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An illustration of how feral girl summer might look this year.
Illustration by Abby Yang, Minneapolis College

There are fewer things with greater promise than the summer, and this new term offers a fresh take on how to go ‘feral’ this year.

Megan Thee Stallion, a self-proclaimed and definitive hot girl, changed summer forever when she proclaimed that the summer of 2019 was “hot girl summer.” Having just released her album “Fever,” fans took the phrase to heart, and thus the longevity of “hot girl summer” was solidified, locking in “Fever” as the soundtrack of the summer.

Fans took to Twitter to popularize the new phrase, and Megan herself explained in an interview with The Root that hot girl summer is about “women — and men — just being unapologetically them, just having a good-ass time, hyping up your friends, doing you, not giving a damn about what nobody got to say about it. You definitely have to be a person that can be the life of the party, and, y’know, just a bad bitch.”

It may sound silly, but “hot girl summer” has real roots in contemporary feminism. After all, it is ultimately a feminine-coded term used mostly by women on the internet. Not only that, but like many cultural trends, it originated with and from Black women. Freely making money, having casual sex and believing in your own “hotness” has a third-wave feminist tilt to it, as an article published on Vox explains. Women have often been shamed for enjoying the same activities that men have been allowed to freely enjoy without explanation, and it’s all about reclaiming that power.

Although different from one another, both categorizations offer a blissful representation of hotter months full of potential and fun. But there’s a new girl in town — enter “feral girl summer.” Although “feral” doesn’t immediately sound like the most pleasant of terms, it has been coined the new word of the summer.

So, where did “feral girl summer” come from? In the same slant as “hot girl summer,” “feral girl summer” is meant to encourage women to live their best lives during the warmest months of the year. However, “feral girl summer” abandons the entire premise of the curated “it girl” that “hot girl summer” revolved around. Lorde would know a thing or two about it.

Upon the release of her album “Solar Power,” Lorde told fans that the album celebrated the idea of a “sexy, playful, feral, and free” woman, one who was not concerned with the constraints of appearing how society wants them to. She further writes, “There’s someone I want you to meet. Her feet are bare at all times. She’s a modern girl in a deadstock bikini, in touch with her past and her future, vibrating at the highest level when summer comes around. Her skin is glowing, her lovers are many.” “Feral girl summer” may have been inspired by Lorde, but it has certainly evolved past the idyllic image that Lorde painted. While “hot girl summer” encourages freedom as well, it doesn’t quite go as far off the ledge as “feral girl summer” does.

It’s difficult to really encapsulate the chaos of “feral girl summer.” As written in an article published through Vice, “feral girl summer” is imagined as “jumping into a pool in your underwear while drunk at 2 a.m., not shaving or brushing your hair, telling off men who’ve wronged you, posing for kissing pictures and posting them on the internet, and buying new lingerie.” A popular TikTok with over 600,000 likes says, “i have absolutely no interest in being ‘that girl’ a feral spring/summer is upon us. i will never wake up at 5am to drink green juices and be hyper organized i will instead be in 4am reddit holes, diet coke first thing in the morning, fistfulls of raw pasta as a snack, 3 weeks of no response followed by an unhinged 12 page rant.”

In a way, it is a rejection of the idea of the “it girl” that has recently plagued social media feeds. The “it girl” is stereotyped as the girl who drinks green juice, goes to the gym and lives in matching sweatsuits from Aritzia. “Feral girl summer” is about being both unhinged and self-loving. The term has also been alternately known as “goblin girl summer” or “goblin mode,” which is in the same chaotic spirit.

So consider embracing your most unhinged self at all times this summer regardless of the lingo you use. Don’t worry about how you look or if what you’re doing is “good”; it’s about indulging in your bad habits and embracing that sometimes you can be a mess. Prepare yourself; after all, “feral girl summer” is just around the corner.

Writer Profile

Ally Xu

Northeastern University

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