For months now, TikTok posts about people who aspire to be “that girl” have subtly popped up — so much so that it became the official term for an aesthetic focused on wellness and living life in a way that utilizes earth tones and neutral colors in a visually stunning way.
The “that girl” trend takes notes from Hot Girl Summer in that it’s pretty pure. The meaning of Megan Thee Stallion’s motif is simple — be hot, be a girl and exist in the summer.
To be “that girl,” be the person who you would see on social media and think, “oh, she’s that girl. The girl who does all those things that I know I’m supposed to do, but I don’t.” Because of this, there’s a sense of jealousy built into the term. You want to be her, you know you should be more like that, but who has the time or energy?
Instead of focusing on having fun and looking good — two perfectly acceptable goals, by the way — “that girl” wakes up at dawn, does her chores when she comes across them, keeps up with the pretty journals she buys at the store and makes herself an elaborate, fruity breakfast before the rest of the world has even hit snooze. That determined, hardworking spirit is similar to that of the girlboss of yesteryear.
Since the only way to prove that you’re “that girl” is to post about it on social media, there’s a bit of a performative aspect to it. You might be living an aesthetically pleasing lifestyle just to inspire those feelings of “ugh, that girl” in others, but in the process, it’s likely you are actually accomplishing those things and getting a sense of fulfillment from that.
Living a beautiful life online can actually make you feel better. Multiple studies have shown that “faking it ’til you make it” actually works to boost confidence and happiness.
“It’s better than drugs,” the audio in one TikTok video titled “trying to be that girl” said.
Romanticizing the mundane things in your life, like making your own coffee and watering your own plants, can ultimately make those dreadful chores much more enjoyable. Without tiny inconveniences, your days may seem a lot brighter.
On her list were actions such as “start going on a walk every day,” “find a signature scent” and “stop posting crying selfies.” Easy enough, right?
Like any sort of lifestyle trend, it isn’t all yoga and granola. Some people have critiqued the “that girl” trend. It’s not uncommon to see variations of the words “no thanks” in the comments of “that girl” posts.
For one, it’s not always achievable. Some people are too busy and don’t have access to the expensive products necessary to make their lives seem perfectly manicured.
Though healthy eating and regular exercise can help your mental health, it’s a slippery slope toward diet culture. Become “that girl” because you want your lifestyle to reflect the respect you have for yourself, not because you want to look like someone else who seems happy.
Green juice doesn’t have the power to generate self-love — only you can do that.
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If you enjoyed this story, check out our guide to the latest terms, trends and influencers that are popular on TikTok and with Gen Z.
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