Influencers and creators on social media platforms such as TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram, have created unrealistic expectations and reality of who “that girl” is and who we should be.
A day in the life of “that girl” typically begins early in the morning around 7 a.m. when she gets up and starts her day with a fresh glass of lemon water. She then does a workout or sunrise yoga before making a healthy breakfast such as a green juice or oats.
To sum it up, the trend is showing a flawless day in an individual's life through aesthetically pleasing video clips and pictures. She is the girl who does all those things that we feel as if we are “supposed to do” or wish we could do, but don’t.
The original goal of the trend was to inspire individuals to become their best selves and to promote healthy habits. However, it has turned into an unhealthy obsession of individuals who are comparing their lives to an imaginary figure. Many people view this trend as self-care and improvement gone toxic.
This imaginary persona and individual that has been created is glamorized and idolized as the person we should all strive to be. Scrolling through social media we are viewing and taking in 15-30 seconds highlight reels that are not realistic representations of normal life. These short clips have turned self-care and morning routines into an obsession and comparison.
The truth is that this trend is creating a false reality and setting unrealistic expectations and standards for viewers to live up to. As humans, it's our natural instinct to compare ourselves to others. Humans have been called “the comparing creatures”. A study from Psychology Today has shown that as much as 10% of our daily thoughts that go through our minds are our social comparisons. Comparing ourselves to others can be toxic and damaging. It makes us feel as if we need to do everything we can do to change our habits and lifestyle to live up to the trends that are currently being praised. In this case, many individuals are aspiring to live up to the “that girl” trend.
Through these videos that are flooding social media platforms, we are now comparing ourselves to someone who is not even real, someone that social media and influencers carefully crafted to perfection. The percentage of our thoughts that involve social comparisons will only continue to rise.
It’s easy to get lost in the world of social media and the “perfect” content that it holds. Of course, motivation for self-improvement and care can be good, but it's important that it is done in a realistic way. Instead of striving to have a life that is a blueprint copy of an imaginary person, we should focus on what makes us feel like our best selves. We are all different and have our own unique lifestyles and needs. We do not have to live up to the imaginary individual of “that girl” who is social media’s latest obsession.
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Julianna is a senior majoring in journalism and sociology. She enjoys writing and reporting on topics related to mental and physical health and wellness.