By: Hayley Strahs
Girl dinner and girl math have taken the internet by storm. At first glance, the “girl” prefix seems fun and feminist, but sexist connotations lie behind girl dinner and girl math. Girl dinner is a collection of food items not traditionally eaten for dinner, usually snacks. When I first found out about girl dinner, I thought it was hilarious and innovative. Girl math is a phenomenon that utilizes somewhat flawed logic to justify actions. For instance, the sentiment that “if you buy something with cash, it’s free” is girl math. Girl math and dinner both started as simple trends for women to joke around about, however, these “girl” versions promote sexist and even dangerous ideas, and if not stopped, could have lasting effects on our generation.
I discovered girl dinner in July, during my thirty-minute dinner break. While sharing fries, boba, and T4 chicken, my friend showed me a Tik Tok of half a protein bar, sausage, and a Sprite labeled “girl dinner.” Curious, I looked up “girl dinner” and fell down a rabbit hole. Initially, I wasn’t too shocked. Dinners such as peanut butter, cheese, and crackers, or salami, a granola bar, and baby carrots, while objectively unhealthy, apparently constitute a full meal.
Girl dinner started out as an innocent, funny trend without any negative affiliations, but in the past few weeks girl dinners have been getting progressively smaller. According to the Forbes Health Advisory Board, the average woman should consume 2,000 calories per day. Many girl dinners equal out to less than 300 calories and very little protein. Inadequate dinners promote unhealthy eating, which can lead to iron deficiency, malnutrition, and eating disorders. The girl dinner trend mainly targets teenagers — an extremely impressionable group— and with unhealthy body image standards already plaguing the U.S., advertising insufficient dinner for girls directly leads to eating disorders and other health complications.
Girl math has also recently popped up on Tik Tok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube shorts. The Urban Dictionary defines girl math as “An illogical reasoning and justification to making an unnecessary purchase used primarily by women.” Girl math ideas such as buying something with cash makes an item free, or not understanding cash back discounts, are a step backwards when it comes to men and women being seen as intellectually equal. The girl math trend promotes flawed logic and repels women from learning about financial literacy.
In 2023, the prefix “girl” should not define something as less than or simpler. Years of work towards womens’ rights and equality can not be erased by a Tik Tok trend. Before posting your “girl dinner,” check if your meal is balanced and substantial. Young minds are extremely impressionable, and without any external guidance, may perceive “girl dinner” as a healthy and sustainable option. In addition, refrain from using “girl math” at all. The term “girl math” itself perpetuates the stereotype that women do not understand math, and affirms sexist ideas about womens’ intellect.
Modern society must move away from associating girls with flawed logic and inadequacy, and in order to do so, trends with such sexist connotations, such as girl dinner and girl math, must go.
(Sources: Forbes, Urban Dictionary)