockery.
Such unprofessionalism has no part in today’s girl cliques, which champion a new endgame: Supportive, fulfilling relationships among several close girlfriends. This is especially relevant today, as more women understand how life-enriching it is to build relationships with people who help them learn, grow and become the best version of themselves without the need to change.
The #girlsquad has become a new beacon of girl power today. Already in one? Revel in the positives and keep oestrogen-charged drama to a minimum. Looking to form your own gang? Start by being someone whom others would gravitate towards, and choose to be the first one to call about a breakup, a marriage proposal, or sharing a bottle of wine. Life is better with a gang of girlfriends — chains, whips and Harleys optional.