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Girlfriend effect and boyfriend effect: a brief explanation

Glow up or glow down: the blame (or credit) is always on your partner

Girlfriend effect and boyfriend effect: a brief explanation Glow up or glow down: the blame (or credit) is always on your partner

In the depths of TikTok, meme or trend that are inevitably relatable emerge day by day. One of the latest to have gained so much success, that of the girlfriend and boyfriend effect, undoubtedly falls into this category. But what is it about? Essentially, using carousels of images, users show their followers (and non-followers) how their partner looked before the start of the relationship. In short, it's not hard to notice how someone with a Gucci backpack, Nike Air Max Plus sneakers, and a shaved eyebrow gradually adopted an Old Money style, either at the request or influence of their girlfriend. But it doesn't end there, because often these two trends don't just focus on the aesthetic aspects of each other but also on a attitudinal or character switch.

The girlfriend effect

But let's try to understand the different meanings of the two trends. First of all, the girlfriend effect was born on TikTok before the boyfriend effect. How to describe it? It's a kind of weird flex put into play by girls to show how being with them can lead to a pretty good aesthetic glow-up: a new haircut and wardrobe for their boyfriends. Assuming it's a lighthearted and playful trend, the girlfriend effect comes across as a fun display, both of one's boyfriend and of their qualities as improvised stylists and image curators. However, this trend should also be taken with a grain of salt and evaluated with necessary objectivity: you can't talk about the girlfriend effect if the pre-relationship photos show the boyfriend during puberty. Oh, there are also cases where the boyfriend has fun with this trend: admirable self-awareness and courage, practically in the spotlight.

@yzelleduran At least he gave me something to work with

The boyfriend effect

So, let's move on to the boyfriend effect, which is decidedly self-ironic and has spread with the aim of lightening the "seriousness" of the previous girlfriend effect. The most viral videos among those that appear when you search "boyfriend effect" in TikTok's search bar portray girls showing their transformation following the start of the relationship. But, being content that is primarily "light" and humorous, the purpose of the trend is to show an aesthetic downgrade compared to the period before the relationship. Obviously, it's not a real deterioration as the shots being compared are posed and well-studied - even a bit fake - with the "sneakily taken" photos taken by their boyfriends. On one hand, as already mentioned, it's a trend where irony prevails, but it's also worth noting another positive aspect: the boyfriend effect shows how many internet users feel confident and at ease in showing photos where they don't look their best, where they are without makeup, and where they are wearing a simple hoodie. Not everything found on social media should be reduced and belittled; the boyfriend effect is an intelligent trend. The "au naturel" photos posted in the image carousels of videos found under the boyfriend effect label could be the tip of the iceberg of a "sharing invitation" process on social media of much less orchestrated content, initiated with the mega-amateur practice of photo dumps for years and continued with the dissemination of various self-portraits posted by celebrities on their Instagram profiles, such as Selena Gomez's from months ago or Michelle Pfeiffer's very recent one.

@amanipillay @Luke Jacobs #girlfriendeffect #boyfriendeffect #tiktokcpt #fyp original sound - Aileenchristineee