If you're wondering what a VSCO girl is, allow me to enlighten you. Looks-wise, she stereotypically rocks smelly Birkenstocks, some scrunchies cutting off her arm circulation, and a puka-shell necklace (if she really wants to be on the nose). She carries a trusty, reusable straw to "save the turtles!" and hopes to convert others so they can emulate her more eco-conscious lifestyle; (checkmate, fire in the Amazon). These girls are usually between the ages of ten and twenty, yet they drop outdated Twitterisms such as "sksksks" or "and I oop". Don't worry, they're mostly harmless unless they drop their hand-painted Hydroflask on your foot.
Yes, according to the Internet, VSCO girls are all of those things - but they are also the latest victims of internalized societal misogyny.
As a female, I've been embarrassed my whole life of expressing my interests. The VSCO girl label is just the most recent example of girls being made fun of for preferring a certain style; the 2019 "basic white girl", if you will.
Other instances of the impossibility of growing up and finding yourself as a girl are abundant. Teenage girls are shamed for being basic and loving boybands with Uggs and, inversely shamed for being posers and adoring classic rock with converse. Young women, coming into their identifying sexuality are boring when they fail to dress sluttily as we half-expect them to, but we treat them even worse when they actually wear less fabric. Girls can't all look the same, but when they deviate from the trend, they are trying waaay too hard to be special. You understand my point. Though VSCO girls are the freshest joke in this day and age, the insults hurled against them are time-worn. VSCO girls are "annoying" in their interests and vocabulary, "disingenuous" in their care for the environment, and "unoriginal" as these girls look just like each other.
Boys, on the other hand, are praised for their interests and hardly shot down for enjoying something, (unless that thing is stereotypically feminine, like dance or makeup). Nobody ever shames Trevor for wearing basketball shorts and Mountain Dew-scented Axe to his first date. If Connor wants to play video games until his fingers are numb, he's allowed! Society has a different vocabulary and tone separating men and women as they come of age.
The situation is ingrained in the culture, existing as the Catch-22 of having two X chromosomes. However, that doesn't mean we should continue to take the treatment as acceptable.
As we pass a century of American feminism, we still subject our littlest girls to futile judgment and harsh reproach for liking…anything. They are emotionally mistreated for experimenting with their image, and further, finding out who they are. The worst part is that it isn't just men who make fun of "types" of girls; girls often are the worst culprits of tearing down other girls, invalidating their gender in order to ratify themselves.
Yeah, there are more important trials in the plight of femininity. VSCO girls aren't really suffering, by most relative terms. But this small instance is emblematic of a larger problem. The issue is strikingly solvable. Customary language is formidable, yet constantly changing. Therefore, it's
possible painless to update the vernacular that we use to describe girls into a more positive light.
It's great to laugh at ourselves occasionally - but maybe not perpetually. While teasing girls and their silly phases in TikToks and tweets can seem amusing for a hot second, it does more psychological damage to our youth than we think. Rolling your eyes at your little sister is one thing but taking what others love, whether it's Twilight or the Rolling Stones or sea turtle activism, and then projecting a stigma to that interest that makes people too self-conscious to express a part of their personalities, is wrong.
We live in a moment of inherent sexist stereotypes, as we form fast assumptions about girls' personalities based on their styles in physical appearance. By making small changes to our jargon, we can make it easier for girls to unapologetically grow up.