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Mental Health

The Rise of Squishmallows: An Exploration of Inner Healing

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Squishmallows- the adorable squishy stuffed animals that have captured the hearts of adolescent girls and young adult women alike. 

When you think of current teen girl hobbies, what do you think of? Online shopping? Tarot cards or crystals? Crocheting? Makeup? Hiking? Fashion? 

Personally, I think describing the population of “teenage girls” with overarching labels to represent the demographic as a whole is an almost impossible job in itself. Teenage girls are a highly diverse group, but I would like to make the argument that our society has recently stumbled upon one hobby that connects us all: collecting Squishmallows. 

Squishmallows are incredibly soft, cute, round stuffed animals that make you feel like you’re squeezing a giant marshmallow. With sweet little eyes and precious features, they come in all different styles and sizes- from humongous avocados and cows to pint-sized stingrays and dinosaurs, there’s a huge variety to choose from. 

Squishmallows are undeniably one of the most popular trends at the moment. According to Study Breaks, “Squishmallows have technically been around since 2017 but did not gain popularity until 2020, which is what classifies them as a pop-up trend. When the brand first got its start, it only consisted of a line of eight characters. In the years following, it rapidly expanded, growing to around 1000 characters as of 2021.” 

But why have they become so popular? It’s not every day that a line of stuffed animals becomes a fixation for 13 to 25-year-olds, leading me to believe it could be a combination of two things: Healing the inner child and embracing femininity.

Healing the Inner Child

For a lot of people, we look back on our childhoods as some of the best times of our lives. During childhood, we were able to express ourselves without worrying about judgment from others, spend our time exploring, learning, creating and we also lived mostly carefree lives.

As kids, we’re not required to make a lot of our own choices, and for people who weren’t able to have the privilege of happy healthy childhoods, I believe Squishmallows allow you to relive a part of your childhood in the way you may have truly wanted or needed to.

I believe stuffed animals are a key symbol that represent childhood, and as a symbol, they also reintroduce the idea of playfulness and freedom that we often forget about when entering adulthood. Why choose a boring throw pillow when you could have a tiny octopus on your bed? Why not fill your room with things you love if you have the resources to do so? 

I believe Squishmallows allow us to relive our childhood in a healing way, and remind us to reinsert the idea of playfulness back into our lives that we may have left behind in our youth. 

Embracing Femininity

Though for women this may go hand-in-hand with healing your inner child, I also believe Squishmallows allow people to express their femininity, which is incredibly important when living in a patriarchal society that promotes the message that everything inherently “feminine” is uncool. As a little girl, I know I tried to reject a lot of my femininity to be seen as “cool” to boys. I despised the color pink, I hated wearing dresses, I never wanted to paint my nails- all of these things I convinced myself I didn’t like when it was actually internalized misogyny. 

Today, girls and women are made fun of for liking, well, really anything. But instead of pushing away our feminine side to be seen as “not like other girls,” I believe more and more girls today are embracing their femininity and rejecting the male gaze in many different ways- including owning Squishmallows. I believe collecting something cute, soft and squishy innately embraces femininity in our society, which I believe can be empowering on your journey of self-love. 

People love Squishmallows for many different reasons. Besides being adorable and fun decor, I believe they also have a positive impact on the people that collect them. The Squishmallow trend seems to be gaining more popularity each day, and I hope its reign doesn’t end anytime soon. With just a squeeze, a Squishmallow allows you to recapture a little bit of childhood magic, and fill your heart with happiness at any age.

Buy your own Squishmallow today!

Gracen is currently a sophomore at CWU studying Film Production. Some of her interests include photography, making art, watching movies, and listening to music. This is her second year writing for Her Campus.
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