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What This Summer Taught Me About Girlhood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

This summer was for the girls.

We got decked out in pink to see Barbie, made friendship bracelets for the Eras Tour and reveled in the return of our favorite childhood Disney channel stars.

It is no coincidence that this summer brought about TikTok trends such as “girl dinner” and “girl math” that quickly gained popularity, as women started to comfortably share ordinary activities under the hashtag “girl.” 

While some find the word “girl” belittling, many Gen Z women find comfort in the idea of returning to a time of youthfulness and ignorance of societal expectations that are prominent today.

In addition, many women have discovered commonalities in each other’s everyday struggles through this trend, and stand in solidarity against oppressive institutions. 

Being a woman can lead us to lose our sense of self. In our efforts to conform to certain standards, it is all too easy to lose sight of our identity. Embracing personality labels such as “lalala girls” or “strawberry girls” can provide comfort particularly to those who have long felt estranged.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie epitomizes what it means to transition from girlhood to womanhood. Barbie Land is a depiction of our childhoods – safe, innocent and naive. On the other hand, the real world symbolizes womanhood – pain, unrealistic expectations and challenges. 

A trend has emerged on TikTok, aptly dubbed the “girlhood” movement, where women share glimpses of their day, set to the song “What Was I Made For” by Billie Eilish.

Through this trend, we no longer apologize for our vulnerability. We wholeheartedly embrace our emotions, allowing ourselves to authentically and unapologetically experience them. This shift signifies a profound departure from societal norms, granting women the freedom to become our true selves fully.

Women are now reclaiming and preserving the feminine energy that was often dismissed as cliché during our childhood. Gerwig’s film served as a catalyst, empowering numerous women and girls in the discovery of their true purpose. 

As we get older, we confront the realization that certain wholesome experiences we once took for granted cannot be relived. Reconnecting with Barbie dolls and embracing the color pink has proven to be a healing experience for many women on TikTok. 

The emergence of unifying trends serve as a powerful reminder that, despite growing up in a world that often discourages femininity, we can still embrace and celebrate the feminine values that shaped our identities. By holding onto these nostalgic symbols, we reaffirm ourselves and find solace in the memories that have contributed to who we are today.

Girlhood is the mess you make trying to pick an outfit before a night out, romanticizing insignificant everyday tasks, doing each other’s make-up, crying to Taylor Swift, navigating emotional rollercoasters and running into a sunset for a video.

Girlhood is multifaceted and represents what makes you uniquely you. It’s a journey that encourages you to “close your eyes, and feel.”

Whenever you feel the pressure of society and womanhood weighing you down, make yourself a girl dinner, wear pink and embrace your inner Barbie girl!

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Fran is a senior studying Public Relations at Boston University.