We share how we’re falling into a romanticised version of life shown by social media and how to prevent it.
Ever wonder how some girls from TikTok or Instagram live an aesthetic lifestyle, slaying each day with purposeful tasks, being super productive, and essentially living the ‘girl boss’ life? A popular TikTok trend in 2021, the ‘that girl’ trend shows the perfect golden standard of what successful individuals, or girls in particular, should look like, where their lives are well put together with nothing out of place.
Videos following the trend typically start off at an early wake-up time, a healthy and aesthetically pleasing breakfast-making or eating montage, followed by a workout or listing their plans for the day, and carrying through with their plans. Not forgetting as well the different matching items and styles to capture that ‘perfect’ lifestyle. While it may seem all flawless, what if I told you there's more than meets that perfect eye, given the costs and pressures of living out this trend?
Having a ‘that girl’ mentality comes with its perks. It motivates not only girls but also anyone who takes pleasure in wanting to have that certain level of aesthetic in their life. This trend covers an eclectic range of aspects in our everyday lives such as dieting, exercising, reading, skincare, journaling, and even sleeping routine.
This can be a source of motivation for those who wish to have a healthier and more productive lifestyle by compelling themselves to follow the prerequisites of becoming ‘that girl’. Hence, it empowers them to become better versions of themselves.
But living an aesthetic life can come with a hefty price.
This trend prevailed because people yearn for that same level of aesthetic in their life which is based on other people's aesthetic lifestyles. And as they strive to meet these ‘necessary prerequisites’ of being ‘that girl’, many also fail to realise the hidden costs to achieve that level of aesthetic. From matching gym clothes, electronics that cost a bomb, healthy but expensive food, lavish skincare products, and not forgetting those unnecessary-yet-aesthetically-pleasing essentials — we’re talking cups, coasters, bowls, can all sum up to an exorbitant amount of money.
In a nutshell, this trend pressures enthusiasts to fit into an unrealistic standard of life. We need to understand that not everyone’s fortunate enough to buy these items to fit into that aesthetic. Many tend to forget that these postings are merely snippets of someone else’s life showing the positive side of their day or shot it in a way to display that ‘perfect’ lifestyle, while the not-so-perfect aspects are edited out.
This produces a mirage of a perfect, well-put-together life causing many viewers to feel bad about themselves for not achieving that level of productivity or perfection in their life, making mundane experiences seem inferior and insignificant. And we know that’s not true.
But I wanna do it for the ‘gram!
While you could strive and look towards living your best ‘that girl’ lifestyle, consider instead eudaimonia. Defined as a life-well lived, eudaimonia focuses on the ‘pursuit of virtue, excellence, and the best within us’ as explained by Aristotle. In other words, you decide the virtues that provide you with a good way of leading your life. Hence, it won’t be the same for everyone. Instead, you’re trying to learn new things and ways to improve yourself.
Isn’t being ‘that girl’ also a way for improving myself?
Well, the main difference between these two is how they’re portrayed.
People crave the aesthetic moments that ‘that girl’ provides which results in this way of living falling out because it isn’t a change from the inside but a change for display.
Yes — everyone interprets ‘that girl’ differently, but it’s evidently a trend, and trends will eventually fade away. Therefore, a more holistic approach would be to change and improve yourself because you want to and not because of the social approval you’d gain.
Truth be told, we can all strive to become ‘that girl’. But, what defines it should be on your own terms and what works best for you. One piece of advice I’d give is to hold yourself accountable for your vision and progress of becoming your version of ‘that girl’. There's a myriad of ways you can do this.
Whether you’re keeping account of yourself publicly through social media postings or would like a more private approach through journaling and writing down, document what you did the whole day that brings you closer to your goals. Being consistent would help hold yourself accountable. Plus, at the end of your journey, you’d be able to watch how far you’ve progressed as you’d have a compilation of the mini achievements of your journey to becoming a better you.
Remember, though, to always be realistic. Everyone has their own financial struggles so work within your budget and means. Instead of focusing on the aesthetic-ness that you’d usually see on social media when becoming the romanticised version of ‘that girl’, prioritise instead the main goals of your task.
For instance, instead of spending money on buying a seamless 2-piece set of gym wear that’s the best ‘fit for the ‘gram, opt for your usual, plain-old, worn-out workout clothes that you already have and just PUT THEM TO WORK!
There are a plethora of interpretations of what ‘that girl’ truly is, but for me, truly being ‘that girl’ is when you change to be the better version of yourself.
Though it’s nice to do it for the ‘gram, and in no way is being aesthetic a bad thing, remember to be true, honest, and realistic to yourself.
Remember, having the aesthetics is an option, NOT an obligation.
Lorraine Lee Wen Jing is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at Taylor's University. She’s an EXCO member of the Malaysian Students’ Surgical Society and the co-founder of Taylor’s University Surgical Society. She enjoys reading while listening to her Spotify playlist and playing basketball with her pals but often opts for long naps and tea to power through her day.
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