Why you don’t have to be “That Girl”


Imagine this. You are in your late teens/early twenties, and for the first time in forever, you have a little bit of time for yourself. You may not know it, but you really do value this time. However, you do not have the energy or motivation to go for a walk, pick up a book or paint. Instead, yes you guessed right, the easiest thing to do is to pick up your phone. You are bored of Snapchat, these days Instagram just makes you feel like shit, and you only use Facebook to keep in contact with your grandparents. Instead, you choose to scroll through the glitzy, glamorous, and still new TikTok. Meanwhile, you wish to improve your life, you long to become more productive, and really you feel it is about time to take steps to improve your mental health. Perhaps as well, you have been through quite a bit of crap in the past, giving you a greater desire to reach a happier and healthier mindset. Lucky for you then, there are plenty of these short “self-improvement” videos in TikTok. In fact, these have become so desired that they have come to be known as “that girl.” You understand that there must be a reason for this because you are aware that you and some of your friends do not really have the healthiest lifestyle or have the healthiest of mindsets, yet all of you want to change this. 

What Being “That Girl” Means? 

This was also what I was wondering when I first came across this term. But the term refers to a young woman who at least seems to life a highly desirable and healthy lifestyle. While, as you can guess, “that girl” is used to motivate people to improve their lifestyles. Usually, it involves someone waking up early, sometimes at a ridiculous time, which in my view is any time before 7 (edit, now being before 9, but that is probably because I am now at university)! Following this, she always works out usually sporting some overly fancy (and expensive) gym wear, either in “a complex home step up or at a fancy gym.” Then before making herself breakfast, usually featuring about 5 different fruits and nothing much else she will often pose in front of the mirror showing off her perfected ab line. 

What it is Supposed to Achieve 

Ever heard the expression “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Unfortunately, I have, far too many times, as a younger teenager! But we know that for some reason, most would consider it better to wake up early, then go to bed early, rather than the other way round. Is this healthier? How can any of us be sure? However, waking up early is certainly associated with a more productive lifestyle. Because all these videos clearly promote productivity as well as just health, therefore the earlier one can wake up, the more productive they can be right? Consequently, these videos should be able to motivate others to manage to wake up, shower (presumably), work out, eat, and turn on their bloody laptop for work or whatever before 7am. Yet it is true that some people are naturally night owls, meaning they work better later on in the day/night, rather than first thing in the morning.  Nonetheless, these videos or anything relating to productivity culture, fails to acknowledge this, instead implying that the one and only way to live a productive life, is by waking up at these peculiar times, to suggest that people need to get as much shit done as soon as possible. The wider implication of this may be that people ought to rush to get as much done as soon as possible in their lives, rather than allowing themselves some time to take things more easily. Anyway, back to the quote. So why can a woman not be wealthy and wise like their male counterparts? Because the way I see this, “that girl” can be seen to empower females to aspire to the same high end jobs which men dominate, while hopefully become as accomplished. Even if it means having to use about 7 different skin care products each morning and consuming fewer than 1000 calories a day. We just do not have it easy! 

Toxic Productivity 

The number of hours “that girl” works each day remains a mystery, nonetheless the videos heavily stress the importance of productivity. And whilst we usually get to only see their morning routine, the more influenced viewers are likely to assume that she will continue to be productive throughout the day. Be it working long shifts, spending hours studying hard in the library at university, engaging in extra curriculars; or even more likely, all three! Whilst many of us wish that we could be this productive ourselves, this does reflect the extent to which toxic productivity prevails in our society today. 

Unhealthy? 

Despite the health focused stance which most of the videos take, if we dig a bit deeper, we can see how these videos do not necessarily promote the healthiest choices. One way is by which many of the videos tend to promote under eating, whereby one source estimated that the average “that girl” would consume fewer than 1200 calories a day. Being less than what is recommended for a toddler! Meanwhile, can anyone really regard one leading a life that is so busy that there is no time for them to really focus on themselves, or spend time with others, the healthiest of choices? 

Whitewashing 

I could promise you that if you were to head on to TikTok and type in “that girl”, the vast majority of videos would feature thin white girls. This is likely to be because of several factors, including TikTok’s algorithm and that possibly fewer girls of color are joining in on the trend. This suggests that TikTok still sees thin white girls as the ideal, meanwhile girls of colour often do not feel confident enough to join in on the trend. This way, it also sends a specific message to young women, that you can only join in with this trend and lead a successful life if you are white, thin and are from a wealthy family. This is parallel to the “Girlboss” fad, which encouraged young women to work their bums off to be able to accomplish as much work-related success as their male counterparts. Yet delving deeper, we could see how the option that being a “Girl-Boss” promoted, was only really open to women of an extremely specific, privileged background. 

So, I imagine that there are many females who sometimes wish they were “that girl”, whether they had heard about it or whether they have better things to be doing in their free time than aimlessly scrolling through TikTok! However, while on the surface this kind of lifestyle may seem like the ideal, from underneath we can see how this can usually be unrealistic, very exclusive, and even damaging. Therefore, next time you regret not having your life together, remember that health looks different on everyone, and while you may wish to lead a productive lifestyle, it is also essential to be able to take time for yourself. 

Imagine this. You are in your late teens/early twenties, and for the first time in forever, you have a little bit of time for yourself. You may not know it, but you really do value this time. However, you do not have the energy or motivation to go for a walk, pick up a book or paint. Instead, yes you guessed right, the easiest thing to do is to pick up your phone. You are bored of Snapchat, these days Instagram just makes you feel like shit, and you only use Facebook to keep in contact with your grandparents. Instead, you choose to scroll through the glitzy, glamorous, and still new TikTok. Meanwhile, you wish to improve your life, you long to become more productive, and really you feel it is about time to take steps to improve your mental health. Perhaps as well, you have been through quite a bit of crap in the past, giving you a greater desire to reach a happier and healthier mindset. Lucky for you then, there are plenty of these short “self-improvement” videos in TikTok. In fact, these have become so desired that they have come to be known as “that girl.” You understand that there must be a reason for this because you are aware that you and some of your friends do not really have the healthiest lifestyle or have the healthiest of mindsets, yet all of you want to change this. 

What Being “That Girl” Means? 

This was also what I was wondering when I first came across this term. But the term refers to a young woman who at least seems to life a highly desirable and healthy lifestyle. While, as you can guess, “that girl” is used to motivate people to improve their lifestyles. Usually, it involves someone waking up early, sometimes at a ridiculous time, which in my view is any time before 7 (edit, now being before 9, but that is probably because I am now at university)! Following this, she always works out usually sporting some overly fancy (and expensive) gym wear, either in “a complex home step up or at a fancy gym.” Then before making herself breakfast, usually featuring about 5 different fruits and nothing much else she will often pose in front of the mirror showing off her perfected ab line. 

What it is Supposed to Achieve 

Ever heard the expression “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Unfortunately, I have, far too many times, as a younger teenager! But we know that for some reason, most would consider it better to wake up early, then go to bed early, rather than the other way round. Is this healthier? How can any of us be sure? However, waking up early is certainly associated with a more productive lifestyle. Because all these videos clearly promote productivity as well as just health, therefore the earlier one can wake up, the more productive they can be right? Consequently, these videos should be able to motivate others to manage to wake up, shower (presumably), work out, eat, and turn on their bloody laptop for work or whatever before 7am. Yet it is true that some people are naturally night owls, meaning they work better later on in the day/night, rather than first thing in the morning.  Nonetheless, these videos or anything relating to productivity culture, fails to acknowledge this, instead implying that the one and only way to live a productive life, is by waking up at these peculiar times, to suggest that people need to get as much shit done as soon as possible. The wider implication of this may be that people ought to rush to get as much done as soon as possible in their lives, rather than allowing themselves some time to take things more easily. Anyway, back to the quote. So why can a woman not be wealthy and wise like their male counterparts? Because the way I see this, “that girl” can be seen to empower females to aspire to the same high end jobs which men dominate, while hopefully become as accomplished. Even if it means having to use about 7 different skin care products each morning and consuming fewer than 1000 calories a day. We just do not have it easy! 

Toxic Productivity 

The number of hours “that girl” works each day remains a mystery, nonetheless the videos heavily stress the importance of productivity. And whilst we usually get to only see their morning routine, the more influenced viewers are likely to assume that she will continue to be productive throughout the day. Be it working long shifts, spending hours studying hard in the library at university, engaging in extra curriculars; or even more likely, all three! Whilst many of us wish that we could be this productive ourselves, this does reflect the extent to which toxic productivity prevails in our society today. 

Unhealthy? 

Despite the health focused stance which most of the videos take, if we dig a bit deeper, we can see how these videos do not necessarily promote the healthiest choices. One way is by which many of the videos tend to promote under eating, whereby one source estimated that the average “that girl” would consume fewer than 1200 calories a day. Being less than what is recommended for a toddler! Meanwhile, can anyone really regard one leading a life that is so busy that there is no time for them to really focus on themselves, or spend time with others, the healthiest of choices? 

Whitewashing 

I could promise you that if you were to head on to TikTok and type in “that girl”, the vast majority of videos would feature thin white girls. This is likely to be because of several factors, including TikTok’s algorithm and that possibly fewer girls of color are joining in on the trend. This suggests that TikTok still sees thin white girls as the ideal, meanwhile girls of colour often do not feel confident enough to join in on the trend. This way, it also sends a specific message to young women, that you can only join in with this trend and lead a successful life if you are white, thin and are from a wealthy family. This is parallel to the “Girlboss” fad, which encouraged young women to work their bums off to be able to accomplish as much work-related success as their male counterparts. Yet delving deeper, we could see how the option that being a “Girl-Boss” promoted, was only really open to women of an extremely specific, privileged background. 

So, I imagine that there are many females who sometimes wish they were “that girl”, whether they had heard about it or whether they have better things to be doing in their free time than aimlessly scrolling through TikTok! However, while on the surface this kind of lifestyle may seem like the ideal, from underneath we can see how this can usually be unrealistic, very exclusive, and even damaging. Therefore, next time you regret not having your life together, remember that health looks different on everyone, and while you may wish to lead a productive lifestyle, it is also essential to be able to take time for yourself. 

80% of users between the ages of 16-34

Why the ‘That Girl’ TikTok trend is more sinister than it seems  – Fashion Journal

Who Is “That Girl” on TikTok? – Popdust

Who Is ‘That Girl’ And Why Is TikTok Obsessed With Her? (refinery29.com)

let’s chat: Becoming “that girl” TikTok Trend (imerikamarie.com)

Published by Personally_Political

Hello! This is a mainly a blog containing posts concerning social, political and economic issues, although the commentary is mainly based on opinion. My name is Victoria, and I am the creator and currently the only contributor to this blog, and I am 19 years old and studying PPE at Swansea. Also, I am currently looking for writers for here, content creators on Instagram and designers. However the role would be very flexible according to what you would like to do. Therefore, if you or anyone you know would be interested in getting involved, then please don't hesitate to contact me at vickyyrose.02@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Why you don’t have to be “That Girl”

  1. I am super old for TikTok, but this reminds me a lot of the perfect bodies and perfect homes of the Mommy Influencers on social media in my demographic. They make their own baby food and have clutter free homes. This is a good reminder that we don’t need to let that get us down or suck us into toxic productivity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I think the ideal of looking as if everything is “put together” has been going around for a while, when in reality living up to those kinds of expectations is very difficult, unhealthy and undesirable for most people.

      Like

  2. You see “that girl” all over social media and honestly it gets a bit annoying. At first I wished I could be like that but over time I now understand how toxic that is and honestly I’m happy being me. No I don’t wake up super early, sleep on time, eat healthy low calorie foods only and look perfect all the time but at least I’m happy. I’ve tried to live like that and I was miserable the entire time.

    Liked by 1 person

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