The Rise of 'Girl Dinner': Why It's Striking a Chord

screenshots from the tiktok "girl dinner" trends

If you're out of the loop, no worries; we're here to fill you in. Essentially, "girl dinner" is a TikTok trend that's been making the waves recently. The concept revolves around women showcasing what they eat for dinner, all with a lively and enthusiastic rendition of the "girl dinner" melody playing in the backdrop. Here’s the original:



The fusion of relatable content and catchy jingle is unbeatable, with women hopping on the trend to showcase their dinner choices. "Girl dinner" typically constitutes a snack plate, composed of anything you've got handy. It's a meal you whip up just for yourself, requiring no cooking or cleanup.

But the universal characteristics of the ideal "girl dinner," as showcased by the thousands of videos under the trending sound, are 1. It should be quick and easy. 2. The nutritional worth of such dinner is often dubious. Examples might include spicy chips drenched in lime and soy sauce, a large glass of Coca-Cola, nothing at all, or simply opting to sleep instead.

The trend has sparked considerable debate about whether it's all in good fun or if it's endorsing unhealthy, chaotic eating habits or even eating disorders. It's even been criticized for being an insensitive privileged joke that overlooks the struggles of low-income individuals who may not have much to eat for dinner. Even though TikTok trends aren't necessarily designed to be taken seriously, this particular one has stirred up quite a storm.

So, what makes "girl dinner" so relatable?

Research has shown that when women get married, they end up with an extra 7 hours of additional daily work. This involves keeping the house neat and tidy, managing various chores, and, of course, preparing dinner for their partner or the entire family.

Especially in a "traditional" household where patriarchal values persist, wives have very different expectations compared to husbands. Women are expected to ensure the well-being of the home and family. This typically includes feeding your children and partner nutritious meals. However, more often than not, by the end of it all, women are simply too tired to cook for themselves or have simply lost their appetite.

This usually results in, you've guessed it, a classic "girl dinner."

It's no surprise then that numerous married women, as observed from TikTok comments, can relate to this trend. Not just married women, but many women in romantic relationships or who have assumed the role of family caretaker have also shared their experiences.

screenshot of tiktok comments under the girl dinner videos

Given the hectic nature of everyday life, it's understandable why we might opt for a quick and convenient meal. In a society that expects us to manage our responsibilities impeccably and also ensure the well-being of our entire family, a bit of "girl dinner" seems harmless... right?

The thing is, from a very young age, we’re taught to care for others but not for ourselves. While it’s all in good fun, the amount of women that actually relate to this trend is concerning and should probably be a wake-up call of how we’re taking care of ourselves, our nutrition, and our overall health.

The meals presented in these videos highlight the persistent time constraints many people, especially women, grapple with, and reflect both the societal expectations and pressures faced by women and the realities of their daily lives. In a society that often still expects women to shoulder the majority of household tasks and caring duties, it's unsurprising that "girl dinner" resonates with so many.

This phenomenon also sheds light on a form of self-care, albeit unconventional. After fulfilling responsibilities towards others, women often find themselves with scarce time or energy for their own needs. These quick, personal meals, despite their uncertain nutritional value, can be viewed as a form of self-nourishment and self-care, a moment of respite in a busy schedule.

"Girl dinner" also takes a dig at societal eating standards. It provides an honest peek into how people truly eat when nobody's watching, contrasting with the typically idealized meals frequently portrayed on social media. It rejects the pursuit of perfection, instead embracing the reality of consuming whatever is convenient or appealing at the end of a long day.

And finally, the widespread identification with "girl dinner" exposes a shared experience among women from all walks of life. It initiates discussions about work-life balance, the distribution of labor within households, and the societal pressures women face. Although it may have started off as a light-hearted trend, it's actually starting meaningful conversations about the roles and experiences of women in modern society.

There are many sides to this trend, and not all of them are bad. Granted, sometimes things just don’t have to be that deep. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with calling something out when you see it. Sometimes it's a critique of societal expectations for women; sometimes, it's just that you really crave some late-night cheese.

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