It is 10pm on a school night. I should be asleep by now, but here I am, scrolling through my phone – the dictionary definition of ‘teenage screen addiction’.
The pictures and videos bore me as I move my thumb, trying to find some form of entertainment in a world oversaturated with content.
Then I come across a TikTok video. But I’m on Pinterest, I think to myself. What’s a TikTok video doing here?
Curiosity gets the better of me and I click. The video, titled ‘That Girl Morning Routine,’ is a series of aesthetic shots of a girl getting up at sunrise from a luxurious white bed, changing off-camera into a cute workout outfit and lifting weights as she smiles at her reflection in the mirror.
She takes a cold shower, wrapping her damp hair in a towel before going onto her multi-step skincare routine. She then goes downstairs and makes herself a healthy yogurt bowl with fresh fruits, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with lightly toasted nuts.
“Sheesh,” I think to myself. “That girl sure is lucky.”
One video leads to another, and the next thing you know, my entire front page is filled with aesthetic ‘That Girl’ pictures.
My YouTube homepage has people giving tips on how to ‘glow up’ and how to upgrade your skincare routine. The advertisements only show me those cute workout sets, that scented candle, that gorgeous leather journal – I’m practically drowning in this stuff!
According to the urban dictionary, ‘That Girl’ is a girl that gets up early, meditates, drinks smoothies, writes journals, eats only healthy food, goes to the gym every day, and is successful in many ways. She is the girl you’re jealous of, and yet, secretly want to be.
The trend grew to fame on TikTok, right behind the self-care movement and glow-up trend. With many of us being stuck at home in a pandemic, people online took the opportunity to transform themselves into ‘That Girl’, putting more effort into creating the healthy lifestyle that they always wanted to have.
On the surface, it seems like the trend is quite harmless, right? Who wouldn’t want to have a healthier lifestyle and a more successful life? But as I delved deeper and deeper into this trend, I began to realise the hidden toxicity it held.
First, many of the ‘That Girl’ videos have the same things in common with each other. Those wanting to participate in these trends would obviously want to purchase these same items, which we may not even use for anything other than to film that one TikTok video.
For example, many ‘That Girl’ routines feature drinking water from a glass mason jar, rather than a normal water bottle. While this looks great on camera, investing in one of these jars, simply to fit in with the trend, would be a waste when you already have a perfectly fine water bottle at home.
Secondly, ‘That Girl’ videos seem to always feature a Caucasian from a middle- to upper-class income bracket. These girls have luxurious white beds and live in neighbourhoods with clean and safe parks that they can run alone in, early in the morning. They can also afford to buy ring lights and high-quality cameras, which only further romanticise the life they post online.
This causes two problems – it ostracises women from other ethnicities and backgrounds from the trend, and creates the false belief that only people with money can afford to have a healthy lifestyle.
Thirdly, many ‘That Girl’ routines are completely unrealistic to those of us who are schooling or working. This is especially so in the case of the morning routines, where ‘That Girl’ wakes up “earlier than the rest of the world” at 6am, goes for a morning run for an hour, comes home to shower and do skincare for half an hour, journal for another half hour, slowly make breakfast, and be ready to start the day by 10am.
Meanwhile, I wake up at 6am so that I can catch the train to school on time and arrive five minutes before class starts. Even washing my hair in the morning, which could take me an extra 10 minutes to dry, can make me late, so going for a morning run, journaling, and spending half an hour on a 25-step skincare routine is completely out of the question.
‘That Girl’ is not completely bad. It is good to push yourself to wake up early to exercise and eat a healthy breakfast, as well as write a journal or listen to an educational podcast. Prioritising mental and physical health is something we should all strive for.
However, we should remember that ‘That Girl’ is a 30-second TikTok video that had been heavily edited and reshot before being posted on the Internet. Like all other trends, it can be problematic.
While striving to become ‘That Girl’ is admirable, ‘That Girl’ is not a real person. None of us can ever truly be her. We are all humans, after all.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.
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