Girl Dinner


The dark side of ‘girl dinner’

The trend as a whole can have a negative impact.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Jul 19, 2023   Updated on Jul 20, 2023, 7:02 am CDT

Problematic on TikTok is a weekly column that unpacks the troubling trends that are emerging on the popular platform and runs on Tuesdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.


I was over “girl dinner” before the TikTok trend even began. But let me explain.

“Girl dinner” started in May of this year. TikToker Olivia Maher (@liviemaher) posted a video showing her dinner, which consisted of bread, cheese, butter, cornichons, and grapes

“I call this girl dinner,” Maher says in her video, which now has over a million views

The idea of “girl dinner” is that it’s a meal one throws together with whatever they have in their kitchen, like noodles with olive oil and parmesan; burrata veggies and prosciutto or just a slice of ice cream cake. The trend is similar to a “depression meal,” or a meal that doesn’t take much assembly.

“Girl dinner” really took off when TikToker Karma Carr, who creates and sings comedic songs, penned a song about the trend. In her “girl dinner” video, she sings about how girl dinner is a “feast for a winner” as she assembles leftover Chipotle, carrots, peanut butter, and chocolate milk into a well-presented meal. Her sound has been used in almost 60,000 TikToks.

Why it matters

It is always better to eat a “girl dinner” than nothing at all, but many TikToks that depict “girl dinners” seem to show women not eating enough—or even experiencing disordered eating: One TikToker says their dinner was simply peanut butter and water. Another says they drank a can of Red Bull for dinner. Another said she simply slept through dinner and didn’t eat. Carr even posted a video using her own “girl dinner” sound seeming to imply she only ate a popsicle for dinner.

A video from Meija (@mei.fae) about the trend perfectly encapsulates my feelings on it.

“Girl dinner does not mean under-fed dinner. Girl dinner does not mean disordered eating dinner,” Meija says. “A bag of popcorn is not dinner. A piece of toast is not dinner. A shot of vodka is certainly not dinner.”

She then says that she understands that the trend is meant to be a joke, but that it “is glamorizing disordered eating as a cute little girly thing.” 

Meija explains the dual nature of the trend’s harmfulness: in addition to normalizing disordered eating, it also ascribes eating less to women. And while eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender, the idea that women should eat less than men is one that keeps many women trapped in eating disorders and disordered eating.

Maher and Carr aren’t to blame for TikTokers eating small dinners, and they of course are not responsible for the eating habits of others. But the trend as a whole can have a negative impact—so be wary the next time you want to post “girl dinner” if it’s not really enough food for a meal.

Like what you are reading?
Sign up to receive web_crawlr, a daily newsletter
from the Daily Dot, in your inbox each morning.

Share this article
*First Published: Jul 19, 2023, 6:00 am CDT