Ditch the ‘clean girl’ craze: You’re more than an aesthetic

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

It’s hard to be on social media these days without seeing the newest micro-label. Everywhere you look — “clean girl” this, girlaesthetic-clothes”>“coconut girl” that. Everyone is trying to put a name to different looks, categorizing the clothes and makeup they wear and the “energy” they put out.

Each of these labels is just another way to slap a name onto an aesthetic. The viral “clean girl” aesthetic of the past few months is characterized by slicked-back hair, matching sweatsuit sets, chunky gold hoops and a trendy Stanley water bottle. On the other hand, “coconut girl,” which trended on TikTok over the summer, is all about tan skin, beach waves and an aesthetic full of sunshine and bottles of Sol de Janeiro perfume from Sephora.

While you might chalk this up to just another trend, there’s something else going on under the surface. When the latest headlines read Hailey Bieber’s “cinnamon cookie butter hair” and blueberry milk nails,” you have to wonder why we suddenly need social media influencers to give us new names for everything from brunette hair to light blue nail polish.

In other words, it’s marketing.

New labels like these — labels for things that already exist and names for new aesthetics aimed at a certain consumer profile — are just another way to get you to associate your personal identity with what you spend your money on. If you’re not careful, you’ll see your money go down the drain in the name of an aesthetic.

So, a bit of de-influencing is in order. Hailey Bieber’s hair isn’t a new trend; it’s brunette with highlights. Blueberry milk nails are just light blue. And you don’t need to change your whole appearance and buy every new product or clothing item that TikTok peddles to you in order to fit your life into a tidy checkbox.

You are a person — not a receipt — and your identity and personal taste add up to more than just what you spend your money on and the ads Instagram sneaks into your feed.

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