When 2023 became the self-proclaimed year of the girl it turned our world upside down. Be it hot-girl-walks, feral-girl summer, girl-dinner, girl-math, pink, bows, Barbie… no matter where you live or who you are, girlhood has likely touched your life. Finally, women hold the mic to represent the complexities of our identities and to shape culture, economies, and politics. The best part of it all though? It’s being done with fun, humor, and approachability.
Historically, many conversations with and about women were reserved for academia. In these essays, women would be writing or written about in ways that require specific education and training to comprehend. If we go even further back, women were never the ones penning the essays, but were rather test subjects. We were studied, written about, and represented without a voice ourselves.
With academic writing being largely convoluted and inaccessible to the masses, dialogue about women circulates amongst only those who understand scholarly writing or have access to those rooms. Modern day women’s issues and stories were largely created and consumed by the elite and institutions that harp on women’s suffering but are far removed from the realities of it.
Now, thanks to the democratization of social media, women from all walks of life similar to Madison Wild’s viral tiktok video that connects feminist theory dots in girl dinner, are telling their stories. From the most mundane, like a skincare routine, to female pleasure and political plights, women of all kinds are talking– and it’s understandable by all.
For example, from trends like boy-math, women are empowered and comforted by gender solidarity to confront questionable male behavior. Feral-girl summer normalizes female pleasure and encourages female agency. Pink, bows, and Barbie lets women return to the gender euphoria we were taught to belittle and distrust. Largely, girl allows women to dictate trends and have our voices heard. It’s clear that to be successful in today’s political, social, or economic climate, you must pay attention to women.
Furthermore, Girl has compelled men to reckon with our ideas, beliefs, and identities. Not that the goal is for men to listen, but it’s an undeniable benefit and objective truth for men who largely hold roles of power to enter into a woman’s world. Where in the past they could defer to the heaviness or unapproachability of women’s issues, now we’re everpresent.
While girl is flawed with its spotlight on white feminism a la Barbie and Taylor Swift, it’s a start in raising a collective consciousness. For too long women have been living in a man’s world. Meryl Streep once said, “women have learned the language and lived in the house of men… women speak men but men don’t speak women.” Girl-___ is Duo Lingo.
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