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2023’s Toxic Diet Culture and Its Impact on Girls

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

In light of the New Year, many set goals to lose weight; however, there are certain sides of TikTok that display harmful diets and other aspects of diet culture that are sending negative messages to those watching.Especially towards women as many of the trends are geared toward women. A CNBC Make It article by Renée Onque proves such by analyzing a study conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont.

The first of these is the Coquette Girl Diet. The Coquette Girl aesthetic originated on Tumblr from the niche community that gained inspiration from the 1997 “Lolita” movie as well as Lana Del Ray. The Coquette Girl aesthetic recently received more attention this past year. The current Coquette Girl aesthetic is extremely similar to the first version with the incorporation of thrifted clothing trends and Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil.

For those unfamiliar with the Coquette Girl aesthetic and why it leads to a harmful diet, at its core the aesthetic centers around petiteness. The diet comes as many are attempting to achieve an unrealistic weight that involves them choosing to eat hardly anything and calorie restriction. These eating behaviors associated with the diet then create disordered eating. Dietitian Abbey Sharp explains the harmfulness of the Coquette Girl Diet in the following TikTok:


Is the 🎀 COQUETTE DIET 🎀the new IT GIRL diet trend for 2023? And is it actually dangerous for young women and girls?! 😲😲😲😲 #coquette #coquettediet #coquetteaesthetic #coquettefashion #coquettegirl #diettrends

♬ 7 rings – Ariana Grande

Another aspect of 2023’s toxic diet culture that is not found within the realms of TikTok is American Eagle’s new “Outer Banks” inspired collection. While the brand American Eagle does carry plus-sized clothing for the promotion of this new line, not a single plus-sized model was photographed in any of the clothing a part of the “Outer Banks” line.

To me, this only makes the show’s lack of body diversity more apparent as the entire main cast of the show are mainly on the thinner side. Since the show’s fan base is composed of a large range of ages such as young as middle school, it only causes concern that the young viewer will believe that these are the ideal body types and strive to obtain such.

Another trend on TikTok that is attempting to get young adult women to embrace the changes in their body from adolescence to adulthood involves that of second puberty. While some may argue the realness of second puberty essentially is a term coined to describe the changes that occurred to one’s body while they are in their twenties.

At the moment it was a trend to reflect on the drastic weight changes that many women experience from the transition from high school to life after school life whether it be college or well past college. These consist of short stories written as text on a TikTok with sad music playing in the background while the user films themselves appearing sad. These changes do not have to be sad but are depicted as such due to their drastic nature.

However, second puberty intends to combat that by normalizing these changes in weight and other aspects of appearance. This is done by fellow TikTokers explaining how they benefit from second puberty and become more confident in their appearances.

The only flaw with the second puberty theory is that it does exist. Self writer Maggie O’Neil sits down with gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck who spoke about the false notion of second puberty in this article. In the article, Dweck does discusses how women may experience hormonal shifts as they age as well as other factors that contribute to change in appearance.


Changing and developing out of being a teenager is a part of growing and developing and its a good thing even when society makes you frel like if isn’t #secondpuberty #periodtok #menstrualcycle

♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose

Although trends such as second puberty are more well-meaning than those of the American Eagle “Outer Banks” collection and the Coquette Girl Diet, it offers a short-term solution that leads to more questions. A part of diet culture that is not acknowledged very often is age and the effects that it has on our bodies.

In short, do not buy into diet trends as they are trends for a reason meaning that they will quickly change. Rather than putting too much effort into your appearance, consider the other factors.

Adriana Gasiewski

Kent State '26

Adriana Gasiewski is sophomore Journalism major with a minors in Italian and English. Besides being the Philanthropy and Community Events Coordinator and on the editorial team for Her Campus, she is also a cultural and diversity beat reporter for KentWired. Some of her favorite things to do besides writing include reading, drawing and listening to music.