5 Trends For Women People Get Irrationally Angry About
There's a weird downward spiral that occurs with trends loved by young women. It starts when they take a shine to a fairly harmless thing, like silly books about sexy vampires. The internet decides that thing is terrible, even though 80% of everything is terrible and there's nothing uniquely terrible about this. "Look at those dumb shallow vampire-horny girls, consuming trash when they could be reading Chaucer!"
Now other women want it to be known that they don't like the thing. "Lol sexy vampire books? I've never even glanced at one in my entire life. In fact, I have no eyeballs." Now the women who do like the thing have to be ashamed that they like the thing, or pretend they only do it ironically. It happens over and over. Trends among women trigger a level of contempt that's way beyond what is deserved. Just recently, we've had viral backlashes against ...
Enjoying Autumn Too Much
It kicked off with a viral tweet from a few months (or roughly one million internet years) ago that said, "Hot girl summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn." Attached was a picture of two women with similar haircuts dressed for fall weather in similar outfits. People took this as an opportunity to tear the two women apart, mocking their "thin lips" and "fake tans" and making a slew of weird assumptions. ("This picture showed up drunk at a gay bar at 2 am and yelled homophobic slurs at the bouncer.")
Maybe they would have deserved some of that hate if they were two white women who were co-opting Megan Thee Stallion's Hot Girl Summer, but it was actually a joke from a 19-year-old boy. He attached a picture of two women he found on Instagram, and nobody bothered to check who sent the tweet before they piled on. And that's how a random photo of a couple of women smiling pleasantly became the target of the internet's pile-on of the week before everyone moved on and found some other strangers to absorb their insults.
Of course, thousands of the jokes made at the pair's expense mentioned another target of bizarrely irrational hatred: "pumpkin spice lattes." No non-alcoholic beverage has ever endured such contempt, and we live in a world where ranch dressing soda exists. It's probably a coincidence that the universally grumbled-about drink is stereotypically most enjoyed by middle-class women, right? It in no way reflects a safe way to bash these women without saying we hate them. You hate a cup of coffee. That's much more reasonable.
Related: Why The Modern World Is Way More Sexist Than We Realize
Your reaction right now is probably either "Enough about VSCO girls already!" or "What the hell is a VSCO girl?" and nothing in between. Maybe you've seen one of the 500 articles recently written with titles like "What Are VSCO girls?" or "What It Means to be a VSCO Girl," or my personal favorite, "How to be a VSCO girl," from noted teen publication Business Insider.
It's a label the internet has created for an aesthetic trend among teenage girls who use the VSCO app to post pictures. They wear baggy clothes, sneakers, lots of scrunchies on their arms, and very little makeup. They carry insulated water bottles with stickers on them, and they care about the environment -- but not in a good way, but in a way people find performative and fake for ... a good reason, I'm sure. Also, if you search "annoying VSCO girl," you'll get an avalanche of compilations, like this video with over 4.4 million views:
The revulsion toward this doesn't just come from men. Women around my age seem to dislike VSCO girls for dressing in a style that's reminiscent of the '90s, because you know, how dare they enjoy things that we also enjoyed when we were their age. Have they no respect for us, their ancient scrunchie-covered forebears?
But I could have used any number of "_____ girls" examples here. There are Tumblr girls, TikTok girls, Soft Girls, E-Girls, and Horse Girls (which we'll talk more about later). By putting them into these little pre-packaged insult categories, what we're saying is that their individual personalities simply do not exist. By adopting these harmless affectations -- something that literally every teenager does -- they've abandoned the right to be treated with anything but the bitterest scorn. Sure, everyone follows silly fads or trends, but for some reason, when girls do it, they're seen as more phony, or grating, or too desperate for attention.
I would love to see Business Insider write an article about Patagonia Boys. You know, the men who wear fuzzy Patagonia vest and Oakley sunglasses. They love talking on their cellphones too loudly in public, and they're always drinking non-pumpkin-spice lattes, because masculinity is a flavorless prison.
Unironically Enjoying Hallmark Movies
Ah, those blandly romantic Hallmark Channel movies. Their thumbnails almost come off like self-parody:
They're poorly written and all have the same plot, the complaints go. You know what also had the exact same plot? 2002's Spider-Man, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man, and 2017's Yet Another Fucking Spider-Man. I saw all three and liked them just fine, even if not a single person in the theater was having their mind blown by their stories. There's Peter Parker and a bad guy, they fight, Peter wins. Hallmark movies are exactly the same, except Peter Parker is a woman in her early 30s, instead of fighting she gets laid, and the villain is potentially not getting laid.
They might not be high art, but Hallmark movies are, I assure you, not hurting anyone. But you wouldn't know that from how often people take time to make cheap jabs at them. Tosh.0 did it two years ago, SNL covered them last year, as did Jimmy Kimmel, and since 'tis the season, Stephen Colbert has already used four minutes of his show to observe what literally everyone else already knows. I get it, making TV is hard, and Hallmark movies are an easy target. But to anyone who unironically enjoys these movies, the message is clear: You like bad, stupid things.
But then there's the strange parallel phenomenon whereby it's suddenly cool to confess that you watch these movies as a weird personality flaw. These movie are your ironic guilty pleasure (something targeted at women can never be enjoyed without some measure of guilt, of course). News outlets even do this weird thing where they act like we're being hypnotized into watching them. Forbes published an article last year called "Why I can't stop watching The Hallmark Channel." Yahoo's was "Why can't I stop watching Hallmark Christmas movies?" CNN's version is "People can't stop watching Hallmark's cheesy TV movies." Except of course we absolutely can stop. No one is making us watch Chad Michael Murray play Santa's hot stepson. We like it!
Liking Horses Too Much (Whether You Own One Or Not)
The phrase "Horse Girl" is used to stereotype women, especially young women, who are really into horses as being weirdos or rich, entitled daddies girls. You do need a lot of money to purchase and care for a horse, but you don't necessarily have to own a horse to be a horse girl. It's crazy how they're labeled as both untouchable nerds and gorgeous ice queens. It seems like you would have have to choose one or the other, but nope! Somehow you can be a rich, beautiful, disgusting goblin that nobody likes. Look, it doesn't have to make sense as long as we all agree that it's terrible for a woman to like horses too much.
There's a Reddit ask men thread from last year wherein someone asked: "Fellas, what's the deal with girls who like horses seen as a red flag?" It has over 500 responses, mostly pertaining to such girls only caring about "daddy's money and your money." Which obviously isn't true, because they also care very much about horses.
Side note: If so many young women are fans of horses that we have a whole stereotype, and if women are typically smaller than men, why aren't there more female jockeys? No female jockey or trainer has ever won the Kentucky Derby, and in its entire history, only six women have ever even ridden in it. I learned this from an ABC news article called "The Kentucky Derby's rich history of diversity." It was very short. Fortunately, women's participation in competitive horseback riding has increased dramatically in the last decade. In 2015, Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, one of the biggest national races. Hey, isn't it a strange coincidence that as women are getting better at competitive horseback riding, this stereotype that all women who like horses are crazy and/or stuck up has suddenly appeared? So weird.
Wearing Instagram Makeup
Yes, men have always complained about women wearing "too much" makeup, with "too much" being defined by a sliding scale based on who is looking at you. But on social media and YouTube, makeup is a huge, huge deal, and over-the-top makeup tutorial videos are seemingly half of all video traffic. Here's a single tutorial video on YouTube with 207 million views. Now here come the memes.
The thing is, women can see what we look like. What people aren't getting is that the kind of elaborate makeup you see in these videos or on Instagram is specifically made to appeal to other makeup enthusiasts. It's more about highlighting your skill than trying to look attractive. It's an artistic medium. There's a Chinese makeup blogger named He Yuhong with 750,000 followers on Instagram who transforms herself into different celebrities. Is she trying to land a man by making herself look like Johnny Depp?
Applying makeup is an artistic skill, whether you're doing it like this:
And yet, in examples like the second one, you don't have to scroll far to find snide comments about how unnatural it looks:
Do you know how hard it would be to find this woman on Instagram just to insult her? Did this person wake up from a coma and stumble onto the internet having never seen this style of makeup before? Or did they want to go out of their way to insult someone who's just trying to do pretty makeup? I know the internet isn't always a kind place, but do we really need to be so horrible to makeup bloggers that there's an entire genre of tutorial videos called "Hate comments do my makeup for me"?
All of the standard cultural reactions to what is seen as a women's trend are there -- that the women doing it are shallow, or unattractive, or annoying, or frivolous. That this harmless hobby says deep, important, and terrible things about their personalities. There's even the concern trolling about how none of this is necessary ("Men find you beautiful without that stuff! And that's what matters here!") and/or that there's something better they could be doing with their time. After all, isn't there always something better we could be doing? For instance, I'm supposed to be driving a car right now, but instead I'm typing this article on my phone, and there's nothing wrong with that.
You can follow Lydia on Twitter or check out her YouTube show about '90s pop culture.
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