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  • Georgia Clarke

How the ‘That Girl’ Trend Can Be Toxic: How To Be ‘That girl’ in a Healthy Way

There is always that one girl who seems to have her life together, the girl who we all wish we could be a little bit more like. She wakes up early, she drinks healthy shakes, she writes in journals. She embodies the ‘That Girl’ trend on TikTok, with thousands of others trying to be just like her.

But what exactly is the ‘That girl’ trend, and is it toxic?

From an outsider looking in, the ‘That girl’ trend seems mostly positive. It centres around the theme of personal growth and being able to better yourself and achieve your goals. Many of the videos on TikTok show the That Girl lifestyle: girls getting up early, working out, knowing their worth and eating a healthy breakfast, usually while most of us are still sleeping.

Although hard to pinpoint its origin, the ‘That girl’ trend has quickly taken over TikTok and Instagram reels. If you aren't familiar with the trend, think Pinterest-like 'aesthetic' videos.

The videos essentially demonstrate girls performing their 'That Girl' routines in attempts to be 'That Girl': the girl who is successful, productive and 'aesthetic.'

These videos show somewhat unrealistic lifestyle ideals that in some ways we could only dream of living up to, often creating feelings of envy and low-self esteem. However, for some, the trend acts as a way of sharing with others advice and guidance on how they too can be this version of themselves.

In fact, much of the ‘That girl’ advice is positive and if taken constructively can be really beneficial, such as drinking more water, sleeping more, being more productive, and arguably those participating in this trend have good intentions and are simply enjoying interacting and sharing ideas within a new, exciting trend.

However, some of the features of the 'That Girl' lifestyle may be described as unrealistic, inaccurately portraying a 'normal' lifestyle and the natural highs and lows which come with it. Some of these themes may venture into being slightly ridiculous if taken too seriously and may be received badly, encouraging unhealthy or negative behaviours and habits, for example:

  • 'Forget about boys you don’t need them'

  • 'Be direct, not desperate'

  • 'Workout even if you don't feel like it'

As seen in the examples above, these pieces are advice could become toxic if taken too seriously. This is worrying considering the audience on TikTok and Instagram, with many young and impressionable users being vulnerable to pushing these unrealistic expectations upon themselves. The crucial problem with the trend seems to be that it may show an idealised version of somebody's reality, leaving out the inevitable raw and gloomy parts of life.

As the trend grows in reach and popularity, there has been a rise in opposing videos that show that it is ok not to be ‘That girl’, and encourage people to be their own version of ‘That girl’. These videos are more realistic, showing that you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn, you don’t have to work out every day, you don’t have to buy expensive products/food and your room doesn’t have to be tidy all the time to be successful, happy or the 'best version' of yourself.

The more we see videos like this, the more that we can grow to accept that we as individuals don’t have to be perfect all the time and that happiness and a feeling of success are more complex than drinking a green shake every morning.

We recommend taking the trend with a pinch of salt, in the sense that the best way to embody this trend is to be realistic and honest with yourself. Of course, we all wish we could be ‘That Girl’ who jumps out of bed and lives to work out, but sometimes life just takes over, and that’s ok.

The best way to embody this trend is to just be you and be honest with yourself and don't pressurise yourself into meeting impossible standards.

The most important thing to remember is that trends come and go: as soon as one begins, another is in the making and another is ending. Trends are exciting and fun, but we must be aware of the trends that might be dangerous or unhealthy for people and society. Whilst there is no harm in following trends, remember to make them your own and to be kind and realistic with yourself.

Finally, don’t forget to create your own happiness, because no trend can make it for you. Be yourself and be your own ‘That Girl’.

Feature image courtesy of Austin Chan via Unsplash

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