The leaves are turning red and orange, cool breezes beckon and pumpkin spice is in the air. This can only mean one thing: Christian Girl Autumn is back again.
Let’s return to the venerated viral photo that started it all in the blissful pre-coronavirus era known as August 2019. The carefully posed Instagram post showcased two white, well-coiffed brunettes adorned in stylish fall fashion complete with appropriately 2019 massive infinity scarves. Actually, make that 2019-gargantuan tartan drapery.
The photo was originally posted by Twitter user lasagnabby on the same day the hit song “Hot Girl Summer” was released, and the rest is internet history. What could’ve been tossed into the one-off highly disrespectful (and wholly inappropriate) meme trash pile of 2019 has once again been resurrected as the temperatures fall.
“Hot Girl Summer” was a hit hip-hop song by rapper Megan Thee Stallion. “Hot Girl Meg” wrote the tune as an anthem of female empowerment and to encourage women to unapologetically live their best lives and ignore the opinions of critics.
Christian Girl Autumn was sparked by the end of “Hot Girl Summer” and the transition to fall.
UNC sophomore Mira Ward thought the Christian Girl Autumn meme was humorous at first, but was disappointed in the backlash.
“I feel like Hot Girl Summer is trying to give support for women to be confident about themselves, and then I feel like Christian Girl Autumn is maybe trying to put those people down who are proud of themselves and the way they look,” Ward said. “They are trying to make it a religious thing even though it's not supposed to be discriminatory.”
Many embrace the season. They listen to Taylor Swift's "Folklore," host Christian Girl Autumn dinner parties and recreate their favorite fall coffee drinks.
“I think that people who participate in Christian Girl Autumn just love the little things about it — they like wearing scarves and they like pumpkin spice lattes, and I think that they should be allowed to like that,” junior Sarah Brown said.
First-year Anna Gibbons first saw the Christian Girl Autumn meme on TikTok, with the video mocking screenshots of white women modeling the quintessential autumn attire.
“It threw me off at first because I'm a Christian. After seeing that, I was like, 'Oh, should I be upset?'” Gibbons said. “But it was just a joke, and it was fine. I've heard it might bother some people, but I think it’s pretty harmless.”
The meme has faced controversy largely because people attribute it to a stereotype of young, conservative white women. But after the images from Twitter went viral, the women featured in the original photo attempted to reclaim the meme. Caitlin Covington, a Winston-Salem native and UNC graduate, clapped back, tweeting, “If all of Twitter is gonna make fun of my fall photos, at least pick some good ones! Super proud of these. For the record, I do like pumpkin spice lattes. Cheers!” with more aesthetic images attached.
“I thought it was funny because I've definitely been a victim of (Christian Girl Autumn),” Brown said, referencing her own phase of having those habits. “I think it's a very basic white girl thing. I've definitely had a phase of it, so I thought it was funny because it is very relatable.”
Hot Girl Summer has come to an end. Ditch your Birkenstocks for brown boots. Pair an infinity scarf with a cardigan. Go to the nearest pumpkin patch and give a call to the manager, because it's once-again Christian Girl Autumn.
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