Becoming That Girl (#ThatGirl): One Of TikTok’s Hottest Trend

Backgrounder – Blog Post #3

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Ever heard of the famous trending phrase circulating all over social media: Becoming That Girl? It has actually become part of TikTok’s lingo with over 1.3 billion views on the app using the #ThatGirl hashtag. It is known as the Wellness version of Summer 2019’s trendy phrase: Hot Girl Summer.

The trend sees women creating videos documenting their daily routines, on their quest to become ‘That Girl’ . The idea is to encourage self-improvement, focussing mainly on productivity and mental health.

Becoming popular back in April 2021, an idea created on social media of a girl who has her life together from aesthetic pleasing meals, peak fitness journeys, to reading for pleasure, and having the perfect self care routine resembling a moving Pinterest board.

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Over the summer, the trend has also caught on in YouTube’s lifestyle community, with different creators testing the trend or uploading how-to guides. With over 2.33 billion search results on Google  and 106 million available videos linked to Becoming That Girl, demonstrates how powerful this movement is and continues to be. 

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The Core Elements

“That girl” videos explore the concepts below, while making sure it follows a certain aesthetic :

– early wake-up time (preferably around 5:00 am or so!) ⏰, making an aesthetic meal (we’re thinking famous avo toats with lots of fruits) 🥑🍌🍍, having a skin care (morning and night routine) 🧖🏼‍♀️💄, connecting with nature 🌿, working out ( ideally with a matching set) 🏃🏼‍♀️💪🏽, drinking LOTS of water 💧💧, dedicating time for a journaling session ✍🏻, hair clips (outfit staples!!) 🎀 and so much more.

The Controversy Around “Becoming That Girl

What could possibly be wrong with a viral trend promoting a healthy and mindful lifestyle? What was so bad about encouraging others towards achieving the best version of themselves and reaching one’s set goals?

As millions hopped onto the trend, many believe that this trend can quickly turn problematic and even dangerous as it promotes disordered eating and prioritizes toxic productivity. It also happens to be a trend predominantly followed by heteronormative white women from a specific socio-economic background.

As you might have noticed with the pictures above, the body image portrayed in this trend totally lacks diversity and paints an unrealistic portrayal of personal growth. The “That Girl” trend sells a lifestyle that gives the illusion of being put together. It is trendy because of the idea that life would be perfect if only you could be That Girl.

The trend is just a singular example of our infatuation with aestheticism. The term “aesthetic” is becoming more and more involved within our course of actions, dialogue and consumed social media. It seems we’ve gotten a little confused and now we’re into a phase where the aesthetic is dictating our choices. And this creates a toxic environment where comparison and feelings of “not being enough” may occur. 

If “That Girl” has proven anything, it’s that every individual has a unique experience with social media and the trends that emerge from it. While some might think that the ‘That Girl’ trend is an efficient tool towards achieving self-worth, others have had the total opposite experience.

Check out the following article by Sarah Beane for a list of pros and cons in relation to the trend.

Now that you are a bit more familiar with the trend, I am curious to know your opinion! Is the trend Becoming #ThatGirl potentially doing more harm than good?

3 thoughts on “Becoming That Girl (#ThatGirl): One Of TikTok’s Hottest Trend”

  1. Hi Laura, thanks so much for your post! I have heard of #hotgirlsummer but not of becoming #thatgirl. Speaking from personal experience, I have had many times where I tell myself that I’m going to get on a good/healthy schedule, wake up early and workout on Monday, but by Tuesday…my well intentioned plans have been foiled by road beers and beef jerky. I think setting more realistic goals in our lives, ones that don’t prioritize — like you said — unhealthy eating or toxic productivity would be much better. I think this also reflects a more general discussion that people are having regarding Tik Tok and how we shouldn’t be taking content creator’s content as gospel. We have learned about how some creators have leaned into this online “authenticity” which can be crafted to make people think the creator is super real and relatable. I think Tik Tok gives creators the chance to utilize this on a new level as they can post very often, videos seem more personal and unscripted, and the platform is very informal. Moreover, Tik Tok caters to a younger demographic–young teenagers/adults who are very impressionable. So to answer your question, I think this trend can do more harm than good because of the platform it is going viral on.

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    1. Wow, thank you for your response! I can totally relate to you as I try to follow these trends as well but am never fully successful..
      You bring out an interesting point that TikTok is a platform dedicated for a younger demographic-young teenagers/adults and I truly think this, originally, well intended trend, is actually causing more harm than good. It is quite unrealistic and sets the expectations of wellness, mental health and overall happiness SOOO high! Life is not just ALL positive and that is wayyyy ok! However, it is never depicted or acknowledge in this type of content.

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  2. You raise a really good point on the history level of #becomingthatgirl, from what it was initially created to do, to where social media now has brought it — total opposite. To raise women up, to now bringing them down in terms of comparison…

    I espeically LOVED the layout you used and it kept everything concise and easy on the eyes!

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