April 17, 2024

TikTok Is Reclaiming The Word ‘Girl’ After Years Of Discourse

  • TikTok has been buzzing with “girl” based social media trends for the past few years.
  • They range from “gorgeous gorgeous girls” to “girlrotting” or “girl dinner.”
  • It is a major departure from the discourse of the term “girl” being sexual when applied to adult women.

The girls are busy.

They are “rocking a girl” on their couches. They are making plates of “girl dinner.” They are “gorgeous gorgeous girls” who love bowls of soup. They are on her “real hot shit girl.”

In many cases, the girls aren’t technically girls. Megan Thee Stallion was 24 years old when she launched hot girl summer in 2019. grown women with jobs trying to finish their work so they can get around “girlrotting.” “Girl dinner,” a term coined by a 28-year-old, has become a TikTok juggernaut. per the New York Times. And could an actual girl hold down a “lazy girl job”?

The fact that women are using the term “girl” is cultural appropriation, conscious or not, after years of counting on the sexual use of the term.

Being called a girl, especially in hierarchical settings like the workplace, can be unfounded patronizing at best and at worst.

“I’m a manager, but to my boss and my colleagues, I’m a ‘girl'”. one 30-year-old woman wrote to The Washington Post’s workplace advice columnist in 2019. Forbes Coach Council member Susan Madsen wrote in 2021 that referring to adult women as “girls” was sexist, arguing that it can influence women’s perception of themselves and influence their careers.

But in the last few years of “girl”-based trends, as Kate Lindsay noted in the internet culture newsletter Embed earlier this week, translate. Although there were women once girlbossing, they are now talking about “rot” in their bedrooms. As Lindsay writes, these kinds of trends are a counterpoint to the idealized aesthetics of girls in the early 2020s – and in the process, they’ve uprooted and stripped the concept of youth through internet memes. Despite the fact that some of these trends are ephemeral, that’s actually important – reducing being a girl to a series of increasingly generic behaviors removes some of the term’s baggage.

Being a “girl,” at least for a generation of young women on TikTok, is not something that is inherently infantile, offensive, or empowering. That said, don’t jump to calling your female colleagues or friends “girls” without encouragement – let them claim it for themselves.

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