As the “Barbie” movie came to a close, I won’t lie and say my eyes were dry. I was crying as my mother sat next to me hopefully feeling the effect of the movie just as much as every other woman in the theater was.
It’s a hard feeling to explain, but it’s like someone or something (in this case the “Barbie” movie of all things) put into words exactly how you have been feeling your entire life.
When I got home, I allowed myself to watch all the TikToks about “Barbie,” finally unafraid of spoilers. It was only then that I realized trending videos with the captions “Girlhood.” were from the Barbie movie.
Videos displaying women when they were young, teenagers having fun with their best friends and highlighting the beauty that is female friendships and girlhood began trending immediately after the release of “Barbie”.
For days, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of ‘girlhood’ and childhood in general.
As a generation, we have all experienced countless ‘once in a lifetime’ events. So much so that we are thought of as numb to catastrophic events. Yet, something like the “Barbie” movie comes along and proves that Gen Z continues to find little sparks of hope everywhere.
I thought about women in general. It has become a trend to find any reason to dress up for ourselves. I don’t mean for a date or for a party or anything like that, but rather fully for our own enjoyment. For example, themed dinner parties with just our friends, the Harry Styles concerts where everyone went above and beyond with their outfits and now even “Barbie”.
Witnessing girls aging anywhere from youth to adults dressing in their most extravagant pink outfits just to sit in a dark theater put this into perspective for me.
In a way, that is girlhood. Finding those little moments for yourself and nobody else. Not letting anything dull your light, no matter how hard the world tries.
“Barbie” did such an amazing job of portraying women and the patriarchy, and truly portraying women as more powerful than I personally have ever seen on screen. Not only did it bring power to the eyes of many young women and spark a fire in hundreds of others, but it also brought nostalgia; the ending of childhood.
To me, the ‘girlhood’ trend goes beyond just women appreciating their lives but also shows the beauty of growing up. No longer being in girlhood but now in womanhood.
The idea that our childhoods are ending, and it can be both beautiful and tragic all at once.
Gen Z has only just begun their lives in the real world yet have already endured so much. Sometimes, it's hard for me to understand how we all aren’t curled up in a ball and terrified of what is to come. Then something like “Barbie” comes along and this generation surprises me once again.
They have found the strength to stand strong and talk about the politics of a doll movie, romanticize every moment of watching it and then apply the message to their own lives. They find hope in the small moments and bring light into the world the best way they know how.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.