“Girl Math” and “Girl Boss” 

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Trends like “Girl Dinner” and “Girl Math” have climbed in popularity over the summer. These trends are all about embracing the small nuances of girlhood. (Photo Courtesy of Kaelyn McCann) 

The “girl” trend on TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity in the last year, including Hot Girl Walks, Girl Dinner, Girl Math, and the Clean Girl Aesthetics. 

The common theme among all of these trends is celebrating the idea of girlhood, and the commonalities many women share. But, what is it about these trends, and the word “girl,” that gains views, and why have there been so many lately? 

One of the first “girl” trends that came about was the term “girlboss,” in 2015. “Girlboss” is defined as a young women who accomplishes something big or ambitious. 

Hot Girl Summer, popularized by rapper Meg Thee Stallion in 2019, became a meme after the rapper called herself “Thee Hot Girl” in her song “Cash Sh-t.” Overtime the term evolved and “Hot Girl Summer” was born. 

From this, trends like “Hot Girl Walks” came about, which is just the concept of going on walks. The “Hot Girl” label doesn’t really mean much apart from a girl with confidence. 

Overtime trends evolved, and “Hot” was dropped and in came trends like “The Clean Girl Aesthetic,” a look that is minimalist and casual, “The Dirty Girl Aesthetic,” a look that diverges from the sleek look of the Clean Girl Aesthetic, “Strawberry Girls,”  a makeup trend incorporating lots of pinks,“Girl Math,” the thought process justifying how girls are spending money, and many more. We see new micro-trends like these on TikTok almost monthly, but there has been an increase in the popularity of these trends over the 2023 summer. 

The big idea surrounding all of these trends is girls, specifically women in their late teens, 20s, and 30s, being girls; whether thats a girl looking very put together, or justifying their spending habits using silly math.

“I think that these trends help a lot of girls relate with each other because we all go through similar things,” said Georgia Lilley, junior. 

Sub-Title: Why “Girl”?

Research shows that Millennials and Gen Zs are moving away from traditional markers of adulthood such as having a family, or a steady job. These milestones, which are especially important to women, begin to feel more and more out of reach due to things like the age of marriage and first child being delayed. 

The phrase “Adulting” became popular around 2015, defined as participating in the tasks of a typical adult. The term came into the forefront as young adults felt they are cosplaying as adults without actually being an adult. 

On top of this, many young women may refer to themselves as “girls” instead of “women” because of the connotations surrounding the term “women,” which they may feel they haven’t yet reached or don’t want to reach. 

“‘Women’ to me feels more somber, but also powerful… it kinda depends. ‘Girl’ to me feels more fun, and of course younger,” said Lilley. 

The underlying theme is: to many, “women” evokes imagery of an older, sad life, whereas “girl” is fun and exciting. “Women Math” sounds boring, “Girl Math” is silly and quirky.

From a marketing or social media standpoint, the word “girl” is going to make people more excited about the topic, and due to this, trends with the word “girl” in it are more likely to go viral. 

Sub-Title: The Barbie Movie and Girl Trends 

While we have seen many of these “girl” trends in the past decade, there has been an increase in the speed of these trends coming out over the past summer. Trends like Girl Dinner, Girl Math, Rat Girls, Strawberry Girls, as well as the resurgence of the color pink have all came about in the past few months and reaching their height around the release of the Barbie movie on July 21. 

A central theme of the Barbie movie was celebrating girlhood and the commonalities between women, and, of course, the color pink. While the Barbie movie didn’t cause this surge in the popularity of “girl” trends and pink, it may have acted as a catalyst. 

Dopamine Dressing is the fashion trends of wearing bright, colorful outfits. This trend came at the perfect timing of the Barbie movie as more girls began to embrace wearing pink. 

“Yeah, the Barbie movie did cause pink to become like more popular… Especially because I think a lot of girls are getting out of the ‘being girly and wearing pink is bad mindset,’ which could be because of all of the girl trends,” said Lexie Duncan, senior. 

On TikTok, there is a trending sound from the Barbie movie, where girls are posting clips of them enjoying life with text on the screen that says “girlhood.” The idea of the trend is to showcase the little things that many women go through. 

https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZT8j9GnKn/

The popularity of the Barbie movie has created an influx of young women reminiscing on what “being a girl” is all about. Due to this, we have seen a flood of these “girl” trends over the summer allowing women to connect over the small nuances many share. 

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