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Feral girl summer proves we’re officially in our unhinged era

Following in the footsteps of goblin mode and all its deviant glory, this latest trend is yet another rebellious buck against the new wave of self-optimisation that most of us are sick and tired of seeing on our feeds.

Hot on the heels of #goblinmode, a direct departure from the self-improvement movement that’s defined the past two years and counting, feral girl summer is here to prove just how deeply we’ve delved into our unhinged era.

Similar in ethos yet far more disruptive, the latest trend that’s currently making the rounds online encourages us to take our deviance to the next level.

Rather than giving up and hibernating in the hazy safe space of doing nothing at all, we’re to take our nihilism outdoors, to ‘normalise being fucking weird, annoying, and free’ in public à la Julia Fox.

I can’t say I’m surprised, really, and it’s most certainly a breath of fresh air amid the relentless pressure to achieve perfection that’s somehow become commonplace during a literal pandemic, the demise of our environment, and another world war.

Feral club rat

But what exactly does it involve and are you ready to embrace your untamed side? Let’s break it down.

For starters, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s completely burnt out from a lockdown spent trying to better myself. In fact, for almost the entirety of my 20s, I’ve been regularly trying to wake at the crack of dawn to exercise, partake in ten-step skincare routines that tend to go out the window mere days after I adopt them, and practice mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation.

That’s in addition to a full working week and finding time to feed myself, relax, and socialise.

On this note, it may not come as a surprise that I don’t consider myself ‘that girl,’ one who’s able to roll out of bed, scrape their hair into an incomprehensibly aesthetic messy bun, and optimise their periods of self-care all before they even begin to girlboss.

Fortunately, it seems I’m not alone.

The antithesis of an arguably deluded notion that we’d return to society from the blurry chaos that’s been 2020 to 2022 in our prime, #feralgirlsummer (which has so far amassed over 200,000 views on TikTok) is the by-product of our collective fatigue towards the state of things at present.

It doesn’t require a punishing gym subscription, SHEIN hauls that’ll make you feel guilty for your contribution to the climate crisis, or a list of self-help books you’ll never get round to reading.

It’s a state of mind, a rejection of a niche that’s generally dominated by thin blonde ladies with beautiful, tidy apartments and the kinds of morning schedules­ that mental illness plays no part in.

@__mull Starting a “that feral rat” movement instead. Club rodents ASSEMBLE #ratproverbs #clubbing #goingout #edm #fyp ♬ Dani Girl – Ranger Trucco

Not to hate, of course – I love watching their videos as much as the next person and admire their commitment to inner peace – however, with no real outcome besides saying we’ve done so, our ongoing quest for wellness is starting to lose its appeal.

That’s why more and more of us are opting for feraldom in favour of gua shas, claw-clips, green juices, journaling, and a full 8 hours of sleep.

‘Being ‘that girl’ means encompassing a life based on mainstream notions of wellness,’ writes Laura Pitcher for i-D. ‘However, there’s bizarrely no end goal. No marathon you train up to. No reason to wake up at 5am other than that it seems more efficient.’

And she’s right. Sick and tired of seeing this oppressive and frankly boring pursuit of fulfilment on our social media feeds every single second, it’s no wonder we’re feeling the need to buck against it and disregard the push for niceness, cleanliness, and productivity.

Instead, we’re eagerly celebrating our most toxic selves.

‘Fuck being chill I’m done hiding,’ one advises. ‘I love running around clubs and festivals like a feral rodent. Be free.’

In my opinion, as with goblin mode, this age of refusing to accept the expectations of continuous personal growth is long overdue.

Why? Because throughout my existence, the ideal woman has successfully balanced hustling with looking flawless and occasionally enjoying herself.

So, how about why not? Particularly for the younger generations whose perception of ambition has fundamentally changed and who are today less interested in hiding their base selves while they strive for a degree of ‘goodness’ that’s eternally out of reach.

Behaving with unapologetic audacity, putting in mediocre effort, not responding to texts, and giving 0 fucks sounds pretty great now, doesn’t it?

‘Feral girl summer is upon us,’ says Horrible.Glitter. ‘I will never wake up at 5am to be hyper organised. I will instead be in 4am Reddit holes, Diet Coke first thing in the morning, fistfuls of raw pasta as a snack, three weeks of no response followed by an unhinged 12-page rant.’

Ultimately, we’re all a bit feral inside. Let’s loosen those domestic shackles and liberally unleash our beastly wildness exactly how we desire. We can always pick up the pieces come autumn.