Girl Math TikTok

Right, let’s talk about the dark side of TikTok’s ‘girl math’ trend

I’m not sure this is healthy

Cozzie livs has been slamming us all. New clothes are bought on Klarna, Friday night drinks have us in our over drafts and we basically can’t afford to date unless the guy isn’t a feminist and handles the whole bill. Principles mean nothing when inflation is this high, sorry.

And with the coming of crippling financial instability, has come a new TikTok trend. We’ve had hot girl walks, rat girl summer, clean girl aesthetic— and now we’ve got girl math: The life hack designed to justify every bit of irresponsible spending you do until the end of time, whether Taylor Swift tickets or skincare products.

The rules of girl math are simple: Returning an item = making money. Buying nice things = investment. If you go shopping and don’t buy anything = you’re legally obliged to spend your allocated budget on cocktails. Buy a Dyson Airwrap (£479.99) = saving money on blow drys. The possibilities and delusion are endless.

But there’s something a bit uncomfy about girl math. We’re all doing an unbelievable amount of mental gymnastics to justify spending money we’ve earned. You don’t need girl math when spending on sports tickets or pints or video games. But you do need it for manicures and designer bags— because women’s interests (despite propping up economy) are seen as a stupid indulgence we have to justify our way out of.

Fundamentally, 70-80 per cent of consumer spending is done or influenced by women, so, the way we shop has a big influence on our lives and the world: Taylor Swift’s Eras tour is projected to add $5billion to the worldwide economy. Barbie has made over $1billion at the box office. We shouldn’t feel idiotic for that.

“The fundamental problem with girl math is that it’s infantilising us,” says personal finance expert Ellie Austin-Williams. “It’s really quite harmful if we take it to heart. It’s basically treating ourselves as kids. As if we’re not capable as adult women of making sensible financial decisions…The reality is, if you decide that you’ve got enough money in your savings or income to buy those Taylor Swift tickets then you don’t have to justify it to anyone,” she adds.

“Women are pictured as shopaholics…irresponsible with money. And by jumping on this trend with girl math it’s basically the modern version of ‘oh we’re so silly with money! We can’t manage our money!'” she continues. “We need to move away from that. We are very capable women and we can manage our money and make financial decisions and we don’t owe it to anybody to justify them.”

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