It’s a hot summer for girls, and everyone’s a hot girl
My tight jaw is back. It was during election week, during that multi-day period where the poor CNN guy had to point the same card for 72 straight hours. He came back as my birthday party approached, and now he’s back and I’m not sure why, which is his own kind of anxiety. But that’s okay, because on the internet I can tweet something like “hot girls have bruxism” and maybe get fifty likes.
This is what one feels on the Internet lately. You’ve potentially seen an iteration of this, perhaps in a tweet about how all hot girls have IBS and depression or anemia and ADHD or a combination of these. The joke, of course, is that these are deeply benign illnesses, formulated in the recognition that yes, i’m in the joke too, unlike you we weirdos who keep debating the crumbs of everything the crop wars recently unearthed.
But before we got to a place where we were openly talking about hot girls’ bowel movements or their collective propensity for, like, canned fish, there was Megan Thee Stallion. In 2019, fans of the artist reiterated her nickname “hot girl” and coined the concept of “hot girls summer”. At the time, the idea that people of all genders could call themselves hot girls because they shared a certain attitude, and not because it had anything to do with their closeness to traditional heat, seemed new. Even Megan certainly couldn’t have anticipated what was to come, which was the complete memorialization of the “hot girl” by too-online adult women, creating something like a natural and more boss-aware enemy.
hot girls have 1) eczema 2) IBS 3) chronic utis 4) scoliosis or 5) all of the above. if you don’t see yourself on this list i know what to tell you
– spooky baby (@httpkathleen) May 16, 2021
One of my favorite TikTok memes from a hundred years ago was “Can’t talk now I’m doing hot girl shit.” There was one iteration that made me gasp in gratitude: in this case, the “hot girl shit” in question “was removing the big mounds of dandruff from my scalp,” which is objectively disgusting but extremely relevant to Me personally. “‘I’m hot’ is the new ‘I’m ugly'”, we read recent tweet delicious @clintoris, referring to the wave of people calling themselves ugly on the internet, but, as I wrote before, in an almost healthy or gradual way.
When I spoke to an expert for this story, she said that the tendency for self-deprecation is mired in self-protection. “I kind of celebrate what they do – they try to push the idea that we’re all perfect on social media,” Sara Frischer, psychiatric nurse practitioner told me. “But I think it’s just a little misguided in the way they do it. It’s a deviation, and it’s self-protective then to make a joke of it. It keeps people from feeling vulnerable.
Calling yourself a sexy girl at first glance would seem to be the opposite: rather than reclaiming a weakness, you assert your power no matter how traditionally attractive you are. Something else is going on, however, something more akin to how a humblebrag works as a guard against overly narcissistic appearance. You can use the Heat Specter as a preemptive defense against any anonymous avatar waiting for the chance to call you ugly or fat, while adding the vulnerability of admitting you have poo issues.
It’s a relatively cynical explanation for something that, again, is literally just a joke. Still, I would say “hot sad girl online” is just as useful as an identity marker as anything else. The popularity of the ironic bimbo aesthetic – the state of being both classically hot and socially progressive – has given way to continued debate on TikTok and elsewhere over whether it’s really possible to be feminist while attracting the male gaze. But as Marlowe Granados pointed out in The Baffler, feminist film scholar Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory was about the representation of women in art created by men, not actual women living their lives. “Laura Mulvey’s manifesto has been reworked as a must-see fact of life, confusing the artistic gaze of men with the literal gaze of men – the latter being portrayed as inherently oppressive,” she writes. “How long are we going to measure each action of women against the male gaze?” ”
The idea of proudly bragging about being a sexy girl subverts not only the opinions of men, but also the opinions that come from the endless boring chatter of pie talk on the Internet. Whenever I come across a video about whether, say, plastic surgery is inherently progressive or immoral, it reminds me of why so many of us wish we were hot bitches that can’t read. That’s because watching the same kind of people – people who seem to have genuine good intentions but spent way too much time arguing in the comment sections – yelling at each other is exhausting. “Hot girl” is therefore a relatively useful term for very online people to differentiate themselves from the other type of very online person.
Either way, calling yourself a “hot girl” is okay now. But wait: Then we’ll all be called “submissive and repeatable”.
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