Everyone seems to be talking about ‘feral girl summer’ but what does the trend really say about us? 

Embracing “unhinged chaos?” We're not too sure…
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Hanna Lassen

If you've been scrolling the night away on TikTok in recent months (I mean, who hasn't?), then you've probably heard of a new trend promising us the summer of our lives.

Feral girl summer is the movement taking over the social media app – and while we initially welcomed the idea... suddenly we're not so sure anymore.

Let us explain. Basically, the word feral is traditionally described as a "wild state (usually of an animal) after they escape from captivity or domestication."


So what does feral have to do with us... and our summer?

Well, to understand the concept behind Feral Girl Summer, we need to backtrack and remind ourselves of Hot Girl Summer; because frankly, that was the aesthetic we had all been trying to achieve these last two years.

What is "Hot Girl Summer"?

Back in 2019, rapper Megan Thee Stallion dropped her hit tune Cash Sh[*]t and thus coined the phrase Hot Girl Summer.

Speaking of what the term encompassed, she said it was, "To be you, just having fun. Turning up, driving the boat and not giving a damn about what nobody's saying."

The trend quickly set social media ablaze, with plenty of millennial and Gen-Z women across the globe using it as part of their every vocabulary, which was coined to champion our authentic selves.

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However, with the internet's obsession with the "working on yourself to become a better person" aesthetic, Hot Girl Summer quickly turned into videos of women doing pilates at dawn, drinking oat milk lattes and manifesting the year ahead by journalling. It was about leaving the chaos behind and aiming for a better, peaceful life.

So how did "Feral Girl Summer" come around?

Back in February, TikTok user Feral Rat Club branded the theme of the coming months as "feral" in a now-viral video.

"Time to wreak havoc, cause chaos, align your rodent chakras, and just completely get after it. Life is supposed to be fun," she preached. The user added further context: "I am feeling some f***ing chaotic energy… I think we all deserve it."

Basically, with Hot Girl Summer, you care; and with Feral Girl Summer, you don't.

Woken up with last night's smudged make-up? Cool. Sporting the same dishevelled un-washed locks from the start of the week? Cool. Said embarrassing things to the hot guy at the bar? Cool. Food stains across an all-white outfit? Cool, cool, cool.

Another column piece adds that the "feral girl" is "someone who doesn't care what anyone else thinks about them. She is independent, chaotic and yet chill. She is always down to go with the flow and have a good time.

"She's out every night of the week, loves house music, she talking to all the strangers at bars, she's getting spontaneous tattoos and drinking every shot handed to her." The Feral Girl is an antidote to the tailored perfectionism of “that girl.”

Wow, is it just us, or does this *not trying too hard and going with the flow* feral-ness actually seems like... a lot of hard work?

Nonetheless, TikTok quickly endorsed the new movement, and thus Feral Girl Summer was born - a new social media trend urging women to embrace their most authentic, chaotic and messy lives.

Immediately, women began sharing videos of how they planned to "not care" and "let go" this summer – and how their lives revolved around "unhinged chaos". What societal rules and regulations? They don't exist for the Feral Girl.  

What are the controversies surrounding the Feral Girl Summer?

The Feral Girl claims to distance itself from the OG Hot Girl as they just "don't care". Or does she?

To be honest, it seems to be another trend to pressure women to behave in a certain way. There is the pressure for Feral Girls to be parading their disarray in the same way there has been pressure for Hot Girls to tie the manicured versions of their lives tightly with a bow. We women cannot catch a break!

On the other hand, there is the notion that the Feral Girl is a conflicting character to the Hot Girl and therefore, we must choose which brand of summer livelihood we fit into. Why can't I enjoy my way-too-pricey oat milk latte and also not be bothered that I've split it down my top before even making my way into the office? Why do I need to choose whose team I'm on? I'm both!

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Another thought – what happens when summer comes to an end? Does our feral flair go into hibernation, or is it killed off? Because, of course, with social media, who knows what trend comes next. Not-bothered girl autumn? Wacky girl winter? Sleepy girl spring? We can't keep up! Why do we need to rebrand ourselves constantly?!

There has also been the conversation that Feral Girl Summer is the gentrified and adjusted version of its predecessor, Hot Girl Summer.

One person tweeted: "Gentrification has taken over hot girl summer," another wrote. Another wrote: "I'm screaming because if "feral girl summer" is your thing, then you are indeed having a hot girl summer."

While Megan Thee Stallion gave birth to the OG trend, it's not gone ignored that predominantly white women take these trends (often without credit to the creator) and rebrand them for mainstream approval. There is no space for that in 2022!

The fact of the matter is that while TikTok trends are fun and all, we shouldn't rely on them to pave the way for our summer. Whether you're "hot" or "feral" this summer, for goodness sake, just have a *fun and authentic* time if you really want to be *that girl*.