2010 Was Our Decade and 2020 is too
There’s something funny about your 30s. It’s knowing (significantly) more than you did in your 20s. But we couldn’t have gotten here without that foundation.
As the internet looks back on the last decade and we embark on a new one, I couldn’t help but observe a glorious truth. Those seminal years, for us, were full of pop culture that not only inspires but speaks to the realities we collectively experienced.
The 2010s–when so many of us were experiencing early adulthood in an internet age–were ours.
Who is this “ours” I speak of?
The 2010s belonged to millennial women, full stop. Sifting through all the "best of the decade" lists over the past week brought more than a little nostalgia. But more importantly, we saw dynamic, twenty-something women (and women of color!), with things to SAY. With goals to achieve and a distinct point of view that reflected a truth that was never before seen. Young women had a platform, a purpose, and the world--FINALLY--was starting to wisen up that maybe there's more to life than a "boys will be boys" agenda. From breakups that fueled billion-dollar startups and triple platinum albums to Beyoncé letting us into her inner sanctum, this is a list of the lessons found in the inspiring work in movies, music, TV and business that, over the last decade, made being a normal, relatable, flawed woman was more than okay-it's what made us more powerful.
1. Don’t mess with a girl who has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it.
Taylor Swift, Cardi B and Ariana Grande make a career out of outing the f*ckboys in their lives. Sure, polarizing. But you know what, they’re laughing all the way to the bank. Ariana Grande had the most-watched video on YouTube in 24 hours with Thank U, Next. Taylor took it up a notch by exposing and challenging one of the most powerful men in music. Cardi B is the ONLY solo woman to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album. In the age of movements, whether you agree or not, you have to give these women props for not being afraid to live their truth.
2. When a woman goes "crazy," look at the circumstances.
Choosing my favorite books of the best of the 2010s is too hard because this past decade had some of the most incredible books by women since like, the Brontes probably. But for me, a few stand out with a common thread of the 2010s: Don’t call us crazy if you made us this way! Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Room by Emma Donaghue — sure, some bad choices were made but MY GOD some of those guys had it coming.
3. Even Beyoncé goes through some sh*t.
We grew up with Beyoncé. We threw his pager out the window back in the Destiny’s Child days. We found our Sasha Fierce. But then we experienced Lemonade. We were older. We have seen some things and Queen B was right there with us. The critically acclaimed album gave us a look inside Beyonce’s marital issues. Into her reality. It happens. It’s how you bounce back that matters.
4. Women were finally themselves–and speaking for themselves–on TV.
Parks and Recreation, Veep and Broad City were not only hilarious, self-deprecating looks at what it can be like to be a woman in leadership, but it shows what happens when you put women in charge of the writers’ room. Then you have the chilling Handmaids Tale, complicated roles of Daenerys and Cersei on Game of Throne, QEII in The Crown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and frankly SO MANY MORE, we see how the world FINALLY has come around to seeing women as a challenge, a threat, and most importantly, a powerful being that can and will change the world all while being equally soft, beautiful, empathetic and embracing of the feminine in every way. We can be both. *Shocking*
5. The kids are over the damsel in distress thing.
The commercial success of blockbusters like Wonder Woman, Frozen and the first female Captain Marvel blockbusters prove that we’re doing GREAT in showing the next generation that not only do you not need a Prince Charming, but the girl can be the hero. Behind the scenes, directors like Kathryn Bigelow and Greta Gerwig, as well as actresses-turned-producers like Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are showing up alongside their male cohorts on the awards circuit. What’s more, my favorite unsung storyline in Frozen: Love between sisters > boys. #yesplease
6. We made waves in the start-up circuit–and Wall Street couldn't ignore it.
Via Travel + Leisure
The amount of venture capital funding female-run businesses DOUBLED this decade. We’re talking $17.2 billion in 2019. And that’s just last year. Just think of the brands dominating the mainstream: Glossier, Bumble, Spanx, Orange Theory, Away, and SO many more. Here in Miami, the community of female-run businesses that have popped up in the last 10 years prove that there's something in the water and women are behind it. Cheers to running boardrooms in the next decade.
It's truly undeniable. Culture grew up with millennial women at the center this past decade. So watch out 2020s, because if the 2010s were our learning years, then this next decade will see this generation of women unafraid to step into their power. We’re older and we're wiser–a generation empowered. And I am here for it.
Carmen Graham is a writer and content strategist out of Miami, with a history in New York. She lives with her husband and (very woke) baby boys in Coconut Grove.