Alex’s Thoughts: Being “That Girl,” Is Not Worth It

An alarm clock rings at 5 a.m. a sliver of light peeks through her white curtains. With a slice of avocado toast and an oat milk latte sitting on her desk, she reaches for her daily affirmations journal. She is ready to take on the day. She is “that girl.”

Raging across social media platforms, the “that girl” lifestyle emphasizes being the best version of oneself, aiming to prompt a healthier and productive way of living. While being fed by its motivation content may be seemingly harmless, the “that girl” product is enforcing a mold to fit and encouraging poor eating habits amongst young teens.

To be “that girl” is not just a trend, but rather a lifestyle. A lifestyle with pretty planners, Lululemon, iced coffee and a seemingly perfect life. It encourages people – especially young girls – to “to live their best lives” by partaking in constant goal setting and self-reflection, but also purchasing those god-awful white Lululemon shorts.

At the surface level, this trend sounds amazing – or at least, much better than teaching children to eat Tide Pods . Encouraging children to set goals and be healthy sounds more like what we need on TikTok. But a journey to transform into “that girl,” you only discover the dark side of the pretty stationary and $20 salads.

The “that girl” trend on TikTok is a breeding ground for negativity.

It gives anonymous faces an excuse to spew toxic expectations onto young girls. Users will repeatedly slam girls who don’t eat healthy every day or don’t exercise as “gross.” They scrutinize girls with oily skin or hair, calling them terms such as “dirty” or “musty,” and actively exclude young women of color. Creating the feel that everyone needs to live the same life, looking exactly the same.

Users also categorize girls based on the clothing brands they wear, deeming Lululemon and Brandy Melville as the only acceptable brands. Not only can Lululemon clothing prices veer into the “hundreds of dollars” range, but brands like Brandy Melville also promote unrealistic body standards. Their motto being “one size fits all” aiming clothes towards skinner girls. One size does not, in fact, fit all.

The “that girl” trend is teaching young girls that only skinny, white, rich girls can be idealized in society. Teaching girls who don’t “fit” into that standard aren’t living up to their full potential.

Girls who can’t afford $100 leggings or organic salads every meal are now being told that because of these circumstances, of which they have no control, they aren’t worthy of appreciation, which can harm their self-image.

Along with being a classist and materialistic mess, the “that girl” trend is blatantly misogynistic. Only girls are being held to this standard of cleanliness and productivity; I haven’t seen a single man on TikTok be shamed for the oil on his skin or hair, nor have I seen someone openly shaming a man for eating at a fast-food restaurant. In fact, this trend is directed only at girls, and that if a man participated in it, his comment section would not even closely resemble what I see in most girls’ comment sections.

This trend teaches young girls that the only way to be “worthy” is to conform to the age-old stereotypes of beauty. Telling girls that they’re not valid unless they’re productive and drink green juices doesn’t help promote goal setting in any way. If anything, it makes them less motivated to make personal goals and more motivated to focus on superficial standards that they “need to fit into”.

And sure, being “that girl” could add consistency into your life, but it can take away the spice you do have in it. There’s something so liberating about having a half-eaten cupcake for breakfast as opposed to avocado toast every single day. It’s captivating to stay in your home all day, doing your math homework and watching Netflix. Being unique is what makes everyone different, allowing for personal expressions to be shown easier

So, I’m telling you , it’s okay if you’re not “that girl.” Really, it is. You don’t need to wear buttery leggings or eat healthy foods for breakfast all the time. You don’t need to vlog your foods for breakfast all the time. You don’t need to vlog your 6 a.m. workouts and aesthetic planner to flaunt a flawless productive lifestyle. You don’t need to fit society’s warped ideals of productivity or vlog every aspect of your life, TikTok’s random user’s opinion doesn’t matter.