Woman in leggings and sports bra stretching backwards – Pandora's Health

The pros and cons of being ‘That Girl’

Have you heard of ‘That Girl’? She is the current embodiment of health and wellness, and she’s everywhere. What’s so wrong with that though? Let’s find out.

I’m going to put my hand up and admit something… I don’t have TikTok. There, I said it. Despite this, I’ve seen plenty of videos about ‘That Girl’, and I’ve watched YouTubers and content creators try to emulate her routine.

So, who is That Girl? She’s the girl who:

  • Wakes up at 5am every morning
  • Immediately makes her bed (complete with 20 throw pillows)
  • Drinks her lemon water
  • Practices pilates in a cute, matching workout outfit
  • Religiously journals her intentions and aspirations
  • Creates Pinterest worthy avocado toast for breakfast
  • Goes out for coffee or matcha
  • Only buys organic, minimally processed food
  • Seems to live on 1200 calories a day
  • Goes to bed early, in order to get up at 5am
  • Repeat

Oh, and she’s able to document this whole routine on social media.

This kind of life screams WELLNESS, doesn’t it? But does this make being, or aspiring to be That Girl a bad thing? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

The Pros

Salmon and vegetable dinner on a wood board

That Girl promotes a routine

Humans are creatures of habit. We like to, or sometimes have to do the same thing at the same time most days. I’ve started getting into a workout routine that involves getting up early twice a week to get to the gym before starting work and, actually, it’s not that bad. I’ve gotten into the habit, and I feel better for it.

That Girl may give you meal ideas

I’m not talking about avocado toast here. We all know what that is. But, That Girl may share a healthy lunch or dinner idea that piques your interest and makes you try something new. Thanks, That Girl!

That Girl makes you up your game

When you see how ‘together’ That Girl is, you may want to up your own health and wellness game in order to keep up. As long as you don’t hurt yourself or develop unhealthy habits (extreme deprivation, obsession with numbers etc) then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The cons

Instagram on Macbook screen

That Girl only shares what she wants you to see

Sure, she posts her routine a lot of the time and seems to have her life together. But remember, social media is typically just the highlight reel of someone’s life. You don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes, and odds are that That Girl does sometimes sleep in, or skips a workout because she just doesn’t feel like it.

That Girl is privileged

Most That Girls (yes, there is more than one) are white, straight, cisgender, blonde, thin, able bodied and live in an expensive city such as London, Los Angeles or New York. She benefits from a lot of inherent privilege and has built her platform upon it. She’s probably never lived in a food desert, faced racism or ableism and may also have family/financial support to get her brand going and fund her lifestyle.

That Girl may damage mental health

This is the antithesis of That Girl making you up your game. You may see her perfect wellness routine and feel despondent to the point of not wanting to try anything, out of the fear or realisation that you will never be That Girl. You may try to keep up with her and find that it fuels an unhealthy obsession with being healthy aka orthorexia. We don’t want that.

The bottom line

Woman with moon phase tattoos down her spine

That Girl is, for the most part, a dream or a fantasy.

She inhabits a space online where her whole life is about living the routine. It’s what makes her money, and pays the bills. That Girl doesn’t have to work 12 hour shifts in front line services, the thankless job of teaching or the sedentary life of a 9–5 desk job.

For most of us, we’ll be lucky to tick off a hand full of her daily list. You may be able to get up at 5am every day to exercise, but then you have to be hunched in front of the computer all day answering calls and emails. You may buy a lot of fresh and healthy produce at the supermarket, but at the end of the day you may order dinner in.

And that’s okay. You do you. Find what works best for your life.

Don’t be That Girl. Be you.

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  1. I usually feel that brands/accounts/influencers, etc that put out ‘That Girl’ style content are just trying to sell me something — and it’s usually fried ice cream — because as you so accurately pointed out, what they’re able to do comes with a whole heap of privilege that they sell as obtainable for everyone — which it isn’t. Looking at their posts does have some positives (even aspirations) but it’s such a highly stylized and edited version of their reality that it should be viewed as marketing. Really interesting post — thank you for exploring this phenomenon.

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  2. This is why I try to stay off social media (except for my blog socials). If I was on there too much, I would probably start to compare myself with That Girl or want to be like her. Since her perfection is an illusion and it is impossible to measure up to her, I would just end up unhappy and frustrated!! Thank you for sharing this❤

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  3. I totally agree with you ” You do you. Find what works best for your life” is what all of us should follow as a guideline. That Girl can be intimidating especially if you are struggling with keeping a healthy life but as you said it can help you find different recipes or inspire you in some ways.

    Anna xx

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    1. Thank you! It’s a strange, but also not so strange phenomenon that I don’t think is fully achievable for most people. If it serves a purpose of giving some ideas that’s great, but it’s all relative

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  4. It’s so easy to fall in to the social media trap and forget that what we see online is often far from reality.

    The reality is, these influencer types will likely hold a ‘photo shoot’ and photograph a months worth of content in one go… they can schedule this while they sleep past 10am!

    I’m very cynical about social media… as you can tell x

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    1. And with good reason! There’s nothing authentic about filming yourself getting out of bed as you’ve obviously had to get up to set the shot in the first place…

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  5. Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree with everything you mentioned. ‘That girl’ is incredibly unrealistic and harmful, and is definitely NOT a true representation of people. Thanks for sharing, loved this post! x

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