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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The ‘That’ Girl Lifestyle Really Isn’t All That

Some strawberries, a wellness shake, some perfume and a journal, all characteristics of the “That” girl aesthetic. While this trend may on the surface seem to promote health and wellness, in reality, it promotes the idea that there is only one right way to go about life. (Jessica Singer/CBC)

Imagine this: You wake up at 5:00 a.m. You do your daily yoga or Pilates in a perfectly matching and aesthetic workout outfit (no, a baggy shirt and oversized shorts are not allowed). You prepare your daily greens whose taste can range from dirt to artificial fruit and after sipping on that you make yourself a nice smoothie full of fruits, veggies and maybe even have a granola bowl for breakfast. All this is done before 7 a.m.

Oh, and that’s just your morning. You spend the rest of the day working productively, eating cleanly, doing a luxurious skincare routine before bed and hitting lights out by around 10:30 p.m. This isn’t a one-day occurrence, if you want to be “That Girl,” you better believe this has to be your daily routine. 

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like the most unrealistic, impossible standard that I would be able to maintain for maybe one day before quitting. With this, lies one of the biggest problems with social media’s “That Girl” obsession. It provokes comparison between lifestyles and drills the idea that we have to do everything perfectly and work hard all the time every day and that’s the only way we will be successful and live our best lives. 

The “That Girl” trend started around 2021. If you scrolled through social media you were bound to find a video of a thin woman waking up at 5 a.m. in an aesthetically pleasing apartment, drinking lemon water, meditating, journaling, reading self-help books and so on. While this trend is supposed to encourage people, particularly women, to be their most productive, happiest, healthiest selves, it can actually do the opposite. 

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People watching the video who don’t follow that daily routine may feel like underachievers, or that they are not good enough. It “establishes an unattainable ideal,” according to Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D., MBA, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center and Faculty in the Media Psychology Program at Fielding Graduate University. The overall message being expressed through the trend is that “That Girl” has her life together. However, it completely fails to depict a full representation of reality. 

“It fails to represent the days we need extra sleep, leave the unmade bed, or accidentally miss workout class,” according to Hannah Tishman, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker. It causes comparison to a completely unrealistic standard, and furthermore, any type of comparison on social media has been proven to cause symptoms of depression, especially if you feel like your life fails to reflect that aesthetic. Not only can it cause symptoms of depression, but it can increase disordered eating behaviors and unhealthy relationships with exercise. 

Furthermore, the trend is always from a very stereotypical point of view. Nearly all the videos are of slim, white girls, who live in very aesthetic homes, who have pricey workout clothes, hundred-dollar skin care products, organic and clean food, and other unrealistic standards that most people working a 9-to-5, or who are in college and high school cannot reach every day.  

Though, to an extent, one can understand that the trend may be simply trying to promote a more healthy lifestyle, it does not achieve that because it implies that there is only one healthy lifestyle we should all be following. The thing is, health is not one-size-fits-all. 

For some people, being healthy means working out and training two times per week, for others, it means four times per week and for others it means no training at all. Maybe it means eating an overall balanced diet, but also allowing yourself to eat pizza and ice cream when you crave it. It also could mean waking up five minutes before you have to leave the house because that maximizes how many hours of sleep you get. Not everyone has the time or lifestyle to do that entire 5 a.m. routine, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a healthy lifestyle that works for them. 

At the end of the day, perhaps this trend is how you normally live your life, however, it shouldn’t be ultra-glamorized and instill the notion that this is how we should all live our lives. Social media lifestyles are so often rooted in fakeness and unrealistic standards that make them seem attainable and achievable for everyone which simply sends the wrong message. At the end of the day, you have to figure out what works for you, even if it means you won’t be the definition of “That Girl”. 

It’s much better to find your own way of being your healthiest self than to simply go do what a bunch of people on social media are advertising as the best type of lifestyle. As for me personally, I will only wake up at 5 a.m. if I have a flight to catch, a significant job or a meeting I need to attend, and that’s healthy for me. 

By Elektra Gea-Sereti 

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About the Contributor
Elektra Gea-Sereti
Elektra Gea-Sereti, Opinions Editor
Hi my name is Elektra and I am a senior plus the Opinions editor. I have been at Dateline since 9th grade, and my opinion articles range from social media trends to movie reviews. While not being opinionated can be strenuous, I do write the occasional sports, features, and food article. Outside of Dateline, you can find me on the volleyball court, or debating people in Mock Trial. 

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