TikTokers push back on ‘girlfriend air’ theory and claim people only want ‘Instagrammable boyfriends’

The “girlfriend effect” — or “girlfriend air” — trend has recently circulated around social media, but some TikTokers are pushing back on the theory and its implications.

“Girlfriend air” — which is the antithesis of the viral “boyfriend air” — is the idea that the longer someone spends with their girlfriend, the better their style will get.

One of the videos making the rounds on TikTok to explain this theory is from Leah Degois (@leah.degois). In it, she shares how she “leveled up” her boyfriend’s style.

“This man really thought he was serving looks. … This is how he looked when we started talking,” she says. “Don’t ask me what I saw. I mean, he has a great personality, good heart, whatever. But I was like, ‘There is potential here, but this is not it.'”

However, some TikTokers have pushed back against the “girlfriend effect” theory and argued that girlfriends are simply curating their boyfriends’ style for Instagram.

TikToker Not Wildlin (@notwildlin) posted a video with the caption “girlfriend air gone wrong” and explained his gripes.

He believed that some of the “before” pictures in this trend may not have featured the most stylish outfit, yet he appreciated it because it showed a sense of personality. But Not Wildin thinks that personality is taken away with some of the “girlfriend air” examples.

“They’ll go to the after pictures of how they started dressing when they met their girlfriends. They just look like the most regular capsule closet, Zara-catalog man. No personality. No nothing,” he says in the video. “You wanted a Zwinky doll that you could put on your IG feed.”

Not Wildlin isn’t the only one to speak out about TikTok’s newest trend.

TikToker Ash (@velvteenrabbit), a fashion student and blogger, posted a video with her thoughts and wrote “Instagrammable Boyfriends” at the top of the video.

“A lot of these women are just taking away any personal style that their boyfriends have at all,” she says in the post stitched with Not Wildlin’s original video. “Instead just putting them in literally Zara clothing.”

While certain creators chose to focus on how girlfriends are infringing on their boyfriends’ personal style, others have called out the negative way some women speak about their partners.

“What I see in these videos is you’re removing all uniqueness from this guy and making him dress like ‘every guy that knows how to dress’ or some celebrity that you like,” Alphanso (@e_alphanso_) says in his video.

Even the creators who have pushed back against this trend have agreed that in many cases the girlfriend did help to elevate someone’s style. But it’s the loss of personal style that has several TikTokers questioning the trend overall.

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