Throughout the summer of 2023, influencers, celebrities, writers, and artists have honed in on the art of celebrating girlhood.
By: Gianna Gallo
Before our Florida “fall” begins, the cultural significance of the summer of 2023 must be not only acknowledged, but celebrated. From friendship bracelets to glittering pink outfits, women were given a unique experience this summer to bond over the female experience. The past few months will forever be considered a transformative and iconic time in the history of the entertainment industry, in which women dominated. With Taylor Swift and Beyonce’s tours both selling out stadiums and Greta Gerwig’s iconic "Barbie" movie, female figures took over the media, the economy, and gave women something so incredibly special.
The Renaissance Tour
When Beyonce first took the stage in Stockholm, Sweden, her tour quickly became something very special. At 41 years old, Beyonce, a mother of three, has broken so many of the constricting stereotypes and expectations the entertainment industry often places on women. She sang and danced alongside her daughter, a symbol to all of the women in the audience of how rewarding being a mother can be. Beyonce stands as living proof that women can still have families and be wildly successful. She is proof that female artists do not have to retire when they are no longer young adults.
She is proof that the men associated with an artist do not define their legacy.
In front of sold out stadiums, she was able to thank a fan base that has been supporting her for over twenty years, and her status as a female icon has only grown to hold more and more meaning. Her tour is projected to make over $2 billion dollars in sales, and Beyonce is well on her way to having one of the most successful female-led tours of all time. Women of all ages have danced, celebrated, and been witness to history at Beyonce’s tour throughout the entire summer.
The Eras Tour
Taylor Swift has made an incredible name for herself within the music industry, as well as rightfully earning titles as clever businesswoman, amazing songwriter, and a feminist role model. While rerecording her albums in order to gain the rights to her own music, she announced a months-long tour that quite literally broke the internet. As she traveled from city to city within the United States, her fans came together to celebrate everything Taylor Swift stands for.
In terms of financial success, Taylor’s tour saw unprecedented results. For weeks, headlines have been reading, “It’s Taylor Swift’s Economy, and We’re Just Living in it,” and “The Staggering Economic Impact of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour.” According to Time Magazine, each of the cities she stopped at throughout her tour saw a boost in revenue, and her gross net sales are projected to be $2.2 billion– and that’s just for the North American leg of the tour. If you were lucky enough to be one of her bus drivers, you made a generous $100,000. Overall, Taylor’s tour was not just iconic because she performed for a shocking three and a half hours, but because of the impact she made in the lives of so many that were employed by her in order to successfully put on concerts in each city.
Social media platforms maximized coverage of Swift’s one-of-a-kind tour. Fans awaited week by week trying to put together Taylor Swift’s signature clues to decipher which surprise songs she would sing at each city, sold out friendship bracelet beads to make stacks to trade at the concert, and hyped up each other’s elaborate Eras themed outfits. Moms, daughters, aunts, cousins, and best friends flooded stadiums ready to celebrate the legacy Taylor Swift has created. The love, sense of togetherness, and shared connection over the female experience was incredibly strong at Taylor’s shows, and it is truly special to hear thousands of women singing in unison, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”
The Barbie Movie
The empowering summer of 2023 rounded out with highly-successful director Greta Gerwig releasing the long-awaited “Barbie” movie. In an interview, Margot Robbie, who played Barbie in the film, described Gerwig’s work as a “party”, and there is no better way to put it. Anticipation built as the summer crawled along to July 21st when the movie premiered, and women everywhere planned how they would be celebrating the momentous occasion. When the day finally came, movie theaters were packed as moms and daughters, groups of friends, and families all decked out in pink attended the first showings.
The movie was a joy through and through. The entire audience laughed and cried as Barbie navigated the shocking realities of the real world. America Ferrera’s now infamous monologue rang true to each and every woman in the theater, and it felt like a much-needed breath of fresh air. With just the right amount of nostalgia combined with an incredibly important feminist narrative, Barbie was the perfect testament to the female experience. CNN reports that “Barbie” surpassed $1 billion at the box office, making Greta Gerwig the first female director to achieve this impressive feat. This movie brought together women all across the world and it spread an important message about the realities of womanhood.
The summer of 2023 was monumental for women in the music and film industries, as well monumental as in terms of individualistic progress. Beyonce and Taylor Swift served as a constant reminder of the incredible things about being a woman. They each provided a unique sense of empowerment for their female fans, both young and grown, showing them that even their wildest dreams really can come true. Likewise, the “Barbie” movie sparked an entire movement of soft feminism, in which girls have begun to appreciate all of the small daily experiences that have shaped them into the amazing people they are.
This entire summer can be viewed as a movement to embrace the beauty of girlhood while standing up to sexism.
Whether it was screaming “Fuck the patriarchy” with Taylor, or it was tying pink bows into your hair for the first time in years, something shifted these past few months. A shift into recognizing all of the wonderful things that come with being a girl.
Gianna Gallo is a sophomore student at the University of Florida. She is a major Swiftie and Greta Gerwig stan, so to say this was an exciting summer for her is an understatement.