How a Playful Trend Turned Sour
I’m sure we’ve all heard the viral Tiktok audio “Girl Dinner.” In case you haven’t, it’s an audio accompanied by videos of women showing off their mismatched dinners consisting of non-nutritious ingredients and/or snacks.
It started out as a way to make fun of the chaotic snack dinners women tend to gravitate towards, poking fun at how these dinners are sometimes deemed as more satisfying than cooking an actual meal.
This trend started out as one of my favourite trends of the year on Tiktok, because I felt seen. However, watching it unravel made me seriously think about the ramifications of taking trends like this too far.
Working in a restaurant, I am no stranger to girl dinners. Coming from work having just had a slice of birthday cake, fries, half a salad and a comically large Shirley Temple, I’d say I’m a near expert. Not the healthiest, I know. It is, however, healthier than what this playful trend has morphed into.
Showing off handfuls of fruit to a single glass of wine, it quickly went from showing off full plates of mismatched foods and snacks, to glorifying disordered eating.
According to Healthline, disordered eating is defined as: “food- and diet-related behaviours that don’t meet diagnostic criteria for recognized eating disorders (EDs) but may still negatively affect someone’s physical, mental, or emotional health.”
Usually disordered eating manifests itself in seemingly harmless ways that are actually precursors to full-developed eating disorders.Examples of disordered eating include binge eating, fasting for weight loss, fad diets, obsessive calorie counting, etc.
Now I get it, why does it matter? It’s just a trend online that’ll disappear within two weeks, it’s not that big of a deal. The issue, however, is that it is. As I’m sure you’re aware, eating disorders have been a serious issue on the rise since the dawn of social media. Trends like this only encourage it further.
Young girls are now seeing the older girls that they look up to, seemingly bragging about eating nothing but a handful of chips all day. Think of how you looked up to the young adults in your life.
My boyfriend has sent me girl dinner videos that imply the only thing I’ve had in my system all day is an iced coffee, and there are days where that’s not wrong. At the end of the day we’re all (at least for the most part) broke university students. We can’t exactly always afford to make the healthiest nutritional choices.
I just ask that we don’t share it on social media as if we’re winning some sort of award for barely eating. The issue has only grown as social media has become more intertwined with the fabric of culture and society. I understand that eating disorders are painfully normalised and joked about, I only worry about the influence we hold.
If you have little siblings, cousins or even nephews or nieces, would you want to see a video where they joke about the fact that they’re borderline starving themselves?
Because at the end of the day, Tiktok’s demographic is split between young adults and easily influenced children/teens, and now they’re being inadvertently influenced to not eat. Shouldn’t we care more or be more conscious of what we post?
Now, if you don’t exactly love the constant girl dinners but money is the issue, we do have resources open to you on campus. Places like People’s Potato at Sir George Williams (SGW) campus provide healthy, sustainable meals at low prices.
Other options include The Hive’s free lunches on the Loyola campus everyday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Hive on SGW also has a pay it forward program where you can get meals that were prepaid by fellow students or faculty. Concordia also has more information on off-campus food resources on their site.
The occasional real girl dinner dinner aside, let’s all be healthier for ourselves and for the younger generation watching and learning from us. Let’s not instil our own bad habits in them too.