Emma Chamberlain, well known Youtuber and VSCO girl

Are VSCO GIRLS just another social media trend?

The aesthetic of a VSCO GIRL’S Instagram post is mostly that of a colorful, nonchalant and beachy vibe. On Instagram, the hashtag #VSCOgirl has been used on almost 2 million posts. If you look it up you’ll find pictures of reusable straws, vegan food, açaí bowls and 90’s inspried outfits consisting of t-shirts, shorts and scrunchies.

VSCO GIRLS are the latest subculture to arise from social media platforms TikTok and Instagram. “It’s not a fashion trend, it’s a lifestyle,” they say. Altough we might all know that’s not true, we also know that Instagram isn’t real life (hence the necessity of the caption: “Instagram vs real life”), so what’s the harm in the “supposedly innocent” trend?

The VSCO-Girl style

VSCO girls say they are opposed to “prevailing beauty ideals” and wear little makeup. But they do stick to very specific dress codes. Certain brands such as the solid Birkenstock from Crocs are ironically worn. A good example of a VSCO girl musthave is the Fjallraven Kanken backpack.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor wat is een vsco girl
Alexis Ricecakes

VSCO GIRL = Socially Involved?

Ecologically responsible brands are part of the trend, because the VSCO girl should always be aware of sustainibility. Along with the fact that VSCO trend following girls wear natural makeup. They present themselves as being socially involved, Yet mainly white, thin girls (who have enough money) tend to buy the type of brands to be part of the trend.

According to Dictrionary.com VSCO GIRL is a term, generally used as an insult, for a young, usually white woman who posts trendy pictures of herself edited using the app VSCO. However VSCO girls don’t seem to be bothered by it at all, they are proud to be VSCO girls.

The issue is that with while following this trend, maybe out of hunger for approval, they erase experiences of people of color, those with disabilities and anyone who doesn’t fall into a their specific demographic. 

They also perpetuate cultural appropriation — phrases attached to their photos like “sksksk” and “I oop-” originated in the black (queer) community. Let’s take a deeper look at this emerging trend.

The issue with the VSCO trend

  • They’re overwhelmingly white: Part of the VSCO girl stereotype includes hair scrunchies, à la Deb in Napoleon Dynamite. The lack of diversity speaks volumes about which skin tones and bone structures are thought to be “most beautiful”.
  • They’re affluent: Followers of the trend are all about brands. They wear expensive brands without looking glamorous, . Influencers exchange marketing for free things in a capitalistic society, and often get heavily paid for sponserships.
  • They’re far from “imperfect”: The intent ones was to share imperfections too, but VSCO girls are perfectly imperfect. You’ll see faux-sloppy buns and casual (altough completely organized) outfits. The captions often read that they’re having a “bad skin day, but that’s okay” when their eyes look only slightly puffy, and there’s not a single spot to be detected. 
  • They’re literrally all skinny: These girls almost always have thin figures. Some women joke about nonexistent body fat and pretend to flaunt curves barely visible to the naked eye. The trend is feeding the idea that beign skinny equals being pretty.
5 Minutes of Annoying VSCO GIRLS ON TIK TOK – Youtube

If you somehow didn’t get discouraged and are considering to follow this trend. This is the musthave list for a VSCO girl:

  • Birkenstock shoes
  • Scrunchie hair ties
  • Hydroflask water bottles
  • Brandy Melville clothing
  • Instagram-able meals
  • Metal straws
  • Slip on Vans shoes
  • Choker necklaces
  • Multiple rings worn at once
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Polaroid cameras
  • Pastel nail polish
  • Mario Badescu skincare products
  • Fjällräven backpacks
  • Stickers on laptops and water bottles

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