The viral TikTok trend is aesthetically pleasing and insanely inspiring, but is it attainable?
One of TikTok’s more recent “lifestyle”-type trends is the “That Girl” vlog, which has almost certainly made an appearance on every teenager and 20-something’s For You Page in recent months.
The trend itself is meant to motivate young women to achieve the best version of themselves. In these videos, “That Girl” redirects her focus onto their health and wellbeing through early morning wakeups, daily cardio workouts, a healthy diet, a skincare routine, and mindful activities such as journaling or meditating. The vlogs under #ThatGirl are well-produced and edited, emulating an overall productive and peaceful vibe that young women aspire to embody. There’s a clean style to the TikToks that makes them especially aesthetically pleasing: neutral bedspreads, matching workout sets in solid colors, minimalist interior design.
And while the trend’s intentions are seemingly pure, there seems to be a level of inaccessibility to becoming “That Girl.”
For starters, there’s a lot of circumstantial assumptions being made when it comes to this supposedly “achievable” lifestyle: that the viewer can afford to buy healthy foods to meal prep with, that they have access to safe, open spaces for their “hot girl walks,” that they have time each morning to stretch and set their daily intentions in a journal. There is an inherent privilege in having excessive free time, space in the home, and the ability to buy whole, organic foods daily, which the vlogs simply don’t take into account.
Oftentimes, the holistic meals that are shown in the videos often contain a multitude of health-food ingredients, and less-popular organic produce products that are impractical to buy in bulk. These recipes require both the grocery budget and the prep time that not all young people can afford.
To contribute to the overall light and airy vibe of the videos, there are also a few essential products that are key to this self-focused, wellness-based lifestyle: large candle collections, formatted/guided journals, athleisure sets for meditation and workouts, yoga mats and weighted arm bands. The sheer cost of these items alone can make this aesthetic seem far out of reach.
It also seems as though this idealized “girl” lives alone (usually in a modern, high-rise city apartment) with spacious room for cooking and working out. For those who live with roommates or family members, there may not be adequate space nor time for such drawn-out skincare routines or meditation sessions, as to be considerate to other members of the household or apartment.
Furthermore, the videos use language that implies that this type of routine is simply a matter of discipline and responsibility (“This is your sign to become ‘That Girl,’” or “Focusing on bettering myself”). And while this type of content might be appropriate and fitting for those with privilege, the TikTok algorithm enables this type of content to be shown to all.
When reading the comments under the top viral videos of the trend, there are common themes of girls and young women expressing frustration or defeat of not being able to follow the exact step-by-step daily routine of the content creators. One viral “That Girl” TikTok is a short vlog overlaid with the text “POV: you’re becoming the best version of yourself.” In the video, the creator wakes up at 6:30am, exercises in various outdoor locations, and prepares an elaborate smoothie bowl for breakfast. The content creator, similar to most users participating in this trend, is white, able-bodied, thin, and presumably wealthy based on the shots of her home, her high-quality workout equipment and high-end beauty products.
The top comment under the video? “POV: you have money and free time.” Others read “This looks hard” and “I’m poor, though.” The insecurity and discouragement that these viewers feel is apparent, and completely valid — between financial circumstances, mental health struggles, and limited time while juggling various responsibilities, the lifestyle depicted in these TikToks is frankly unattainable for the majority of young women.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves and achieve a sense of balance and routine in this increasingly chaotic world. The sentiment of the trend, which is to cut out sources of toxicity in our lives by refocusing on our wellbeing, is admirable, as it encourages young women to achieve self-confidence through stability and healthy routine.
But when the internet’s version of “success” and “healthy living” is limited to one body type and a morning routine that has the prerequisite of being luxurious, immaculately clean, and aesthetically pleasing, trends like these become sources of insecurity amongst young, impressionable individuals who then struggle to feel content with their average lifestyles.
If you’re someone for whom following this trend is inaccessible for any number of reasons, remember: not having $150 to spend on a matching workout set, or the time to whip up a blueberry iced matcha with oat milk between classes, is not reflective of your worth. We can all redefine what it means to be “That Girl” on our own terms, by creating a consistent routines that are realistic and make our overall wellness a priority.