2023: The Year of the Girls

Kaitlyn Beattie-Zarb (She/Her)

Who ran the world in 2023? Girls!

Beyonce’s iconic anthem has never been more true, as we gaze back over the events that made 2023 the year when ‘girls ruled the world’.

(Image: Kaitlyn Beattie-Zarb)


This year’s summer movie was no action blockbuster or superhero hit, but the unconventional pairing of a war movie and the smash social commentary of the year; affectionately named Barbieheimer by the internet. As Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ drew mammoth crowds and smashed box office records, it also became a historic moment in pop culture where pink was the ‘new black’ and ‘Hi Barbie’ was the call of all. In this way a doll that has come to represent something of a sexist depiction of women was reformed to be an inclusive lesson in feminism for all, and a chance for girls and Barbie fans of all ages to reconnect with their feminine and fun side. 

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift and her band of Swifites have had a long rocky journey towards fame, filled with the highest highs and lowest lows. This year, ladened in friendship bracelets and sparkles, they finally reached the stratosphere of stardom. As Taylor’s Eras Tour- a three hour long concert experience with songs from almost every album of her long career – heading across the US, both the ticket prices and the economy sky-rocketed. With these energetic and inclusive concerts drawing fans from all walks of life, and many thousands tuning in to watch nightly fan livestreams, the concert is already the second largest of all time and it has literally jump started the US economy, as fans pay for tickets, hotels, flights and yes, friendship bracelets. A level of fame and influence previously unseen beyond the Beatles, Taylor’s range of songs and endless love for her listeners allows all of her wide fan base to feel like an excited teenage girl again.

The Marvels

In the years since the MCU released their biggest crossover ‘Endgame’, their superhero output has remained largely hit or miss. After a disappointing Antman sequel and a tragic farewell to the Guardians of the Galaxy, November saw Marvel’s first woman-led film gain its long awaited sequel. The Marvels sees Captain Marvel team up with Disney Plus heroes Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan) and Monica Rambaue, as their light based powers get intertwined. And gosh is it just a joy to watch. These three badass female heroes balance electric chemistry with perfect comedic timing in a gorgeously colourful and fun adventure throughout space. Despite a surprisingly low box office result, the chance to see a team of female superheroes leading a Marvel film is a huge win for Marvel and feminism fans alike. And there’s no doubt that this powerful team will be long remembered by the next generation of aspiring marvel fans who finally have a wide cohort of female heroes to look up to. 

And even outside of the realms of film and music, women of all ages had someone to look up to. From the month the Women’s Football World Cup took over NZ and Australian stadiums selling out at record speeds, to the time ‘Angela Basset Did The Thing’ and Ariana Debose’s dancing meme took over the internet. In the realm of music we started the year with Rhianna announcing her surprise pregnancy during record breaking Super Bowl Halftime show, and now it ends as the VMAs announcing a historic first cohort of all-female ‘Artist of the Year’ nominees. And we can’t forget about to iconic TikTok takeover of girl-math.
In every industry the girls have been thriving, allowing women to embrace their girlhood and girls to look up to powerful women. This year the girls took back pop culture, reintroduced the joys of finding your inner teenage girl and ensured a love of all things pink, sparkling and fun is not only profitable but record-breaking.