The latest manifestation tiktok trend is packaged as for the girlies only; ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’. It advocates the technique of using the simple phrase ‘I’m so lucky’ in order to shift away from the drudgery of everyday life, and attract more ‘lucky’ experiences. So why has it been geared so pointedly towards femininity?
This whole trend has actually made me think a lot about my own outlook on life, and how much of a ‘lucky girl’ I consider myself. I think about when I talk to others about things I like to do or goals I have, and how I can often shrink those things, squeezing them uncomfortably and incongruously into words that don’t do justice to the magnitude of my love for them. For example, I love playing guitar, yet when I talk about it I feel the instinctual squeamishness coating my throat, almost always bubbling over into an ‘Oh but it’s just something silly I do, I’m only really a beginner!’. I feel that I’m not established enough to grant myself the boon of believing that I am talented, something that would probably galvanise this hobby into going beyond the confines of the four silently critical walls of my room.
Some may think of Lucky Girl Syndrome as another privileged-white-girl fad that provides a window for them to reframe their contingent success as a result of positive thinking. And yes, whilst some people are certainly dealt a better hand than others, I do call to mind something that has really been sticking with me recently; in a world where so much adversity faces you, why add yourself to that list? Calling to mind the instance of my guitar hobby, I’m sure if anyone heard me play, they would think I’m ‘delusional’ to consider starting a band or posting covers; I’ve only practised for a few months and have received next to no musical education growing up. Yet perhaps something can be said for Lucky Girl Syndrome in its ability to encourage the ‘delusion’ required to think ourselves into surpassing that glass ceiling we build for ourselves.
I personally think that the emphasis placed on femininity in Lucky Girl Syndrome can be traced to its fascinating pivot away from the enormously valued masculine paradigm. Perceiving and interacting the world with strategy, logic, excess rationality, and competition is the outlook that has mongered fear, that we are not good enough to go after what we want, that there is some ever-elusive standard to which my guitar playing does not meet, and that it is not ‘practical’ for me to invest my time into playing it. There will always be someone better than me, more lucky than me, and so what is the point of even trying? The idea behind Lucky Girl Syndrome is that we can see ourselves as in harmony with our circumstances. Simply assuming the best is something that departs so far from the negativity shoved down our throats by society that it warrants being cast as ‘delusional’ – a word that becomes so entangled in how femininity is vilified. The subconscious belief that governs the ever-dreaded ‘mansplaining’ is that women are misled by their own naivety and need guidance in the right direction. This active choice of optimism, to trust in outcomes, is of course seen as a type of ‘delusion’ as it is so out of practice, orbiting like some absurd, ignored moon around a macho planet.
The notion that when we are thinking of the worst possible outcome, we are thinking ‘realistically’ or ‘practically’ has insidiously destroyed our collective confidence. Delusional as a word has been long-wielded against women to invalidate their thoughts and feelings and has similarly has long been used to discourage those who have had the optimism to go after what society has conditioned them to believe is out of their reach. In other words, it is a word used to other those who stray from the conventional narrative. And so I come to Lucky Girl Syndrome as recontextualising the word ‘delusion’, the word rising like a divine feminine phoenix out of the ashes of misogyny.
Ellie Power (She/They)
Image credits: https://www.deviantart.com/mythoriart/art/Divine-Feminine-929359932