Girls in field/ Image: Melissa Askew/ Unsplash
Image: Melissa Askew/ Unsplash

She’s a girl’s girl

Feminism is not a new concept, but Generation Z is putting a spin on it. Across social media and in real life, women are using their voices to share exactly what it means to be a girl in this day and age. But how do you use ‘girl maths’? Is it ever okay to break girl code? And what does it mean exactly to be a ‘girl’s girl’?

These trends have been taking over TikTok. One such trend is ‘girl dinner’, where girls take pictures of a unique or just plain weird dinner and caption it with that phrase. ‘Girl maths’ also quickly became a viral sensation. This is where girls use maths to justify, usually financial, decisions to themselves. For example, if I buy a top for £15 and wear it 15 times, then it’s only £1 per wear. Therefore, it’s basically free. I think we have all been guilty of using this logic on occasion. These sentiments are not difficult to find. There is a global community that promotes girl code. This comes into play, for example, in a public bathroom, where random girls will tell you how cute your outfit is.

Having a community that promotes a ‘girls support girls’ attitude can be so empowering

But is this new look of feminism what we need? It is rewriting the stereotype of how a female friendship must be. Girl friends are typically viewed as catty and jealousy filled. You don’t have to look far to see girls on TV stabbing each other in the back, stealing each other’s boyfriends, and throwing around backhanded compliments. No longer are girls ‘slut-shaming’ each other and gossiping – instead, a community is created where being a girl is about lifting other girls up and supporting each other through the trials of girlhood.

On a more serious note, a space where it is safe to be a girl is so vital in the world we live in. Rape Crisis reported that: “1 in 4 women have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult”. It is a sad reality that many women will face sexism, catcalling and other forms of discrimination throughout their lives. Having a community that promotes a ‘girls support girls’ attitude can be so empowering. In a world where girls begin life with the odds against them, it is so necessary to give them a voice and a platform. This space nurtures a confidence that it’s okay to be a girl. It’s not a sign of weakness to like pink or want to wear makeup, and it’s also okay if you are exactly the opposite. Instead, these are all just a part of ‘girlhood’.

The lack of a trending ‘guy code’ means women tend to take the brunt of the criticism when anything happens

All of this isn’t without criticism, though. One element that could possibly be problematic is how centred around aesthetics it can become. And this applies to both online and real life. Our TikTok’s fill up with montages of sunsets, groups of girls dancing on the beach, and friends baking cupcakes with each other, all set to an emotional song. Then we hear about a girls’ night out, where they all congregate in someone’s room and do their makeup together. For women who might not have a big group of girls, or someone who may struggle to join in with these activities that seem to be an integral part of ‘girlhood’ for whatever reason, this may create a longing for something that isn’t realistic. Social media can create a polished and aesthetic view of an imperfect life.

Olivia Petter, in The Independent, argues that replacing the word ‘woman’ with ‘girl’ in this new take on feminism is taking power away from women because of its patronising nature. Petter also discusses how girl code encourages condemnation of women. The lack of a trending ‘guy code’ means women tend to take the brunt of the criticism when anything happens.

Girl’s girl feminism definitely has its issues, and perhaps the wording needs changing to reflect this. But in a world where being a woman is often difficult and heavy, this community has become a safe haven for many. All that truly matters, is girls and women continue to support each other through this life and then teach the next generation to do the same.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.