Words by: Maya Art by: Jessica La
There’s a new trend going around, and if you’re addicted to TikTok like me, you’ve probably seen at least one video about becoming “that girl”. Basically, it’s where influencers — generally White, skinny girls — make TikToks about becoming the best version of themselves by sharing aesthetically pleasing moments from their day. This often includes a 5am wakeup to watch the sunrise, followed by morning meditation, a perfect piece of avocado toast, a 5km run and a green juice smoothie — all before 10am. For some, this might seem like a perfectly harmless trend designed to improve your life, but for others, it can be incredibly toxic.
On one hand, this trend motivates people to take care of themselves. I mean, when you see everyone working out, eating healthy and taking care of their mental health, how could you not? I’ll admit, I found myself in a rut during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wasn’t working out at all. I had lost my motivation. Yet repeatedly seeing people living their best lives motivated me to do the same. I started going on walks daily. Some days, it was just to the local 7-Eleven to get a slurpee. Other days, it was to Coles to get some snacks. And yes, while it might seem counterintuitive to exercise just to buy snacks, going on those walks improved my mental health, and I was able to make it a habit.
Although despite the benefits this trend had for me, it really managed to impact my mental health. Why? “That girl” was almost always skinny and White. There was no diversity at all and as a Person of Colour (PoC), this frustrated me. The lack of representation of people of different backgrounds (and even body types) meant that I felt like I could not partake in this lifestyle and that it was not made for people like me.
To add fuel to the fire, we seem to forget that the people who indulge in these trends tend to work in social media and earn money from making these aesthetic videos and selling us this aesthetic way of life. Therefore, it makes sense that they have the time to embody typical “that girl” habits — because it’s literally their job. Many of us are not afforded this same luxury and instead are at university, working multiple jobs, volunteering and balancing responsibilities. I mean, how am I supposed to meal prep or go on my morning run when I have four assignments due at 11:59pm?
So, with this in mind, I think it’s important to remember, even if you do possess all those habits, the reality is still messy. Life is naturally imperfect. Not every day is going to look like an Instagram-worthy picture. These influencers may have made it look like their highlight reel is their reality, but aesthetically pleasing photos don’t show you everything. For example, they don’t show you the dishes they had to clean up before taking a photo of their breakfast. They don’t show you the multiple cameras, the lights, and the millions of attempts it took to get that perfect shot. They definitely don’t show you the green smoothies that didn’t make the cut. You don’t see the hours editing the photos either. It all lies behind a camera.
If it was up to me? I’d say that everyone is “that girl” in one way or another. It just might not look picture-perfect, and that is okay. It doesn’t have to be aesthetic all the time. You don’t need to post to your thousands of Instagram followers to show them that you’re “that girl”. Go on walks. Ride a bike. Play basketball. Choose the activities that make you happy. You don’t have to eat avocado toast to be healthy 一 oatmeal is fine too (even if it doesn’t look as pretty). Being “that girl” is more than the aesthetics: it’s about building habits that make you happy. So as long as the things you do make you happy. You are “that girl”.