The Daily Gamecock

Column: How concerts, movies made it a summer to remember for women

Summer 2023 has proven that girls can do anything. Over the past few months, fans have flocked to see Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour and the movie premiere of "Barbie."

Stadiums have been selling out rapidly for Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, and movie theaters have been packed in pink for "Barbie." Fans of both artists are making friendship bracelets to trade and stylizing unique costumes to celebrate the anticipated experiences, and as someone who went to the Eras Tour and saw "Barbie" opening weekend, the atmospheres are unlike any other.

These three shows have been documented all over social media and have created a vibrant atmosphere for excitement and celebration towards women’s success. According to The Washington Post, their collective influence "has boosted Americans’ spending, aiding hotels, airlines and movie theaters."

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“There’s something about female concerts and the way women, especially as of late, have started to make more conscious decisions when shopping in general, especially with who they are putting their energy towards and who they're putting those dollars towards," third-year marketing student Shania Jackson said. "You definitely see more of a difference with that (compared to going to a male concert)." 

Jackson worked at Kroonz Wear, a small Black-owned business in downtown Atlanta, when both concerts came to the city's Mercedes-Benz Stadium earlier this year.

“In the beginning of the summer, (the) Eras Tour came through, so there were so many girls trying to get their Eras shirts," Jackson said. "We had a spike in sales for that. And then as we got closer and closer to Beyoncé, once again we saw a huge spike and, of course, there were so many Black women coming through.”

On the film side, the marketing campaign for "Barbie" was one of the best that I've ever seen. From all-pink clothing sections at retail stores, Barbie Dreamhouse Airbnbs and promotional pink burgers at Burger King, it was nearly impossible to avoid any mention of the film. 

In the end, it paid off for director Greta Gerwig, as "Barbie" set 17 new box office records and became the highest-grossing domestic movie opening of all time for a female director.

“For the first time in a really long time, those moments and experiences are really catered towards women,” Blair Elliott, a fourth-year environmental and marine policy student, said. “Obviously men have gone to all of these things and really enjoyed them, but I think it is something that's actually catered towards and directed towards women, which I don’t think is often the case in media.”

Going all out for a concert and movie is one thing, but seeing women come together and do it feels like sisterhood. Moments like these gave me the confidence to compliment girls on their Eras Tour shirts, which would usually lead to striking up a conversation on what show we attended or what our favorite "era" was.

In the end, people can bond with anyone over any kind of music, movies, books or media. However, I believe these particular experiences set up long-lasting friendships because of their meaning. Since the start of 2023, I've made new "Swiftie" friends and reconnected with people I haven't talked to in forever, specifically over Taylor Swift. 

“It finally feels like there’s a place and a space that is for women, and we can just resonate with the words of the songs or the meanings of the movie a little bit more than we can with other types of media,” Elliott said.

The summer of 2023 was unforgettable because of the hype these events created. It provided a safe space for women to express themselves and find a new way to celebrate concerts and movies. It is refreshing to see media catering towards women in an empowering way, and I truly hope that it will continue to remain that way in the future.