(Wesley Lapointe / Los Angeles Times)

Arts and Entertainment

Opinion: Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, the epitome of girlhood

What may just seem like a concert, to me, stands for so much more.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/aubreybertino/" target="_self">Aubrey Bertino</a>

Aubrey Bertino

September 15, 2023

If you’ve been alive in the past few months, you’re guaranteed to have heard about the Eras Tour. Taylor Swift’s record breaking, stadium filling journey through her musical career. It’s a huge event, chock full of sparkly dresses, friendship bracelets, chants from the roaring crowds, and memories to last a lifetime. 

As a die-hard swiftie, I’m obviously going to have a bit of bias. But, I think everyone can agree that if nothing else, Taylor Swift knows how to put on a show. From choreography to outfits, to stage presence, she was made for the spotlight. 

While that is certainly true, I believe that there’s more to this tour than meets the eye. When I found out I was going, three days before my concert date, I was absolutely elated. And when I was there, it was the experience of a lifetime. But afterwards, that’s when I really started thinking about what made this concert so special. 

Why did the girls in front of me, whom I’d never met before, suddenly feel like my best friends after we sang and danced together? Why did every woman in that audience, young and old, seem so touched?

It wasn’t any specific thing I can put my finger on. It was the environment. The freedom we all felt to unabashedly be “girls”.

Now, I understand that I might be sounding crazy right now. Girls are always allowed to be girls, right? Here’s what I’m trying to say. In our society, it’s pre-programmed into every young girl to hate anything about them that makes them ‘like other girls’.

 I know it, because I was that girl. I had a huge chip on my shoulder about anything I felt made me feminine. Liking pink? Absolutely not. Listening to Taylor Swift? I’d rather die. Watching “teenage girl” movies like “Mean Girls” and “Clueless”? As if! Gossiping about boys I like and my feelings? How shallow. 

In reality, it’s not. There is nothing shallow about being like other girls. It’s a connection. It’s sisterhood. It’s the understanding that we’ve all been through similar experiences, and that we all care about similar things. It’s the hair tie on your wrist you got from a perfect stranger. It’s your mother helping you get ready on your wedding day. It’s prom night, getting all gussied up with your best friends. It’s crying in a bathroom stall over getting your heart broken and being comforted by a girl you’ve never met.

It’s girlhood. 

Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I understand, and that constant facade I put on to be a ‘tomboy’ is gone. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it if that’s genuinely who you are, but I don’t feel the need to pretend to be like that anymore. I love dancing around my room and listening to Taylor Swift. I get happy on days when my mascara doesn’t clump. I like picking out cute outfits and going shopping, and I like “Mean Girls” and “Clueless”. I like wearing silly little dresses. I even like pink! And, I love being a girl. 

Being a stereotypical woman isn’t something that’s widely celebrated in our culture. Women nowadays are celebrated for breaking the norm, being different, and being masculine. And I’m not in any way saying that’s a bad thing. If that’s how you are, more power to you.

 What is a bad thing is that young girls growing up in today’s society are belittled if they dream of falling in love with their Prince Charming, instead of hating every man they see. It’s looked down upon to like ‘girly’ things, because as far as we’d like to think we’ve come, feminine things are still, and will probably always be, seen as weak, pathetic, and pitiful. 

So, how exactly does this relate to the eras tour? Let me get back on track. While I was there, I noticed that most of the crowd was, unsurprisingly, made up of women. And most of these women were in shiney, fun outfits, with big curls put in their hair, and lots of sparkly makeup. And don’t forget the friendship bracelets! I was too. And in almost every other situation, I would feel immensely judged for that. 

But there, there was a sense of acceptance that we were all just trying to have fun. Going up to strangers and asking to trade bracelets didn’t come with the same daunting fear it would anywhere else. Compliments were given and received more times than I can count that night, between all kinds of women. 

The biggest thing I noticed is that no girl was uncomfortable screaming her heart out to Taylor Swift, jumping around, dancing awkwardly, and having the time of their lives.

Basically, girls of all ages were comfortable being everything they are trained to hate. Pretty, sparkly, fun-loving fan-girls. A lot of men’s worst nightmare, and what I’m sure a lot of girls would like to be if they only felt comfortable expressing themselves in that way. 

And of course, I have to talk about Taylor herself. Most men I’ve talked to about Taylor Swift see her as the dumb, ditzy blonde with the red lips who dates a lot and writes bubblegum pop songs about her exes. 

Me, on the other hand? I see a girl who isn’t afraid to go out on a stage in front of thousands of people and pour out her feelings in a sparkly pink bodysuit. I see someone who’s fearless.  

I see a girl who has devoted her life to making other girls feel understood, heard, and acknowledged with her music.

Being like other girls isn’t something to be ashamed of. I mean, think about it. Have you ever seen a guy get embarrassed because he likes sports? Try to hide that they love going to Home Depot? Refuse to wear blue because they’re not like other guys? Pretend that they don’t like power tools? No, of course you haven’t! Because those things have never been considered weak. They’re strong, respectable interests to have. 

Then why is it that every stereotypical thing a girl likes is something to be made fun of?

Anyway, I’ll wrap things up, because trust me, I could ramble about this for a while. The main point I’m trying to get across is that there is nothing wrong with being a ‘girly girl’. So go out! Wear the dresses, make the friendship bracelets, run around the mall with your friends, do your makeup, love pink, watch “Clueless”, listen to Taylor Swift! And never, ever, let anybody make you feel weak for it. 

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