Summers always have a special meaning to each individual. Whether it’s starting a new journey, traveling to countries you’ve only seen through a screen, or just taking time to relax, there’s a sense of freedom and creativity when the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter.
This year was different.
The months of May to August 2023 are being labeled as “The Summer of Girlhood” where the words “I am a woman” had a more magical meaning than ever before. Being a woman has always been something to be proud of, but the entertainment industry brought out something new to it this year.
Taylor Swift started her Eras Tour in March of 2023, and it was filled with thousands of girls gathered at the concert venues, decked out in sparkling outfits with wide smiles and glowing hearts. Friendship bracelets were exchanged at each of her shows, and the arenas exploded with excitement as Taylor Swift herself walked out onstage and took us through a 3-hour journey. Safe to say, it was a perfect depiction of how joyful yet heartbreaking it is to grow up as a female.
That concert was a safe space for so many women, including me. We embraced our femininity and celebrated it, rather than feeling shame or remorse, as society has often conditioned us to feel. Singing along and showing passion for your favorite artist was seen as “irritating,” with many comments on social media saying we were “doing too much.” I’m glad we were able to put all of that aside, if only for one night.
It doesn’t end there, though. When Barbie premiered in theatres in July, social media erupted with women all over the world expressing how it made them feel seen and powerful, finally depicting a reality where being female was more than enough.
As I sat there in the theatre during opening weekend, I felt a deep sense of pride in my identity. The montage at the end of the film, accompanied by Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?”, or America Ferrera’s monologue, were just a few of the moments in the movie where the importance of the scene resonated with the audience, bringing the theatre into silence.
During that week, girls were decked out in pink to celebrate the movie, yelling “Hi Barbie!” to another woman on the street. It was a simple gesture, but it created a sense of community.
When I screamed my heart out at the Taylor Swift concert, never once worrying about the people around me, it made me realize that this version of safety is something we all deserve. When I cried at the screening of Barbie, I remembered that there is nothing embarrassing about embracing my femininity and maturity.
After all this, one question remains: Why?
Why has society taught us that having wrinkles and growing old is shameful? Why have so many women never experienced the freedom of just letting go? Why is it that being human is never enough?
This summer, we finally found our answer.
Gender, race, age, size, sexuality, and more have never defined a person. That has never, and will never, change.
Girlhood undoubtedly reached new heights this summer with women everywhere relishing in what is now known as sisterhood. As the neon pinks and glowing sequins gently fade into the comforting colors of fall, one thing is for certain: there is a new sense of joy and pride that comes with being a woman today. Hopefully, this summer was just the beginning of much more to come.
Edited by Sally (Anh) Ngo
October 10, 2023
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