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Girl-Coded Media: The Matildas, Swiftie, and Doll Renaissance

Peering through the success of Barbie (2023), Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Deputy Editor Jasmine Oke summarises the reclamation of “girly” media that has undeniably flourished throughout 2023. 



With the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie – starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling – ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s renowned Eras Tour, and the success of the Matildas in the FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil, the focus of women in the media is something that has really flourished in recent months. Girlhood is currently at the height of discourse, not only across the nation but also worldwide, with many reclaiming their femininity and the ‘girly’ things that they once cast aside out of fear of being mocked and overlooked. So without further ado, here’s a recap of the powerful stats you may have missed circulating the media.



Barbie racked in a whopping $21.5 million over its first weekend in cinemas, making it both the highest-grossing film of 2023 and the highest-grossing female-directed film ever [1]. Gerwig’s feminist masterpiece went on to continue breaking various impressive records worldwide, beating many of those previously held by the final installment of the Harry Potter series back in 2011 [2]. Meanwhile, with four shows at Sydney’s Accor Stadium and three at Melbourne’s MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), only approximately 600,000 Australians have been lucky enough to secure tickets to see Taylor Swift perform live in 2024. Breaking a national record with over four million fans flocking towards the Ticketek website from all over the country, as well as New Zealand, many were bound to miss out on seeing the acclaimed singer/songwriter [3]. With all sales completely selling out in mere hours, it’s no surprise that hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of fans were left disappointed, many unable to even make it past the insidious queue. Whilst the entirety of the World Cup saw similarly shocking engagement numbers, none were quite like the penultimate semi-final match between the Matildas and England. It is estimated that over 11.5 million Australians – that’s almost 50 per cent of the population – tuned in across free-to-air TV and streaming services, not to mention the sold-out Stadium Australia where it all went down, making it the most-watched sporting event in Australia in two decades [4]. 


To follow up, a small survey was conducted by Grapeshot in order to discern what percentage of Gen Z, in particular, had participated in this girl-coded phenomenon. In a mixed-gender sample size of 30, 10 percent of respondents confessed to having not seen Barbie in cinemas. Furthermore, 23 per cent did not participate in any of the Eras Tour ticket sales, neither for themselves nor others. And finally, 10 percent of respondents did not tune in to watch the Matildas, or any other team for that matter, throughout the World Cup. These events did not prove to be mutually exclusive, with all but one respondent engaging in at least two of the three. So, it’s safe to say that if you’ve steered clear of any of these, you’re in the minority; and if you’ve avoided all three, then it’s not too late! I suspect we’re only going to continue witnessing such insane history being made.



[1] Ma, Wenlei. “‘The Barbenheimer effect’: Barbie and Oppenheimer smash Australian box office records”, The Guardian, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/jul/24/barbie-oppenheimer-australian-box-office-total-records-barbenheimer 


[2] Ward, Sarah. “It's Official: 'Barbie' Is Now 2023's Highest-Grossing Film and in the Top 15 of All Time”, Concrete Playground, 4 Sep. 2023, https://concreteplayground.com/brisbane/arts-entertainment/barbie-box-office 


[3] Francis, Chantelle, and Borg, Rebecca. “Staggering number of fans waiting for Swift tickets breaks record - as Ticketek repels half a billion bots”, News.com.au, 29 Jun. 2023, https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/tours/mistake-taylor-swift-fans-are-making-when-trying-to-buy-tickets/news-story/eca0b63a187302323381db5d844fb778 


[4] Buckingham-Jones, Sam. “Matildas smash ceiling as total TV audience soars past 11m”, Australian Financial Review, 17 Aug. 23, https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/matildas-free-to-air-tv-audiences-eclipse-7m-for-first-time-in-decades-20230817-p5dx7q 


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