Deep down, we're all VSCO girls

"Falling in line with current trends is only human nature, and you should not feel ashamed if you do"

It's 105 degrees outside, and I'm sweating. Yet, I have a very rational fear of taking my Hydro Flask out in public. 

My hair is slick against my neck, but I refuse to put it up. I cannot be seen wearing a scrunchie — not in my hair or on my wrist. The hairband is hidden away in my backpack, a blue Fjällräven Kånken decorated with enamel pins.

These items may seem unrelated, but there is one commonality — they make me a target for social torment, they make me a “VSCO girl.”

But just because you like a popular item, whether it be a backpack or a shell necklace, it doesn't mean you're a part of a cookie-cutter scheme. Falling in line with current trends is human nature, and you should not feel ashamed if you do. 

VSCO is a photography app available on iOS and Android operating systems. It features free and paid preset filters that users can apply to photos, GIFs and short videos. Similar to Instagram, it has a feed option where content can be posted and shared with followers.

Though the app is designed to be an editing tool and a form of social media,  it has become associated with specific trends that thousands of teenage girls have adopted — oversized graphic T-shirts, Hydro Flasks, scrunchies, Birkenstocks and shell necklaces, to name a few. 

The idea of the "VSCO girl" picked up speed during the summer of 2019 with Gen Z teens emulating the lifestyles of influencers like Hannah Meloche and Emma Chamberlain. YouTubers and media companies, like Buzzfeed, began to capitalize on the sudden popularity and created content geared toward the “VSCO girl,” including transformation, haul and room tour videos.

I will admit it, I use VSCO to edit photos and post on my personal feed. I prefer it over other apps since I can post multiple times in a row and no one seems to care. 

The app’s “indie” persona helps it feel like a safe space where there isn’t as much pressure when posting a photo because only the user can see their number of followers, reposts and likes. Thanks to this, I'm not stressed out about my analytics, unlike VSCO’s digital counterparts.

I am not a VSCO girl, yet here I am, categorized by interests I had and items I owned long before I knew what VSCO was.

I make GIFs of the sunset because I live right on the Jersey shore. I eat açaí bowls and avocado toast because they're delicious, and sometimes, I want to treat myself. I drink my iced coffee with a metal straw because I want to cut down on using excess plastic.

Our society stresses individuality, so when people fall into line with these molds, it is within human nature to be judgmental. But the signature look of a VSCO girl is comprised of traits and items that are widely loved and used for a reason.

My Hydro Flask keeps my water cold and saves me from using plastic bottles. My scrunchie keeps my hair out of my face without giving me a ponytail crease. My oversized T-shirt and my Birkenstocks are comfortable and make the perfect lazy day outfit. What’s the big deal?

If you want to enjoy a VSCO item, you should be able to — free of anyone else’s opinion. 

Go out and dance in the rain, but be sure to take a GIF of it and post it on your Snapchat story. 

Get way too dressed up for brunch with your friends and enjoy those moments just spending time together, taking pictures and laughing at how awkward it is to have a photoshoot in public.

Do not be discouraged, this does not make you basic. Some of us have popular interests and that is OK. In life, it shouldn't matter if what you like is popular or not, as long as it makes you happy, that's what matters — as cheesy as it sounds, it's true.

So, dig way deep down inside, because there’s a “VSCO girl” in us all. 



Reach the reporter at omunson@asu.edu and follow @munson_olivia on Twitter. 

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