“If you can’t handle me in goblin mode, you don’t deserve me at my slay.”
Recently, the publication The Guardian exposed us all to the term “goblin mode.” They said that the term “embraces the comforts of depravity and a direct departure from the ‘cottagecore’ influence of early pandemic days.”
The two fashion trends goblin mode directly pushes back against are cottagecore and #thatgirl self-improvement. Proponents of going goblin claim the cottagecore aesthetic romanticized life and set unrealistic standards to be constantly improving despite global shutdowns. Often running alongside the goblin mode hashtag on TikTok is #feralgirlsummer – a direct opposite of the popular “hot girl summer” from two years ago.
What Is Goblin Mode?
A goblin – a small, grotesque monster – is the last thing you would expect young women to model their behavior on. People going goblin embrace acting like they’re from the dregs of society. Reddit, TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts are where you’ll find plenty of visual evidence of goblin mode using the tag #goblinmode.
The Guardian reported that, according to a “real-life goblin,” the mindset is a purposeful lack of aesthetic for those exhausted by high-maintenance fashion trends. Goblin mode has also been described as an inevitable descent into nihilism after people have grown tired of not indulging in their most “debased tendencies.” Instead of bettering yourself, going goblin is embracing being a slob in order to stick it to those who are well put together.
Goblin mode might look like “a day in bed watching 90 Day Fiancé on mute while scrolling endlessly through social media, pouring the end of a bag of chips in your mouth; downing Eggo toaster oven waffles with hot sauce over the sink because you can’t be bothered to put them on a plate. Leaving the house in your pajamas and socks only to get a single Diet Coke from the bodega.”
Another said that it might look like being “in 4am Reddit holes, Diet Coke first thing in the morning, [and] fistfuls of raw pasta as a snack.”
So, like these winning individuals, after two years of remote work, lockdowns, and pandemic stress, the question more people have apparently been asking is “Why even bother?” Hence the rise of the anti-self-improvement trend.
Why bother? Well, we’ll tell you.
Goblin Mode Is a Bizarre Brand of “Self-Love”
Being a goblin is apparently self-love and an ironic form of self-betterment.
“I love barely holding on to my sanity and making awful selfish choices and participating in unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms,” said one proponent.
In what backwards world is embracing all of the worst behaviors possible supposed to be self-care?
Intentional rest and downtime are self-care, mindless self-indulgence is not. Yet, even though as consumers we’re prioritizing self-care practices (studies have shown up to 79% of people believe wellness is important to them with 42% responding that wellness is a top priority), they might not solve any deep-rooted problems you have.
Ignoring your problems and going “goblin” isn’t going to actually improve anything.
There’s a lot of bad self-care advice out there that women take as gospel. Publications with a high level of influence over young ladies, like Cosmopolitan or Buzzfeed, regularly release self-care listicles that propose a different kind of self-care that’s just as futile as goblin mode. No amount of essential oil shower steamers, foot masks, plush animals, or rainbow whipped body scrubs can change deep-rooted mental and physical conditions. It’s all well and good to treat that kind of “self-care” as your icing on the cake, but if you’re neglecting to take actual care of your body from the inside out, then your efforts are in vain.
If you’re feeling worthless or down on yourself, then ignoring your problems and going “goblin” isn’t going to actually change anything. Real self-care looks more like eating and exercising to benefit your hormones, getting regular sleep, avoiding hormonal birth control, practicing virtue and grace, striving to improve yourself, and building mental resilience.
“If you can’t handle me in goblin mode, you don’t deserve me at my slay.”
This “love me at my worst” mentality that goblins express is meant to demonstrate that beauty is an arbitrary standard often set by straight white men to oppress women. Throw off the shackles of beauty and be a slob and demand that everyone love and affirm you in your filth!
Be honest, do you actually like yourself when you haven’t showered in three days? Do you actually feel good when all you’ve eaten all day is junk food, soda, and coffee?
If you’re not able to love yourself – no matter how much other people “love you at your worst” (which you shouldn’t be demanding they do anyways) – then it’s going to be difficult and draining to show love to those in your life who need it. The energy that you give off has deep effects on the people around you.
When you start to look introspectively and ask yourself how your behavior is affecting the people around you, you might discover that you have a lot of personal growth ahead of you. We’re all inherently flawed, but we should be striving to be kinder, more thoughtful, more perceptive, and more passionate – not just demanding everyone else be that way.
Being a Slob Impacts Your Mental Health
Goblin girls blame society for enforcing standards they find unattainable instead of maintaining simple practices and good habits to take care of their appearance and health. Hey, I get it, it’s a lot easier to blame others for your problems instead of admitting that your own behavior is flawed. But making the conscious decision to put yourself together every day works wonders for your mental health and self-esteem.
There is so much power in the way that you present yourself. You don’t have to be dressed to the nines daily or wearing intricate eye makeup to go into the office, but consider how a few minutes of extra effort can help you feel and help others feel like you’re more approachable. What you put on your body and how you express your natural features can either empower you with confidence or signal to people that you’re not an enjoyable person to be around.
If you’re not able to love yourself then it’s going to be difficult to love those in your life who need it.
If you’re choosing to dress comfier because you’re on your period and might not want to wear a tighter outfit, that’s not an excuse to not brush your hair or not shower away any unpleasant scents you brewed up overnight.
If you’re choosing to dress in athleisure because you’ll be heading out to the gym during the day anyway, you can still look put together by wearing crisp gym clothes, complementary colors, sporty-chic accessories, and at least wash your face.
The bottom line is that habitually dressing down can negatively impact your mood. Even if you’re feeling like giving in and going goblin, you’ll be doing your mental health a disservice if you don’t put a bit of effort to clean up your hygiene, doll up your looks, and dress more confidently.
It’s Totally Okay If Cottagecore Isn’t Your Thing, But Don’t Go Goblin
Fitting the cottagecore mold may not be attainable for you, and that’s okay. You might not be able to help the fact that you live in an inner-city high rise. You might not have enough time or even have the desire to bake your own bread and make intricate meals from scratch. You might feel your sexiest in more modern garments.
We each have our own unique ways of embracing our feminine beauty. If you don’t vibe with cottagecore, don’t sweat it – but don’t use that as an excuse to go to the other extreme of goblin mode. You’re at your most radiant when you find a reasonable balance in the middle.
Goblin mode is the antithesis of sexy. It’s a nihilistic movement based on the mistaken belief that engaging in selfish, slovenly behavior is empowering. It’s everything that women should not aspire to be.
You should strive to find self-determination and joie de vivre to honor your bodies with fresh fashions and true physical and emotional improvement for long-term health and vitality. Let’s not blame society, put down roots, and regress. Goblin mode isn’t real self-love, it’s a disservice to yourself and all the people around you.
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