Do I have to be “that girl”?
Do I have to wake up in a picturesque city apartment at 5 am? Do I have to go to the gym before my uni classes? Do I have to spend an hour every night doing skincare to be accomplished in my life?
You might have seen a trend going around that’s known as ‘that girl’, a supposed template for a person’s ideal life of success, productivity and perfection. The sheer amount of content I’ve seen created on this type of lifestyle brought up a lot of questions in my head. Perhaps the initial message of promoting a healthy lifestyle got lost along the way. But when every other video you see promotes this lifestyle, it turns from inspiration to expectation. Rather than being a motivation to get things done, it acts as a source of guilt for the things I’m not doing.
The most troubling part of it all is how the trend is a very strict template with a lack of diversity. A feminine woman is considered to be someone who is thin, living independently in a minimalist house, eating salads and sandwiches. It’s conducive to stigmatising diverse lifestyles that deviate from this blueprint. As a person of colour, my ethnic food doesn’t fit the aesthetic of a neatly arranged sandwich. I don’t fit the template when I’m barely able to pull myself out of bed for a 9 am class or when I can’t afford to study at a cafe every day.
This trend only shows snippets of people’s lives, compressing complex stories. Admittedly, it is difficult to tell a full story in minute-long clips. I’ve been guilty of pursuing perfection in the past. Through that, I felt comfort in the realisation that perfection in every aspect of life is an impossibility. So rather than being “that girl”, I want to be myself. A healthier version of myself, understanding the balance of work, play and rest, doing her best in the chaos of life.