This year has been marked by a global pandemic, widespread anxiety and international political tribalism — all amplified by social media. The latest addition to the collective angst is the viral spread of “bruh girls” and “hey girlies.”
The internet loves labels, and the “bruh girl” stamp has been applied to any female displaying tomboy mannerisms, low-maintenance appearances and either nonchalant or goofy attitudes. "Bruh girls" often describe themselves as being “one of the boys.”
Conversely, “hey girlies” are tagged for their traditional feminine traits, love of fashion and being more formal than “bruh girls.”
Like most social media trends, “bruh girls vs. hey girlies” relies on the weakest of actual facts and favors the strength of filters and poses. Creators publish videos that broadly, and arguably arbitrarily, define the two, leaving many viewers questioning which type of girl they are.
First-year Sneha Pasupula gave her interpretation of the trend.
“‘Hey girlies’ follow standard feminine roles. They might shop at Lululemon and they have very stereotypical traits,” Pasupula said. “They are usually heteronormative and cisgender. ‘Bruh girls’ can still be cisgender and gender-conforming, but there's a more confrontational side to them, whereas I feel like ‘hey girlies’ are more people-pleasing.”
Pasupula said singer Olivia O'Brien came to mind as an example of a “bruh girl” in mainstream media. She said Caitlin Covington, of “Christian Girl Autumn” fame, fits the “hey girly” description for her love of all things pumpkin spice, cute clothes and proclivity for leopard prints.
As an example of this dichotomy, a recent viral video depicted archetypes of “bruh girls” tossing about in a towed innertube while a “hey girly” serenely sunbathed in a super-cute swimsuit. The message was crystal clear: girls that act sporty are distinctly different than those who pose at golden hour.
The internet runs on judgment.
TikTok videos with the #BruhGirl have been viewed over 897 million times. The consensus on TikTok is that it is more desirable to be on team “bruh,” with replies flooding comment sections discussing how “bruh girls” have more fun and are more likable. Some even accuse girls of being “fake bruh girls,” saying “real bruh girls” don’t call themselves “bruh girls.”
First-year Harshi Gandla discussed the dangers of judging people and how it can be especially harmful to people of color and nonbinary people. She said cisgendered men instead are seen on a spectrum.
“The usage of 'bruh girls,' 'fem-girls' or 'tomboys' to label girls is so dumb to me because it uses the idea of a binary spectrum; 'boyish' on one side and 'girly' on the other,” Gandla said.
Husna Kider, a first-year neuroscience student, finds the “bruh girl” trend humorous but understands how the divide between “bruh girls” and “hey girlies” could cause tension.
“I guess you could see it as trying to either belittle women who are more along the stereotypes of feminine, like pitting them against women who are not as feminine,” Kider said. “However, I really didn't see that because as someone who is both, I recognize that there are times when I'm more cutesy and there are times when I'm more sarcastic or witty.”
Gandla believes the “bruh girl” trend has gotten out of hand.
" 'Bruh girls' are labeled as pick me girls because by rejecting labels of traditional femininity, it makes them 'not like other girls,'" Gandla said. “It’s like a girl's personality is comprised of what traits are 'feminine' and what are not. Girls should be able to formulate their own personality without demonizing it to be 'too feminine' or 'too manly.'"
In reality, no female, or person, is one label or one-dimensional. When girls, even unintentionally, stereotype or judge one another, they give permission for males to do the same and potentially oppress them. Women need to support one another, not attack each other with labels the outside world creates. It’s time to throw away the cutesy caricatures and celebrate our authentic selves, because being true to who you are is the best kind of label.
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