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Girl math and girl dinner: reappropriation or stereotyping?

Expressions born as positive claims could be interpreted negatively

Girl math and girl dinner: reappropriation or stereotyping? Expressions born as positive claims could be interpreted negatively

If you buy something expensive and then return it, that money is new and earned, magically created in your bank account. If, instead of buying a cup of coffee every day, you make one at home a couple of times a week, you are officially entitled to buy that expensive handbag you want, right now. Again, if the money is in cash and not on your credit card, it's as if it was never spent, and if you buy something for 180 euros instead of 350, it's as if you actively earned the difference.

Girl math for dads

These are just a few examples of girl math, an all-female way of thinking about math and numbers in the context of shopping, spending and daily pampering that is taking hold on TikTok. A kind of convoluted justification for one's purchases that is especially fun to explain to one's father, especially if done as seriously as possible and with a  scientific flair (and if the card one uses to shop is his) and that all girls, or almost all girls, have in common.

Girl dinner and boy dinner

In the same vein, there is also the girl dinner. Again, this is a messy and typically feminine way of eating, which consists of putting together meals from many different things. Mostly it is a collection of snacks that do not need to be cooked or prepared and are eaten standing in front of the fridge, coupled with enthusiasm and imagination. There is no rational explanation or precise rules for what is and isn't a girl dinner, just a series of signals that are intuitively recognised by girls who are quick to write "Girl dinner!!!" in the comments when they come across a particularly appropriate example. Boy dinner, which are usually high in protein, do not have the same success or hold on social media. 

Re-appropriating ease, chaos and femininity

Common behaviours that emerge from dynamics outside social networks then become systems of mutual recognition, re-appropriation of stereotypes, umbrellas of "typical behaviours" under which girls congregate. For example, it has always been said that boys are better at maths and science than girls. Girl math is a response to this. Similarly, the dynamic and somewhat chaotic eating behaviour that rejects the sedentary eating situation and the commandments derived from our mothers that would mandate woman-cooked meals every day is rebranded as girls' food and asserted with pride, but also with levity and cheerfulness.

There is a risk 

These are positive and wholesome trends, both in form and in soul, but they are not without risk. The most obvious arises from the girl dinner trend, and among the TikTok videos in which the girls flaunt their meals it is easy to spot, even to a superficial glance. In some cases, the girl dinner is meagre and consist of sodas and sweets, indicating problems in the relationship with food or deeper disorders.


A problem of bad faith

Again, girl math, apart from encouraging overconsumption, can end up feeding the stereotype it combats by reinforcing the belief that girls are not good with numbers and should therefore be kept away from science subjects. However, these interpretations, which are clearly malicious, are beyond our control. The important thing is that we don't put weapons in the hands of those who want to punish this cherefullness and have fun with it.