girl dinner, girl math, girlhood interrupted
in my girl era
The year is 2023, you’ve just finished arranging an array of miscellaneous snacks on your plate. Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS album is blasting in the background and your laptop browser has only 3 tabs open: the sale page of your favourite store, your Pinterest feed and your carefully curated, highly *aesthetic* blog page. From girl dinner and girl blogging to girl math and everything in between, 2023 is officially the year of the girl. I’ve mentioned the 'Barbie movie effect' in my last Members blog post about starting over in your 20s but it seems I’m not the only one seeking solace within the nostalgia of girlhood. I’ve seen a lot of hot takes about this ‘girl’ revolution on TikTok and YouTube and of course I have a few of my own that I'd like to share. But first, let’s set the vibe with my latest playlist:
the playlist - '55' - unhinged femme rage, villain era, boy repellent
girlhood, a lost life stage reclaimed
One thing that felt abundantly clear from the many responses I saw towards the Barbie movie was that for those of us whose identities are tied in one way or another to the 'feminine' experience, a lot of us feel like it highlighted a disconnect within our experiences of girlhood. Defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as 'the period when a person is a girl, and not yet a woman, or the state of being a girl'; it's a time which many of us might feel like we missed out on in one way or another. For some of us it was robbed, either from an early loss of innocence or from being seen as more mature purely for existing in a black body. For others it was something we either actively rejected due to the unsettling sense of dysphoria it caused or perhaps didn't get to experience it at all because we were raised in a body that society claimed girlhood didn't belong to. Whatever the reason, we all seem to be yearning to reconnect with our 'inner girl', healing the emotional wounds of a life stage lost. As someone who is currently experiencing a second queer adolescence as well as learning that I wasn't just a 'weird child' but am in fact just neurodivergent, I've found myself actively 'regressing' from adulthood in favour of seeking joy in the nostalgia of my teen years. Listening to angsty pop rock hits from the 00s on full blast, unapologetically spending my hard-earned adult money on my special interests (like 'girl gaming' with The Sims), and channelling my inner Shane McCutcheon for outfits that 16-year-old-me wished she could wear, have all been part of an unconscious attempt to live out the version of girlhood I should have had, being my most authentic self. I think this same sentiment is echoed through all the ways we see girlhood being expressed online. Everyone's version of girl dinner is different and anyone can be a self-proclaimed 'girlypop'. It's all part of the girlhood reclamation movement.
girlhood, a blissful ignorance
In the face of an otherwise bleak world where rights are being revoked, our 'prime years' have been stolen by pandemic lockdowns and cozzy livs is putting a suffocating strain on our futures, sometimes reframing and romanticising the narrative is all that's left. That daily hour of exercise in lockdown sounded a lot less like a prison sentence when you could dress up cute and go on a 'hot girl walk' instead. Being a 20-something year old teenage girl feels justified when you are so far away from having any of the typical markers of adulthood (house, marriage, kids, financial stability etc). Why bother with the financial and mental struggle of making a home cooked meal when girl dinner is cheaper, easier and tastes just as good? If all your rights are going to be taken anyway, why not double down, enter your villain era and terrorize society by being unapologetically yourself? By returning to girlhood, we transport ourselves back to a simpler time; a time in our lives that was supposed to be light, easy and carefree (even if for many of us, it originally wasn't). This new era of girlhood acts as a cathartic performance of blissful ignorance; the perfect coping mechanism for a broken world.
girlhood, a rebellion against womanhood
From the wives and mothers in heterosexual relationships online, exposing the weaponised incompetence of their cis male partners, to the growing number of people choosing to be child-free (indefinitely), we can't deny that there's a shift happening. When you hear stats about how the happiest subgroup of the population are childless, unmarried women - the antithesis of what stereotypical womanhood is all about - that idyllic image of what a woman should be becomes increasingly difficult to go along with. Despite the programming that most of us are indoctrinated with at birth, a lot of us seem to be waking up to the realisation that there are in fact, alternative ways to exist (if we want to). Whether you were forced to learn how to cook 'for your future husband' or had to bear the brunt of house chores (while your brothers still can't do their own laundry at 30), we've finally got some proof that there's a happy and fulfilled version of life outside of being a wife or mother (or maid). But this isn't your girl boss world domination version of 'women can do anything'. It's got an ironic, dark humour twist where femcels are all the rage, girl dinner acts as a rebellion against the meals your grandma taught you to cook to attract a husband and girl math serves as the perfect fuck you to finance bros who love to mansplain the stock market to you. That TikTok sound which samples No Doubt's 'Just A Girl' comes to mind. What do I know? After all, I'm just a girl, in the world.