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Redefining girlhood: Girls weigh in after watching Barbie

Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For" is already a tear-jerker, but placing the audio behind the home video montage in Barbie made for *such* a waterworks moment. This touching compilation not only had us reaching for tissues but also sparked some serious convos about girlhood. Using Billie's audio in the background, people all over Tik Tok have taken inspo from the movie's video collage and have created their own versions captioned "girlhood"—showing their interpretations of what it means to them.

For some, it's dressing up in pink fits with their friends to go see the movie, while others made slideshows of their younger selves. If Barbie has shown us anything, it's that girlhood isn't just about being a girl—it's a unique experience that allows you to do anything or be anyone you want.

We chatted with four girls who saw Barbie and opened up about what girlhood means to them.

Embracing yourself 

Hair. Makeup. Fit. When it came to the perf Barbie prep list, getting all dolled up was at the number one spot for Paige Y., 20. From lining her waterline with white liner to even DIYing her own fit from a pair of old pants, Paige served Barbie glam from head to toe. While she's always loved dressing up, learning to ignore those who don't love it as much hasn't always been easy. "I grew up in a small town, and whenever I'd dress up in middle school, I'd always get the 'Oh, are you trying to impress a guy?' or 'Are you trying to fit in more?'" Paige shares. 

As she sat in the movie theater surrounded by friends, Paige said that it was her younger self (the one who woke up early to curl her hair and wear the cutest boots) who was really watching. "It was so cool to rethink what girlhood means—it doesn't mean being perfect all the time or having to dress up. It just means learning to embrace yourself."

Growing up with your friends

Image by Roxanne F.

Picture this: You and the girls laughing it up in your sleeping bags while Mean Girls plays in the background. At first, the convo is *so* fetch, but as the night goes on, you all somehow start having a deep talk about your lives. When Roxanne F., 17, thinks about girlhood, this relatable BFF sleepover moment is exactly how she would describe it. "Girlhood is like growing up with your friends...there are specific moments that all girls go through that just hit so different," she says. 

The little things

Miss Ruth Handler gave us one of the most iconic lines when talking to Barbie in the white void: "Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever." In this same way, Anne C., 17, says girlhood is an everlasting idea that captures how special all the little moments are in our lives. "Like choosing a top that's pink to just dancing around your room...[it's] just the little things we do that make us feel young no matter what age we are," she says.


Image by Kayla C.

Barbie had some movie theaters going *all* out on decor. As Kayla C., 20, walked into her cinema, there were doll boxes for dreamy photo opps and even drinks that came in inflatable flamingoes. As fun as these light-hearted decorations were, some scenes in Barbie tugged a little harder at Kayla's heart. Thinking of her mom brushing her hair as the montage of women played on screen, Kayla believes that girlhood brings her childhood nostalgia but also reminds her of the warmth that comes from interacting with other girls. "I went shopping the other day and the cashier told me, 'Oh my god, these tops are going to look so darling on you,'...and that interaction just lingered with me," she shares. And to her, these seemingly trivial interactions are beyond meaningful. "They have had a really big impact on me this summer. Girlhood is just irreplaceable," she adds.

What does girlhood mean to you? Let us know on Insta @girlslifemag!!

Slider image: @sofiadivene
Top image: @axaila
All GIFs via GIPHY


by Annika Chaves | 8/17/2023