For years now, I have been trying to haul myself out of bed at the crack of dawn like Cassie in Euphoria to partake in a self-care routine so elaborate, that starting the day on the wrong foot couldn't be an option. For years now, I have failed. In case you are interested, I present you with a short, non-comprehensive list of other things I have failed at within this category: scraping greasy hair into a tiny, neat bun that somehow makes you appear much cleaner, fitting my hair into a claw clip of any size, maintaining any kind of exercise routine, journaling, wearing natural deodorant and not smelling like I've been at a rave for 13 hours after approximately 7 minutes.
Despite this intro, this is not a girl boss self-help blog about how "you can do it too". It's a rebellion of the idea. Last month I wrote about the long overdue death of the girl boss and the demise of hustle culture at the hands of the pandemic. Our confidence in capitalism was shattered as we all moved through a collective pause and subsequent burnout in different ways, and a thinly veiled alternative to hustle culture came shouldering through the woodworks via TikTok: The 'that girl' hashtag and the 'clean girl' aesthetic – each hashtag garnering hundreds of millions of views – is an online niche that is generally dominated by thin blonde girls with beautiful, clean apartments and the kinds of morning routines that mental illness plays no part in.
To be clear, we love these girlies and appreciate their deep commitment to inner peace and slicked hair, we really do. However, we are entering an era where mainstream ideas around wellness and optimisation no longer feel particularly appealing when the routine is so unrelenting, and for what to gain? For some of us, all of the activities that encompass 'that girl' energy are grounding and soothing, for others, they remind us of all the things we cannot do for a plethora of reasons, or simply do not want to do (I, for example, would rather fall asleep with the glow of my phone pressed against my cheek instead of journal about gratitude. An unhealthy, yet simply preferential choice.).
Enter: feral girl summer, the antithesis of having things together like the formally popular hot girl summer proposed – even though I thought hot girl summer entailed waking up on a boat in Mallorca with a group of sexy strangers instead of getting "in shape" and wearing cute outfits like it seems the rest of the world interpreted. I digress! It's no wonder why women are bucking against the new wave of self-optimisation, and they're using the rise of the feral girl to do it.
In line with the 10 year anniversary of Girls and the originally feral women who were portrayed in the hit show, it's no wonder why we are leaning back towards fervently unhinged energy, especially as we move further towards a society that we hope will eventually cease to subjugate women and our emotions (don't tease me with a good time).
The feral girl era, goblin mode, villain era idea has been burgeoning for a while now, because how could it not? Recently, I have been writing about revenge, anger, girl bossing, and optimising. The quiet, cool, patient, hard-working, very organised persona is no longer appealing in the way that it perhaps once was. Instead, we'd like a go at the things men have been championing for decades including but not limited to: behaving with audacity, being unhinged, doing mediocre work, not responding to texts, and, of course, not giving a f*ck.
@hotshrimpsummer Every girl on my FYP right now #hotshrimpsummer #jackharlow #glamorous #feralgirlsummer ♬ First Class - Jack Harlow
And while all of this sounds like absolute bliss for many of us who have been playing by the palatable rules for what feels like our entire lives, it's not lost on me how there are many women who are able to opt into feraldom safely because of their race, class, and sexual identity. And that while many of us dream of a feral, goblin-like utopia for all, we must recognise and ensure that black women, trans women, disabled women, fat women, queer women, and any person who doesn't fit into a normative identity are also safely able to partake in being beastly and unhinged when historically, the idea of doing so has yielded drastically different results for these groups than us privileged girlies who can simply rebrand ourselves as "messy".
For those in the Northern hemisphere, we can safely say that you'll be thrilled to partake in "feral beast spring" as one person Tweeted. For the rest of us on the cusp of winter down South, goblin girl Autumn is the movement in which we'll be partaking. Activities may include turning up to work in clothes that could be pyjamas, either being a home hermit or going absolutely bezerk at the club on a Wednesday (which is the new Friday), no in between. Reading fairy smut instead of actual literature; de-escalating your skincare routine; the list goes on. But why wait for summer? After all, winter is the time to lean into literal goblin-hood.
will NOT be participating in hot girl summer but WILL be participating in feral beast spring
— lydia chlamydia (@lydia_meredith) April 10, 2022
If you've made it this far, you may be wondering about the unhinged icons, specifically whose energy we might channel to reach peak-feral. Think: Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag, Lucille Bluth and also Lucille who lives next door, Jessa from Girls (slash everyone from Girls especially Marnie after breaking up with Charlie), All of the energy from Michaela Coel's Chewing Gum, Raven Leilani over Sally Rooney, the way Adam Driver makes us feel deep down, Olivia Coleman and Miriam Margolyes.
All that's left to do now is go forth and blossom into the beasts we've always known inside. Happy feral era xx