“That girl” trend aestheticizes the concept of self help


Kiersten Riedford

“That girl” trend includes waking up early, drinking green smoothies and working out all before the morning ends

She wakes up before the sun so she can rise as the sun does. She heads to the gym after doing her intensive skincare routine, but she has to be in her monochromatic workout set and matching yoga mat. 

After an hour of training, she heads home to make a green smoothie and shower with her endless sugar scrubs and soap concoctions. After all of this, at around 8 a.m., she meditates for half an hour and does some breathwork. She is “that girl.”

The “that girl” trend is geared to make people want to be the best versions of themselves, but it is typically done by those who do not have a strict time schedule in the mornings. “That girl” is known to be the person who is mindful, fit, lives in an aesthetically pleasing way and is accomplished in life. They are perfect. They are who we want ourselves to be, but most of the time is an unattainable version of ourselves that we are stretching for through mindfulness activities and exercise.

I am pretty neutral to the trend,” sophomore Edie Leonard said. “I do not think that waking up in the early morning will personally bring me happiness or make me a put-together person, but I do respect the fact that these habits truly better the lives of people other than myself.”

Leonard said the benefits of this trend are geared to long-term health since the habits make people feel better in the long run.

“The trend makes it easy for people to access communities where the prime focus is working on oneself and building up healthy habits,” Leonard said. “Working on yourself is never easy or fun work, but it feels a lot better when others are doing it alongside you. Also, the intended theme of the content is positivity and self-growth for women and it’s nice to see that in the media.”

Senior Carmen Eggleston said she likes the “that girl” trend and how it can help someone grow to be a better person, but the trend alone cannot do that for someone.

I do think this trend helps with the overall experience of becoming your best self, but I think most of the work is done in therapy,” Eggleston said.

While there are benefits to mindfulness activities that one can do on their own, ultimately, the trend cannot help someone get over traumatic experiences, depression or anxiety. Putting together a morning routine will help a person have more control over their mornings, which will, in turn, make them feel better when starting the day, but it cannot completely insulate someone from mental health problems. 

The trend should be about having fun finding out how to live a productive and put-together life. It should not be about trying to solve someone’s problems by ignoring them and exercising, meditating and putting together aesthetic outfits instead.

The trend is fun when people take it as trying to get physically healthier by eating clean and exercising when they are able to. It is fun when people are being mindful to give themselves clarity before a long day. It is fun when self-care can be the focus of your life at that moment. The best part about the trend is it allows someone to take everything they want to do and tells them to implement it as they can. But, the trend should not disregard their responsibilities and stress them out.

Eggleston said to create balance with this trend, people should take pieces of the trend that they like and apply those to their life when they want to.

“At this point in my life, I can make a decision whether or not I’d like to wake up at 5 a.m. and do yoga or not,” Eggleston said. “It’s a mix and match thing and you have to find what works for you. [The trend is] really only meant to enhance your life, not completely change it.”

Leonard agreed that those who participate in the trend should only have certain aspects of the content they see others doing because what they do should pertain to what they want, not just what they see. 

“At the end of the day, becoming your best self needs to be centered around you and what you need,” Leonard said. “If you follow the exact lifestyle of another person, it is highly unlikely that all their habits will make you feel good about yourself as you will not share the same personality. I think trends become harmful once you feel like you must follow them exactly as stated instead of just being inspired to do what fits best for you.”

Another side of the “that girl” trend that can be off-putting is how young white women run the trend. With this demographic at the forefront, it can be difficult for people of color and older people to feel like they are able to participate in this trend because of the unspoken expectations that come with it.

“I do think that it is hard to live up to the full expectations of the trend as they are not super accessible to everyone,” Leonard said. “Not everyone can afford to wake up at 6 a.m. daily to work out due to a job or an already overwhelming schedule. Much of the content comes from young white girls who seem to have a lot of material items. I do think that it is important to look at who is making and is credited for creating trends to make sure they are inclusive and relatable to all viewers. All people deserve representation. If the people who are running the trend are all of the same race and class, it begs the question about who exactly is given the opportunity to experience that lifestyle.”

All in all, the trend is beneficial for little habits that people are trying to incorporate into their lives to make them feel like they have more control over their lives and their ability to feel happy, but it is not a substitute for therapy or for seeking out genuine help. Not everyone can be fixed by a green smoothie and a long skincare routine.