NEW YORK, June 30 — This summer is a time to go anywhere and try anything, without worrying about other people’s opinions, as you scurry through the streets in search of unexpected adventures and unforgettable memories. TikTokers call this the “rat girl summer,” a viral trend that promotes self-confidence while shunning the usual summer clichés.
After the “hot girl summer” and the “feral girl summer,” here comes “rat girl summer.” On TikTok, the hashtag has racked up over 20 million views. It shows young women doing whatever they feel like — eating their favourite dishes without worrying about their “summer body,” or dressing any which way they like. Internet users soon began documenting their wild “rat girl summer” escapades on Twitter, with things like visiting parks full of fake dinosaurs or hanging out in caves. Indeed, the young women who follow this trend tend to go where they’re least expected. Others film themselves delving into dumpsters and trash bags to find food. Because.... well, why not?
Getting out of your comfort zone
This trend, launched by the American internet user and screenwriter, Lola Okola, on TikTok at the beginning of June, went viral following her video titled “Rat Girl Summer.” In it, she explains her desire for a spontaneous, no-holds-barred summer: “We’re having a ‘rat girl summer’ okay. We’re scurrying around the streets, we’re nibbling on our little snacks, and generally finding ourselves in places we have no business being at.” Instead of overthinking every little decision, she advises young women to not be afraid of getting out there and meeting new people. And for that, she outlines four rules to follow in a further video. These are to get out of the house as much as possible, to enjoy your favourite foods without moderation, to “kill the cringe” — in other words, don’t worry about what other people might think — and last but not least, don’t overthink things. But even if the trend involves getting out and about, the rat girl still needs some downtime. “You have two days a week allotted for decaying,” she explains — that’s two days during which you can allow yourself to rot in bed, watch your favourite TV shows and sleep as much as you like.
“’Rat girl summer’ is about being confident, following your joy, and living in your body — not your mind,” Lola Okola told Bustle. This quest for self-confidence returns in another one of her videos, where she says she wants “rat girls” to love themselves instead of seeking male attention. Like “hot girl summer” or “feral girl summer,” this phenomenon encourages women to shun the aesthetic of the “perfect girl” geared towards male desire.
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Smashing traditional beauty standards
Rejecting the beauty standards often associated with summer means accepting your body. This is not always easy for women, who can be more prone than men to physical hang-ups. In fact, more than two-thirds of French women (67 per cent) say they feel uncomfortable wearing a swimsuit on the beach, which is a source of stress and anxiety for many of them, reports a recent survey conducted by Ifop for Flashs and Voyageavecnous.fr.
Unlike the “feral girl summer” trend in 2022, which excluded plus-size women, “rat girl summer” aims to smash the clichés usually associated with summer in order to help people reclaim their bodies. In particular, by eating what you feel like, without worrying about kilos and the myth of the perfect body. The key is to remain free and keep it spontaneous. — ETX Studio