Every summer has its pop culture phenomenon, but the summer of 2023 was blessed with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and the Barbie movie. Both blew up on social media, and everyone and their mother were talking about one, if not both. What made these two unique was not only that they were both massive hits but that they both catered to women and girls. The ruffles, frills, sequins, and tulle of Taylor’s costumes. The music. The girl squads going to the concert for one epic night of female friendship. The uberpink of Barbieland and Barbie’s range of feminine costumes, hair, and heels. Barbie’s journey to becoming a real woman. It was girly heaven all summer long.
Since art and pop culture influence culture as a whole, celebrating femininity seems to be back in style. While we’re more than happy to see femininity make a comeback, we just hope it’s more than an ephemeral trend. After androgyny reigned supreme for years, it’s time to make the cultural resurgence of femininity permanent.
How the Summer of 2023 Became the Summer of Femininity
The summer of 2023 will forever be known as the summer of the Barbie movie and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Both events not only drew crowds of millions of women but encouraged women to celebrate their femininity unapologetically. In a culture that often trivializes the interests of young women as vapid or shallow or basic, it’s refreshing to see women reject that way of thinking and celebrate what they love.
Both the Barbie movie and the Eras Tour helped women across the country let go of that way of thinking by painting a broad spectrum of femininity. The Eras Tour celebrated every era of Taylor Swift’s career and aesthetic, helping fans celebrate different types of femininity and their accompanying styles. Eras like Fearless and Red celebrate love, heartbreak, and all of the emotions that come along with being a girl in her teens and early twenties. Speak Now and Lover explore the beauty of love and romance through whimsical songs and pretty pastel colors. Reputation and Midnights are badass and mature, but all types of eras (and the women who embody each era) are seen as equal. No matter which era you’re in, you’re welcome to the celebration.
The Barbie movie not only encouraged women to dress up in their cutest pink outfits but also made going to the movies fun again. While the movie followed Stereotypical Barbie on her journey to womanhood in the real world, the dolls (and human characters like America Ferrera as the mom, Gloria) represented all types of women. It shattered the idea of “bimbo feminism,” helping women realize that they can not only like the things that they’re interested in without shame, but that they can be feminine and smart at the same time.
Like almost every other trend that millennials partake in, nostalgia was also a major element. Taylor Swift performed songs from every era in her career. For those who are close to her age or have grown up listening to her music, it brought them back to the times when the music was initially released. From the heartbreak anthems that got them through high school to the coming-of-age songs that hit differently in adulthood, it was a cathartic and therapeutic experience for many. The Barbie movie did this too by using the iconic doll that many of us played with as kids to tell a story that describes the complexities of womanhood. It made many of us laugh, cry, and smile, all while telling a good story. In a culture where we all want to heal our inner child, it was the perfect summer for feminine healing.
Beyond the Eras Tour and Barbie movie, we’re continuing to see feminine forms of entertainment in Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, Guts, Kelsea Ballerini’s latest EP, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, and the current rom-com resurgence with Meg Ryan’s return to the big screen coming this November. While some may think this is a trend, we can’t help but hope that this renaissance of femininity in entertainment and culture never ends.
Femininity Is More Than Wearing a Pretty Dress
Femininity in art and pop culture is wonderful and all, but that is largely out of our control. So how can we regular Janes do our part to keep the feminine energy flowing long after Barbie is out of the theaters? Well, it starts with us figuring out what femininity is. It’s a simple question, but the answer is complex. The truth is that there are many ways to be feminine, but every woman has feminine energy in her. Unfortunately, modern feminism has conditioned many of us to embrace masculine energy and to think that femininity is weak and frivolous. It’s time to end that. Femininity and feminine energy are about softness, vulnerability, kindness, creativity, receptivity, and beauty.
It’s a little girl creating a world with her limitless imagination inside her dollhouse. It’s a teenage girl expressing her emotions through poetry, music, and other forms of art. It’s a young woman being open to having deep and emotionally intimate relationships with female friends that will last a lifetime while nurturing both herself and those around her. Bringing beauty into the world is an inherently feminine thing, and we can all do this by embracing softness.
While femininity is so much more than wearing a pretty dress, beauty and fashion go a long way in embracing femininity. Androgyny had its day in the fashion world, but femininity is back in style. Both the Eras Tour and the Barbie movie promoted feminine fashion through the Barbiecore trend and wearing sparkly and colorful dresses according to your favorite album at the Eras Tour. Beyond the trends of the summer of 2023, aesthetics like dark academia highlight the darker and moodier side of femininity, while cottagecore embraces the beauty of nature. These may be trends that won’t last forever, but it’s a great stepping stone in making this renaissance of femininity last past the summer of 2023.
How To Embrace Your Feminine Energy and Joy
If fashion isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to embrace your femininity for years to come.
Be Kind and Surround Yourself with Other Women
One of the simplest ways to embrace feminine joy is to surround yourself with other women and to be kind. It may sound so simple to the point that it’s silly, but it always feels good to receive compliments from friends and strangers alike. It’s why the women's bathroom at a bar is one of the friendliest places in the world. It’s full of women complimenting each other.
We all experienced mean girls growing up and women who don’t have our best interests at heart as adults. Unfortunately, some women like to tear others down, but that’s not what feminine women do. Be a girl's girl. Make time in your schedule to truly connect with your closest girlfriends, or go out of your way to make new female friends. Bond over fun and girly things like fashion, home decor, mimosas, or anything else you have in common. Dive deeper and don't be afraid to go below the surface with those you're closest to. Host a weekly or monthly girls' night to keep a consistent schedule and avoid losing touch. Being around other women and doing things you enjoy will instantly make you happier and bring you endless feminine joy.
Pick Up Feminine Hobbies
One of the easiest ways to embrace your feminine energy is by embracing a feminine hobby. Most of these hobbies involve creativity, and all involve embracing the beauty in our everyday lives. If you’re into fitness, you can work out according to your cycle to optimize your health and balance your hormones. Try a more feminine exercise like ballet or pilates, and make it a social event by taking a class with friends or signing up by yourself to meet new women. If you love nature, take a long walk in the prettiest part of your area, take up gardening, or learn the art of floral arrangement.
You can also go the more traditional route with sewing, crocheting, knitting, painting, drawing, or playing a musical instrument (Pro tip: It’s more fun when you pretend you’re in a Jane Austen adaptation for a few minutes). Poetry is a creative way to process your emotions while creating art, and it’s so much more fun and thought-provoking than journaling. If you’re not the most creative person, take up reading books you enjoy and lose yourself in another world.
Romanticize Your Life by Surrounding Yourself with Beauty
You’d be surprised to learn how simple it can be to romanticize your life. With the hustle and bustle of every day, it can be as easy as taking time to literally bend down and smell the flowers on your kitchen table. Use your home as a launching pad by adding a few pretty pieces, like a cute antique painting from a thrift store, or adding dried seasonal flowers to a fancy vase. Create a space that’s just for you (even if it’s as small as a corner in a room) to use for creative things like reading, drawing, or writing, and make the space beautiful to inspire creativity. If you’re short on time, take 10 to 30 minutes to declutter or clean. You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.
Give Yourself Permission To Care About Your Appearance
Indulge in self-care by investing more in your skincare or makeup. Take the time to pick out an outfit and spritz on some perfume. As the old adage goes, if you look good, you feel good. This may seem silly at first, but that’s the type of attitude that we’re trying to unlearn in this new era of femininity. Simple changes like adding lavender sprigs to your bedside or putting on some lipstick can not only help you harness your feminine energy but make you feel both fabulous and unstoppable.
The summer of 2023 may be over, but the era of femininity can last forever if we want it to. Embracing your femininity is not only easier than you think it would be, but the feminine joy you feel is incomparable to anything else. Whether you decide to surround yourself with beautiful things or to channel your creative energy, now's the time to continue on your feminine journey.
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