Let’s Talk About ‘That Girl’

She’s that girl. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and gets out of bed without snoozing her alarm. The first thing she does in the morning is drink a glass of water (with lemon and cucumber slices in it). She only reaches for her phone to start a timer for her two hour workout and then she takes an ice cold shower, eats a teensy breakfast and then goes out in public to run errands, go to classes, or to work, and she turns heads everywhere she goes.

And she could be you.

If only you got up an hour earlier each day. If only you ate expensive organic foods at every meal. If only you were working out for two hours a day instead of one.

You could be that girl.

Except you can’t. Because she doesn’t actually exist.

The romanticized ideal of “That Girl”

So who, or better yet, what is That Girl? Well, if you’ve ever heard the Cool Girl monologue from Gone Girl, then think of That Girl as being the Cool Girl updated for the glamorous life of a social media feed, an idealized version of the best possible version of a person, made for consumption by anyone who happens to be following That Girl.

Rather than being a romanticized ideal created for heterosexual men, That Girl is the romanticized ideal created for anyone to enjoy.

That Girl is physically stunning, with clear skin that glows thanks to her hundreds of skincare products, and the perfect body thanks to her expensive diet and extreme workout routine. 

That Girl is productive, she gets up early every morning so that she has time for her workout routine before a long day of work or school. She gets errands done on time each week, all with perfectly manicured nails and a matching loungewear set so that even when she’s comfy, she’s put together.

That Girl is effortless, always looking, acting, and feeling her best. Nevermind the fact that people can get sick, go through slumps in their life, or just need time to rest, That Girl is above it all, and can push through those things in a way that no one else can.

Because That Girl is just a persona, a mask achieved through picture perfect moments, video editing, curated reels, and the like. 

Who is Her audience?

Because That Girl is just a persona, an ideal created for the world of social media, where ordinary people’s lives can be consumed like an episode of reality TV, That Girl’s audience can be anyone.

Which is why pretty much anyone can succumb to the siren spell of believing that That Girl is not only real, but an achievable standard to hold themselves to. 

On the one hand, she can be an object of admiration from a sexual point of view, on the other hand she can be regarded as a standard for people to compare themselves to. She can be consumed by anyone who chooses to consume her content and see her persona.

But is it all bad?

Obviously, there are a lot of issues to the concept of That Girl, the most major of which is that being That Girl is unrealistic, due to it being a persona, a concept created by and for social media. Like with many things on social media, this can cause anxiety, insecurity, and feelings of worthlessness for those who try to compare themselves to That Girl and find that they (understandably) can’t measure up.

But sometimes people can find that ideals like this can be inspirational, even if they know that it’s impossible to achieve. For these people, That Girl is not only an inspiration, but a motivation.

Yet still, That Girl is an ideal that while on the surface seems appealing, it also is inaccessible as a standard especially for those that have chronic illness, jobs that involve manual labor (I’ve only ever seen That Girl do work that can be done with a perfect manicure and that can be montaged into an aesthetic video), people who need to take care of siblings, children, or other family members. 

Generally, the That Girl aesthetic is for young, conventionally attractive women, who have the wealth that allows them to spend money and time upholding the standards of beauty for a perfectly groomed outward appearance, and who don’t have to deal with things like chronic pain, fatigue, or limited mobility. 

In other words, only a very small percentage of people could ever measure up to the standards of being That Girl, and even then who even wants to exist as a persona for an extended period of time, when we could just be ourselves, be real people?

So what are your thoughts on That Girl?

One thought on “Let’s Talk About ‘That Girl’

  1. Being a caretaker interfering with being “That Girl” is interesting to me. I do often associate aspirational social media as more focused on the self than on caring for others (or if others are involved, it’s usually partying and not volunteering.) A profile full of a person helping others does seem like it would come across as insincere, whereas if it’s only focused on personal health/wellness/fashion etc., it’s assumed that the point is to show others how to do the same.


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