Tumblr will probably outlive most of us, which is a wonderful thing.
Since in the previous column I failed to summon a problematic capitalist as my husband, it’s time to return back to our billionaire-free hot girl roots! Originating from the depths of 2015 Tumblr, saturated with holographic aliens, purple hair and smutty OneDirection fanfiction, lies the humble beginnings of my adolescence. As inspiring as its iconic Helvetica Neue Italic quotes were to my teenage psyche, Tumblr definitely had many questionable moments. Although I’d love to deep dive into its controversies, that is unfortunately a whole ass doctoral thesis. Instead, I will satisfy my younger self’s wishes and become the “Tumblr Girl” I’ve always wanted to be—with the help of Wattpad!
Surprisingly for a site predominantly (at least in 2015) filled with romantic stories about being adopted by Harry Styles or intricate werewolf love triangle fantasies, there’s also an abundance of self-help publications. The book titled “How to be a Tumblr Girl (Complete)” that claims to teach you “how to get your tumblr on” was the godsend tutorial I needed to unlock my dreams of being Y/N.
The first important step I needed to take was working out which Tumblr aesthetic I wanted to mimic. Out of the book’s wide variety of “girly,” “swag,” “nerdy,” “boho,” and “grunge” aesthetics to choose from, I felt that my teenage self most closely identified with the “grunge” option. Unfortunately, 15–year old me was still in my embarrassing “I’m not like other girls” phase where I desperately wanted to be that mysterious and “alternative” girl everyone including Luke Hemmings admired. We love unresolved internalised misogyny…
With my grunge aspirations all worked out, it was time to move onto the “clothing” chapter, a quintessential part of being a Tumblr Girl. The guide lists a bunch of key fashion items vital to the Tumblr girl closet. First on the agenda was the iconic flannel, recommended not only for its versatility, but also to be “tied around your waist” for optimum style. To pair with the flannel, was the suggestion of a crop top and skinny jeans. This outfit combo is honestly enough to generate unwanted flashbacks for many of us, a harsh reminder that once upon a time, high waisted shorts and tie dye muscle tanks were the epitome of fashion.. To think that in 10 years time the current trendy Pinterest girl aesthetic will probably be considered outdated and cringed at by Generation Alpha. Whatever happens, I just know that no fashion influencer or magazine could ever part me and my beloved Dr Marten 1461s.
Fortunately, for the purposes of nostalgia, I was able to dig out an old flannel I sometimes wear to laze around the house, a pair of black skinny jeans and a crop top that was probably bought from the mall back in 2016. A true vintage find if you ask me! As I looked at my new grunge outfit in the mirror, I was disappointed that I didn’t feel anywhere near as edgy as the girls on my Tumblr feed. Maybe I wasn’t being hardcore enough. I needed to be dedicated to my aesthetic. I needed to live and breathe grunge.
Luckily, I stumbled upon another book titled “guide to grunge.” I knew it would be a credible source just from its opening words of “they laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at them because their all the same.” While the author could definitely benefit from using Grammarly, their in-depth analysis of the grunge style was invaluable. Since we already nailed the outfit, the only thing left to do was jazz up the hair. The book specifically recommended “leaving your hair unkempt and messy, make sure to not brush it too much” or to take it a step further and “get it greasy by not washing your hair for as long as possible”! Guess it’s not grunge to be hygienic…
After a few days of not touching the highly taboo item of shampoo, all I needed to do was take photos. What’s the point of listening to indie rock bands 24/7 and living in fishnet stockings if you don’t make it known to the world about your alternative lifestyle? “For any picture to be your full grunge potential, don’t smile. When someone says cheese, pretend you’re lactose intolerant or something.” The instructions were straight-forward. I posed against my Arctic Monkeys poster in my flannel and skinny jeans, unleashing my resting bitch face for maximum effect. In my opinion, the photo looked super grunge and great, especially after chucking a b&w filter on top and a depressing fake-deep quote. However, when I posted it on my Tumblr blog after five years of inactivity, to my shock I did not get a single like or reblog. I am beyond shocked. I will instead leave you with the poignant words of my old laptop wallpaper “Intoxicated with sadness. In love with madness”