‘Girl math’ trend highlights Gen Z’s financial stress
‘Girl math’ trend highlights Gen Z’s financial stress

If it’s under $5, it’s basically free. If you return the item and get a refund, you’ve made money. If you paid for your vacation months ago, it will be free when you go on vacation. It’s also free if you buy something with cash in your pocket.

Such is the strange logic of “girl math,” the latest trend on TikTok where women rationalize their spending in illogical ways. It’s one of dozens of “girly” trends sweeping the internet, but not everyone is laughing this time around — a trend that some believe perpetuates the stereotype that women are irresponsible with money. It also seems to indicate an emerging attitude, especially among Gen Z and younger millennial women who are embracing the trend, that money is a fiction so it is always justified to spend it, or in other words money is not true.

It’s “essentially free”

The term “girls math” was coined in July by three New Zealand radio hosts on a ZM show. fletcher, vaughn and hayley. In one segment, they helped a caller justify the $5,600 spent on travel, accommodation and tickets for all four nights of a Taylor Swift-era Sydney tour. The group reasoned that the purchase was “essentially free.” The girl’s math logic is like this:

Since the caller would be watching four shows in a row, she “saved” money by purchasing only one round-trip ticket. After all, “she’s going to four shows, but she’s not going to buy eight flights, she’s buying two flights,” said comedian Hayley Sproull, one of the hosts. “She saved $1,800 there.”

Four nights in Sydney would also be reasonable if the caller could sublet her apartment for those nights. This way, they said, she would not have to pay for accommodation in two different locations at the same time. If the caller re-watches the video she took at the concert 1,000 times, the remaining value is eventually wiped out, since these are essentially “free” concerts.

Not to mention, being able to tell her kids and grandkids that she saw Taylor Swift perform live on her iconic, record-breaking Eras tour. pricelessthey concluded.

“My mom always told me, ‘I saw Freddie Mercury live,'” Sproul said. “You can say ‘I saw Taylor Swift with my own eyes.'”

“Honestly, I can’t believe we even bothered to justify this. It justified itself,” she added.

“A Way of Life and an Illusion”

Girls math is a joke — really?

While the girls math video doesn’t directly convey the mentality that money is created out of thin air, the phrase “money isn’t real” appears in many of the adjacent social media videos. This is no coincidence, as Gen Z and young millennials have grown up watching the Federal Reserve effectively print trillions of dollars as the US continues to be mired in debt.

“At one point, the dollar was backed by something. It was backed by physical, tangible gold that existed, and now it’s backed by hopes and dreams,” one TikToker said in a post. video.

another tiktok user explain“Now that money is not real and the economy is fiction, can we all agree that people who study economics in college basically get degrees in drama?”

In 1975, economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote in his book: Money: where it comes from and where it goes’, “The process by which banks create money is so simple that it’s repulsive. A deeper mystery seems only appropriate when it comes to something of this magnitude. “

Combined with these generations distrust of large institutionsand look, trends like Girls Math were born. Their cynical, apathetic approach to finance is not surprising, given their experience of financial crises, pandemics and climate anxiety. For twenty-somethings with no savings, girls math is not a joke but a coping mechanism.

As New Zealand radio producer Shannon Trim puts it, joke In one passage: “It’s a way of life, and it’s an illusion.”

Financial behavior ‘we know we shouldn’t be doing this’

Girls math is just the latest in a long line of ‘girly’ trends this year “Girls Dinner” and “Lazy Girl’s Job,” by last year “Hot Girls Walk” and “Hot Girl Summer” and the situation before the outbreak “VSCO girl.” The hashtag #girlmath has been viewed more than 45 million times on TikTok. Like its predecessors, this one has resonated with many, as well as sparked criticism.

“‘Girl Math’ is just the latest iteration of our attempts to rationalize financial behaviors we know we shouldn’t be doing,” says psychologist and financial advisor Brad Klontz, Tell CNBC Saturday.

Haley Sacks, known on social media as “Mrs. Dow” and appearing at wealth The 2020 40 Under 40 list argues that the practice infantilizes women and encourages reckless consumption.

“While I know it’s meant to be funny, stereotypes like this affect behavior. It just reinforces a tiresome, dangerous narrative,” Sachs wrote on Instagram. postal on Sunday. “Another example of how differently men and women think about money in the media!”

“Men are told to invest and grow their wealth, women are told we are stupid and can’t be trusted to protect or manage bags,” she added. “Even if it’s meant to be funny, the message permeates how we see ourselves. And it’s going viral.”

Contrary to what Girls Math might suggest, women aren’t the only ones spending big bucks.According to a Deloitte statistic, men are statistically just as likely to splurge as women Report from April. When they do, they spend the most money – almost 40% more globally and in the US

Part of the reason is that men have more money to spend.Despite the recent shift, men still control the bulk of the money and will control two-thirds of total U.S. household financial assets by 2020, according to McKinsey Report.

Could men benefit from the carefree attitude of girls’ math advocates?one fletcher, vaughn and hayley Viewers seem to think so too, writing on the show facebook page“Now let’s do the math! I want to justify some car parts.”

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