The summer release of Barbie the movie has painted the town in all shades of vibrant pink. Embraced by women and men of all ages, theatregoers have been sporting their brightest pink outfits to participate in the candy-colored movie experience. “Despite long being associated with submission and passivity, the color pink has been reclaimed, symbolizing subversiveness—which is embraced in the new Barbie film,” journalist Clare Thorp writes in a July BBC article.

Aesthetics aside, the movie has sparked a renewed momentum in reframing femininity which focuses on female independence, possibilities, and empowerment. It takes viewers to a fantastical world where “all problems of feminism and equal right have been solved,” and highlights the continued challenges many women are facing today.

This week, Barbie surpasses $1 billion in global box office sales, making it one of the biggest movies to be directed by one woman and cementing Greta Gerwig’s success in female-forward movies. Despite Barbie’s complicated history with feminism, Gerwig has managed to integrate tough societal topics, as well as keeping the overarching tone colorful, fun and empathetic. “My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men,” Gerwig told the New York Times in a July interview.

Barbie celebrates over $1 billion worldwide. Image courtesy of Business Wire

Channeling this carefree femininity, luxury fashion brand Valentino went all in on one shade of hot pink for their fall/winter 2022/23 Pink PP Collection. The concept was to “do more with less, maximizing expressive possibilities in the apparent lack of possibilities.”

Pantone even predicted the rise of a hyper feminine aesthetic. This year’s Pantone Color of the Year is Viva Magenta, a shade that Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute describes as, “audacious, full of wit and inclusive for all.” What’s more, “it’s brave, it’s fearless, it depicts optimism and joy.” In the Future 100: 2023’s edition, the trend “elevated expressionism” predicts promise amid uncertain times, noting people are leaning into the joyconomy.

Call it what you want—Barbiecore, pinktopia, femininity 2.0—the sea of pink has become a symbol of women reclaiming and reframing the color as one that embodies the extremes of being feminine—hyper femininity.

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