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Is the 'That Girl' Aesthetic Toxic?

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Nobody’s perfect, and yet, the ‘that girl’ aesthetic perpetuates this. First trending on Tiktok, this aesthetic glamourises the idealised life of waking up early, eating healthily, and relaxing in coffee shops. However, as a trend obsessed with the perfect life, surely this aesthetic is toxic?

Interlinked with 'self-care', a well-meaning movement that became a consumerist-driven trend, 'that girl' is supposed to promote a healthy lifestyle, but instead, focuses on looking healthy to others. There are a plethora of TikTok accounts now showing this aesthetic; when you search ‘that girl’ on Pinterest, screenshots of Instagram users’ stories appear. Although the aesthetic depicts a perfect lifestyle, so much of it appears online. With this in mind, the depth behind the aesthetic is lost — people are not so much interested in being healthy, but rather, presenting themselves in a certain way.

The fact that when you search ‘that girl’, onto Pinterest, one of the first search terms afterward is ‘Instagram inspiration’ says a lot about this aesthetic. People are not so much interested in the lifestyle, but rather, the perception of themselves.

An issue also lies with the image of healthy eating. This fixation on healthy food could easily trigger some people into eating disorders. Plus, the ‘that girl’ aesthetic does not have an end-goal, which promotes working towards an unachievable goal. When will someone know they have become ‘that girl,’ when the description is so loose, there is no way to know when you have reached this goal?

Refinery29’s article also suggests that this trend excludes black women. If you search 'that girl' on any social media, the results are heavily whitewashed. Unintentionally, this sends the message that the trend is only accessible for white women.

The trend had pure intentions, however, as it has snowballed, the goal has become unachievable and the motivational message once behind it, redundant.

We can all take the idea of eating well and looking after ourselves into our stride, however, when it becomes obsessive, it is no longer healthy living. If we truly wanted to become ‘that girl’, we would simply have to be kind to ourselves — no Instagram post required.

Edited by Lucy Eaton


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