Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Oh, To Be A Girl

Every day I wake up in girl-as-an-adjective Hell. 

If a girly eats only half a sandwich, it’s a girl sandwich.

If she buys something with cash, it’s free – thanks to girl math. 

If she commits vehicular manslaughter … Your Honor, she’s just a girl. 

Recently TikTok has been inundated with content about ‘girlhood,’ a phenomenon not unlike Millennials’ ‘adulting,’ which insists upon the innocent, demure, hapless nature of … well … girls. The videos usually feature pink and close-up shots of wide-eyed ‘girls’ who insist on their own infantilization. For those of us who were on the internet in the 2010s, the trend is eerily reminiscent of Marina And The Diamond’s life-altering ‘bubblegum bitch’ era. Except the most critical aspect, empowerment, seems to be altogether missing from this new era of girlhood.

One such example comes from 23-year-old TikTok user @chrissychlapecka who, clad in a bright pink bikini, states (on Beyonce’s internet, mind you) “I love saying I’m just a girl.”

“Why’d you leave me on read?” Chrissy responds, “I’m just a girl.”

“Why’d you do anything?” She responds, you guessed it, “I’m just a girl.” 

One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Then there’s the ever-popular song “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. Lead singer (and certified it-girl) Gwen Stefani sings “I’m just a girl in the world” alongside pepped up guitar as TikTokers bop their girly heads along. Rarely, if ever, do the TikTokers include snippets of the song’s verses, which feature a distinctly, if surface level, feminist tone: “Don’t you think I know exactly where I stand? / This world is forcing me to hold your hand.”

Of course, this isn’t the only song-based hyper-feminine identity to emerge on TikTok. Paris Paloma’s hit song “Labour” inspired a trend of cottagecore girlboss TikTokers who posted videos expressing their feminist anger while dressed in princess, queen and homesteader costumes. They sing along to Paloma’s folk-styled voice: “You make me do too much labor.”

Ahistorical cosplaying aside, the song, similarly to No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” displays a surface-level understanding of feminism and, dare I say, girlhood.

There is a deep irony here. Whether embracing their infantalization, i.e. I’m just a girl, or rallying against it by cosplaying feminist revenge, these TikTokers are merely reinforcing the oppressive categories they find themselves within.

What, exactly, is so empowering about Chrissy Chlapecka’s supposed reclamation of “the bimbo stereotype” (as her Wikipedia claims)? What is the foundation of the good feeling that Chlapecka and viewers get from this form of content? You don’t have to dig very far past the surface to see the roots of misogyny rear its head. What Chlapecka and others really seem to be saying is, ‘Look, I can be a feminist and still be desirable.’ 

The comments on these types of videos only reinforce this conclusion: 

“I’m a girl and graduate next year in electrical engineering, send help.”

“I’m a girl and a systems engineer. I also don’t know what I do.” 

“This is actually so ethereal but strong – encompasses femininity perfectly.”

Perhaps this is the inevitable outcome of an app so heavily based on appearances. Still, it’s undeniable that this type of content deeply lacks the complexity of existence, especially ‘feminine’ existence.

My advice? Listen to more Marina and The Diamonds. If you’re looking for a catchy chorus to bop your head to, she always comes through — I recommend her violently underrated song “Hermit The Frog” wherein she gets to the heart of the girly-pop rage TikTok just can’t grasp: “Did you find your bitch in me?”

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  • I

    im just a girlFeb 23, 2024 at 5:54 pm

    we get it you hate girls

    Reply
  • G

    GernFeb 17, 2024 at 7:14 am

    Your condescending and dismissive manner is judgmental and elitist, assuming lack of agency of the content creator.

    Your snarky remarks and thinly veiled contempt is equally unhelpful. It oversimplifies the complexities of feminist discourse and fails to acknowledge the diversity of perspectives within feminist thought.

    The lack of depth and reliance on stereotypes undermine your credibility and detract from any valid point you may have attempted, but ultimately failed, to make.

    Reply