In the last few months, several female creators have taken to TikTok to live share recount or share actual footage of the sweet interactions they’d recently had with other women. Many of these videos are marked with the hashtag #girlhood.
These interactions, while perhaps trivial to some, seem to have affected the creators that are speaking of them on the app.
On Sept. 7, Colleen Mulhern (@colleen_mulhern) recounted how she “hit the subleaser lottery” upon meeting — and eventually befriending — a French woman that stayed at her New York City apartment while she was out of town.
“I was kind of nervous to do it just because you’re letting somebody stay in your place,” Mulhern said. “But this girl from Paris, the dates worked out perfectly, and she was coming to New York for a little solo vacation…Sweet, sweet girl. I FaceTimed her first.”
Mulhern, who happens to be going to Paris soon, received a thoughtfully curated, handwritten city guide, followed by a robust list of recommendations sent via iMessage, from her new Parisian friend.
“I’m going to Paris in two weeks, and I just got this from her,” she revealed. “A full itinerary of bookshops, coffee shops, bakeries, drinks. Whatever the opposite of a subway situation going wrong, this is it…And between me making this and going back to our text, she goes, ‘Oh, I forgot a category…Here’s just everything you need to see.'”
“This is so girlhood I love it,” @susiejpg declared.
Other creators, like @finenotkatya and @lekindlecandle are calling out the similarities between Mulhern’s situation and the plot of the 2006 romantic comedy, The Holiday, in which Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet‘s characters swap homes. “This is very The Holiday coded and I’m here for it,” @finenotkatya wrote.
Americans and Paris locals are corroborating the quality of recommendations Mulhern received. “American in Paris here and her list is gooooood,” @mhewks commented.
When did this ‘girlhood’ trend start?
In short, Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie is to thank for the viral “girlhood” trend that’s made quite the splash on social media and TikTok in particular. Towards the film’s end, Margot Robbie‘s Barbie, who, throughout its duration is having an identity crisis, has a poignant conversation with Barbie creator Ruth Handler, portrayed by Rhea Perlman.
During their conversation, Barbie asks Handler if she has permission to become human — to lead a life beyond the comfort and innocence of Barbieland. At one point, Handler tells Barbie, “take my hands, close your eyes, now feel.” The soundbite, which features Billie Eilish‘s “What Was I Made For?” playing in the background, has since gone viral on TikTok as a means for female-identifying creators to share touching, intimate moments of their own girlhood experiences.
Embracing girlhood and the idea of women helping women directly challenges the “the cycle of female rivalry” and “one seat at a table” precept that tends to exist between women, writes author and executive Mikaela Kiner in an article for Harvard Business Review.
Vulture also refers to the TikTok trend as “a chance for people to celebrate the full range of girlhood — whatever that means to them.” The wholistic approach to defining girlhood, then, allows for it to take on a series of interpretations, which includes bonding with and supporting other women, just as creators like Mulhern have demonstrated.
“Girlhood is going to your new neighbors doorway and asking her to lace up the corset on your dress because you’re home alone,” read text on Lavine’s video, which was posted on Sept. 4 and so far has more than 300,000 like.
“I’m getting ready to go to an event and my roommate’s out of town,” she explained to Catherine, her neighbor. To this Catherine replied, “Oh my god, of course. Do you need help?” before lacing Lavine’s corset up.
“This is such a pretty dress,” Catherine added.
Fellow #Girlhood advocates in Lavine’s comments, like @worstlittlewidow_sara and @xballroomblitz couldn’t help but highlight how it seemed as though she and her neighbor were “totally in sync.” @daniellecitrone also noted, “Not even having to actually ask her, she knew what was needed and offered! I love it.”
Olivia Robichaud (@oliviarrobichaud), who lives in New York City, expressed in a TikTok posted on Sept. 4 that her fears about attending an event were quelled after a random woman complimented her outfit, which sent her “confidence through the roof.”
“There is really no greater expression of girlhood than stopping someone on the street and telling them you like their outfit,” Robichaud said. “I’m walking into an event alone right now and I’m already so nervous but this girl just saw me on the street and told me that she liked my outfit and now I feel OK to walk in by myself.”
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