Joyful, whimsical, empathetic, and hot. We are re-coding the feminine and radically asserting that girlhood is something worth aspiring to regardless of age or gender. The girlification of the internet is a sweet, tender, and nostalgic wave of living life for the joy of it — regardless of practicality. No longer are we neglecting the urge to romanticize the little things in life. Instead, we are getting our little treat, putting ribbons in our hair, complimenting strangers, and finding community in the process. We are Girling.
If you are unfamiliar, some staples of girl behavior are hot girl walks, being a girl's girl, having "feral girl summers," and doing "Girl Math." "Girl Math" is basically bending reality to support your delusions, and it is by far a God-given right! Anything you pay with cash is free! That dress doesn’t cost $100; it costs $100 divided by the amount of times you wear it! If you buy something on sale, you’re making money, and so on. But, it’s not that we’re just dumb or irresponsible. Girl math exists as a way to gift ourselves little joys just for the sake of it. As a teenage girl in her twenties, I need these little dopamine boosts for the good of humanity.
One of the latest achievements of the Girl Administration is “Girl Dinner!” If you’re aware of the phenomenon, you’re probably mentally singing along to the inescapable earworm. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations on discovering the internet today! "Girl Dinner" was first introduced to the world by TikTok user Olivia Mahar, who compared her go-to meal to that of a medieval peasant and aptly dubbed it “Girl Dinner.” Shortly after, another TikToker with the username @karmapilled blessed our ears with an acapella serenade to her Girl Dinner (a half-eaten ice cream bar). Soon enough, the audio took over the For You Pages of all whom the algorithm deemed worthy, showcasing "Girl Dinners" of all sorts. Some Girl Dinners look like a choose-your-own-adventure charcuterie board, sporting combos of cheese, fruit, veg, and something bread adjacent. Others are far more sinister, with back-of-the-cupboard classics like a singular Eggo waffle, applesauce, two fish sticks, and a jar of pickles.
Girl dinner is randomized, intimate, and actually really delicious, so don’t you dare judge me! Although the nutritional value is dubious, it certainly gets the job done. Contrary to some misconceptions, Girl Dinner is NOT dieting, limiting, or disordered eating. In fact, it has been helpful to destigmatize what counts as a “proper” meal with no parameters of health or thought of calories. It is eating joyfully. Girl Dinner awakens in us our natural gatherer instincts as we forage about the pantry for an amalgamation of yums that will roughly add up to a full meal (girl math).
As the people’s internet princess, Mina Le, puts ever so eloquently, “Hot girls are walking, girls are blogging, dinner is girl, 40-year-old men are babygirls, we are in a girl economy.” And an economy it is. Already, marketing teams are eager to feed the beast (literally) and use this trend for their benefit. One of the first harbingers of the apocalypse is Popeyes’ addition of “Girl Dinner” to the menu. Popeyes offers an assortment of side dishes (mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Cajun fries, coleslaw, biscuits, and red beans with rice) as their interpretation of the trend. Truth be told, they kind of ate.
Young women are the bread and butter (another girl dinner) of internet culture, and so it's no surprise that we are no longer the exclusive shareholders of the rising girl economy. Teenage girls got it right. Collaging notebooks, buying lipgloss, gossiping, and sipping on cute little bevvies are what make life worth living. These are the simple pleasures that we no longer feel the need to feel guilt over. Instead, girls of all ages are doubling down on the characteristics that they may have once been discouraged from. We are getting back into Twilight, starting traditionally feminine hobbies, and allowing the room (and spending money) to love ourselves. We’ve proved we can do anything a man can do i.e. wear pants, get a promotion, do math, etc, and now that we’ve achieved second-wave feminism’s wet dreams, we can enjoy girliness without it being a confirmation of our lesser sex.
That being said, the trend is already being commodified, and I worry that the Girl Internet is on a fast track toward the same fate as its #GirlBoss predecessor. Will we soon be drowning in Girl Dinner plates and fast fashion slogan tees? Probably. Definitely. But oh well. I still don’t think we are letting go anytime soon. We can’t help ourselves. Afterall, we are just girls.