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12th Apr 2022

Let’s talk about the ‘That Girl’ trend – and why it can be toxic

You know That Girl on social media.

She wakes up at at sunrise every morning and fits in a full gym session before 7am. She showers, completes a skincare routine, meditates, journals, then finds the time to make poached eggs on avocado toast for breakfast before starting her day being super successful at work. All before you’ve even woke up.

She’s all about goals, motivation, fulfilment, wellness and seems to be perpetually sipping on a green juice. She’s really got her life together. And hey, I’m not hating – fair play to you if you can do that every day of the week and never burn out. But for the majority of us, it’s just not attainable.  I’m also willing to bet that’s it not even attainable for the women portraying themselves to have attained it.

To be clear, That Girl is no one in particular, rather it’s a trend on TikTok, a very specific type of influencer – thin, attractive, typically white – that many young women are aspiring to be like. And it makes sense – who wouldn’t want to be the best, most productive, perfect version of themselves?

@.pinterestsummer ??‍♀️??‍♀️#fyp #foryou #pinterest #workout #thatgirl #productive #healthy ♬ rock your body – favsoundds

Once upon a time, we longed to be like models in magazines, now we wanna be like That Girl. The hashtag has almost 2 billion views on TikTok and this kind of content has really peaked in the last few months.

By scrolling through That Girl videos on the platform, you can find out exactly how to change your life and become her.

On the surface, That Girl content seems harmless. A lot of the advice is even genuinely good advice, like drink more water and get more sleep.

So how exactly can self-improvement and wellness be toxic?

Ultimately, the That Girl trend is just another way to promote unrealistic high standards for women. Some critics argue that it promotes an incessant need to strive for perfection, something that can have a massively negative impact on our mental health.

Others say the whole thing reeks of privilege – it’s only attainable to those who can afford to spend their money on wellness products – fancy journals, crystals, scented candles, jade rollers, etc.

@.becomethat.girl become that girl with me. we start tomorrow. follow to join our journey. #thatgirl #fyp #4u #foryoupage #follow #like #aesthetic #monday ♬ Seaside_demo by SEB – SEB

And in this way, it’s another clever trick by capitalism – just like it duped us with the girl boss and hustle culture.

Sure, the That Girl trend isn’t as in your face as the above, but it’s giving eerily similar vibes.

It’s important to note here that I don’t think any of the women who partake in these trends are bad people or that they have bad intentions. At the core of this is trend is a desire to show others how to reach your goals and become their so-called best selves.

But the videos do portray the idea that a buying an expensive green juice and completing a yoga session are the key to becoming the best you you can be.

Obviously, this isn’t true. The best version of you is the healthiest and happiest one – and that looks different for everyone.