Why People Hate VSCO Girls

As you’ve probably seen on virtually every social media platform, VSCO girls (pronounced visco) dominate teenage pop culture. With their infamous puka shell necklaces, scrunchies, Hydro Flasks, friendship bracelets, oversized t-shirts, Birkenstocks, and metal straws, they’ve endured ridicule from almost every other teenager (and overreacting grown ups). Videos and memes mocking the VSCO girl subculture seem to circulate social media more than VSCO girls themselves. But how can such harmless items and young girls spark so much hate? 

VSCO girls value a simple, laid-back life. They typically wear loose t-shirts, comfortable leggings, their hair in messy buns, and minimal make up. Also, they’re environmentalists at heart, advocating for reusable items and the “save the turtles” movement. They love home DIY projects ranging from making the classic friendship bracelet to more modern home-made stickers for their Hydro Flasks. On top of doing all these small, innocuous things, they usually are only about ten to eighteen years old. So, I ask again, why do people hate or even care so much about what they’re doing?

People of all ages have been mocking girls who ascribe to this subculture. Satirical videos on YouTube of people of all ages and genders transforming into stereotypical VSCO girls garnered a lot of attention and praise. People also make fun of them through videos on TikTok, photos on Instagram, and even through tweets bluntly criticizing them. In these posts, people claim that their environmentalism is superficial and that they’re too mainstream, annoying, and have no personality. 

Additionally, they say that these girls try too hard to look like they’re not trying. They joke that their simple, lazy messy buns probably took thirty minutes to do and they spent too much time selecting the perfect scrunchie to put on their wrists. Like pretty much every other stereotype about girls, it’s never positive.

As you can see, none of these criticisms of VSCO girl culture are about substantial topics. They’re just about how an individual thinks these girls are irritating, unoriginal, and crave attention online and in real life. So, just like that, the VSCO girl has notoriously become 2019’s “basic bitch.” 

The items that have become staples in this subculture were never inherently uncool or basic before these girls started interacting with them. This suggests that the object itself doesn’t determine its own coolness—it’s the involvement of girls that makes the object uncool or trivial to people who have internalized misogynistic tendencies or bias against females.

Contemporary society revels in dismissing and criticizing girls. Being female means you almost never win with people’s opinions of you. If you’re a girl, you’ll face criticisms about being too feminine or not feminine enough. You are always considered too much and not enough of something at the same time. This happens because the values girls hold are regarded as innately trivial, which inspires the criticisms about VSCO girls and their supposed basic-ness. 

If we don’t call out this behavior as misogynistic, we will encourage people to continue belittling things that girls like to the extent where the things are more significant and consequential than just mocking a love of scrunchies. Teen boys don’t really have people or the world constantly trying to diminish their self-esteem. That is how the social hierarchy of gender remains embedded in our society. Ridiculing and dismissing girls for their every action prohibits them from growing into themselves. They’re not encouraged to or allowed the time to find self-confidence in their thoughts, opinions, likes, dislikes, or self-image.

Mocking grown women is completely different than mocking teenage girls. The level of hyper-criticism teen girls face for simply wearing a t-shirt can easily impact her development of a good self-esteem and confidence. We need to start treating teen boys and girls equally, and stop making fun of girls for their every move. 

The fact that “VSCO girl” is even a term to begin with proves the act of reducing girls down to a stereotype based on their appearance still remains prevalent in our society. If we repeatedly dismiss what teen girls like we’re asking them to apologize or feel ashamed for eco-friendly products and friendship bracelets. Whether it’s intentional or not, by making fun of VSCO girls, and almost every other “category” of girls, we’re saying they need to feel self-conscious for everything they do, say, like, and even think.