Recently, a new trend has circulated on the internet and all social media platforms. This trend is called Girl Dinner. This might seem like a simple term. A girl just having dinner, you may think? Yes, but there is a little more to it than that. This is not just a meal; but now a trend that brings women together. From my understanding, a girl dinner is an uncooked meal with different bits of cold food from random jars and packets in your fridge, collected on your plate. Girls in 2023 have taken their plates and stated the line “girl dinner” to their friends or on their social media pages. Normally, this would be considered a snack, but for many girls, this is dinner.
Even cheese and bread are considered a girl's dinner. This is actually where the origin of the trend came from. Olivia Mayher stated that this is not only her version of a good and wholehearted dinner, but she also loves it. An ideal girl dinner for myself would be some olives, breadsticks and dip, some salami or chorizo, pickled gherkins and maybe some mozzarella cheese with tomatoes. However, if you dislike this combo, an ice pole and a packet of crisps are also considered girl dinner. I think that is what I like about this trend. People can share their unhealthy eating habits and are not mocked for them. I appreciate that it is important to eat well, however, sometimes you would rather just eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and call it a day.
To put it simply, I believe it is a low maintenance and cost effective quick fix, which honestly hits the spot better than most elaborate meals. Even though little effort goes in, we are still proud of our Girl Dinners aren’t we? We made it ourselves and it is with food we have bought with our own money. It is humorous to see the different combinations of random foods that women come up with. Therefore the flippant response to that weird-looking plate is, girl dinner.
Some girl dinners seem to be very well organised and decorated. Charcuterie board dinners come to mind. This is not really the true girl dinner though, is it? Some would argue in this case, given how overly aestheticised and nutritionally impoverished many of the meals I have seen on social media seem to be, it is just perpetuating both diet culture and performed femininity. Girl dinner tends to be shared as an antipasti plate that does not originate in Italy but in the cold food section of your local Tesco. However, has this funny and relatable trend morphed into another space championing restrictive eating habits. Is it glorifying the ‘ideal’ of being Kate Moss’ forever memorable skinny?
The trend highlights that what women choose to eat when they are alone serves as an antidote to both diet culture and the mental health load traditionally required to get food on the table. I try not to see the trend like that. I try to keep the idea of the trend in my head, light and fluffy, much like the girl dinners I consume. However, the subjects of food and women have always had a complicated relationship. By not-so-subtly hinting that young women default to eating dainty, snacky meals, girl dinner can be looked at as just the most recent reflection of gender stereotypes that have existed for centuries. As a culture, we are trying to get past the days of assuming that women should be cooking for the men in their lives, but this fad is another way of reinforcing the trope that when women have nobody to cook for, they eat cheese and crackers. If there is a man to cook for, a robust and warm meal is made. It is assumed in this trope that women only ever cook for others out of a sense of duty.As I said previously, I personally do not think that the meaning behind this trend has that much depth. Maybe I am incorrect in saying this, and I can definitely see the argument against the trend. However, personally, I eat girl dinners often, but I also enjoy a homemade warm meal, a takeaway, a fancy dinner in a restaurant, or even a McDonalds. At the end of the day, it really is all about balance. You should never starve yourself, but you should also never feel pressured to eat something you don’t want. Now, hand me the pickle jar.
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