February 11, 2022 | LIFE | By Hannah Van Zandt | Illustration By Patil Khakhamian

TikTok is the place for all kinds of aesthetics to emerge. Ranging from “cottage-core” to “old money” to “dark academia,” each has taken the platform by storm with the specific ‘look’ they have.

In the past year, the ‘that girl’ aesthetic has quickly taken over the platform. With more than 2.6 billion videos under the hashtag #thatgirl, it has quickly become the lifestyle that women strive to live. But what does this mean? Why is there such an obsession with this kind of living? And is this a healthy aesthetic to follow?

Being ‘that girl’ is living the perfect life. You wake up early in the morning, make a pretty breakfast, work out, get all your work done, and have an extensive skincare routine. This trend revolves around health and wellness, treating yourself from the inside and not the outside. It’s all about self-improvement and at the same time, romanticizing your life to the fullest. Often, these videos will give tips and insight on the everyday lives of those who consider themselves to be ‘that girl.’

Some find this way of living positive and inspirational. Going on TikTok and seeing a woman your age posting this content makes you want to live your idealistic life.

It helps some stay motivated, be productive, and get into a routine to the best of their ability. They do it for themselves, not looking for validation or trying to appear a certain way. It’s an honest lifestyle and focuses on the small pleasures in life.

That being said, there are parts of this trend that can be particularly discouraging and damaging to viewers. If you look at the majority of the people who post this content, they are all the same: white, skinny, and wealthy. These factors give the impression that this kind of self-care is unattainable if you do not look like these women.

This imagery can be unrealistic, toxic, and especially harmful to young audiences who feel the pressure of doing all these things. Under the TikTok comment sections, you can often see others reminding viewers that you do not have to have money or look a certain way to attain ‘that girl’ lifestyle.

TikTok has had a bad reputation of being materialistic and unrealistic, which can be seen in tandem with this aesthetic. It focuses on what you have, and this defines success. Being ‘that girl’ is attainable for everyone. However, it is skewed through the media, where there is very little representation present, giving off the wrong impression to its audience.

Because of this constant narrative of looking a specific way, it can often cloud your vision of what is important and what is considered healthy. You can be healthy without being skinny, and you don’t have to have all these things to be successful, which is what this trend fails to address.

Though there are quite opposing views on this new lifestyle, at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with living the ‘that girl’ aesthetic. As long as it makes you happy, and that it’s a healthy routine for you, there is no harm in living this way. Anyone can be ‘that girl’, no matter what is presented in the media. At its core, it’s all about self-care, self-improvement, and living the best version of yourself, which is what should be celebrated and prioritized.

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