What is 'Rat Girl Summer'? Your guide to TikTok's very attainable and unapologetic self-care attitude for 2023

Entering our carefree 'Rat Girl' era...

Four Young Women Hanging Out Outside - stock photo/ in a pink, purple, blue and cream textured gradient template
(Image credit: Getty Images: Ashley Armitage / Refinery29 for Getty Images)

It seems we're no longer living in our aesthetic 'Coastal Cowgirl or 'Tomato Girl' era, but instead entering our 'Rat Girl' summer. 

At this point, we're no strangers to TikTok's weird and wonderful trends and codewords—remember the mascara trend? Or 'Boyfriend Air? But the latest term, taking over the lifestyle zeitgeist is really something else...

Now don't worry, this latest TikTok vibe has nothing to do with the furry pests themselves, though it does take a little inspo from their general attitude to life.  In fact, while its name—we concede—is a tad off-putting, the parameters of this trend are actually pretty refreshing. So, if you're looking to embrace your own 'rodent energy,' here's everything you need to know about TikTok's new approach to self-care.

What is 'Rat Girl summer'?

The viral term, as @lolaokola explains, will see us 'scurrying' about outside, in the sunshine, 'nibbling on our little snacks' and finding ourselves where we have no business being—we're guessing this means drama, which we could take or leave... (Who are we kidding? We'll be taking the dramz.)


♬ original sound - lola

♬ original sound - lola

Further outlining the rules of a 'rat gal summer', Lola says that firstly you have to go outside: "You cannot scurry in bed. You cannot scurry on your couch. You need to leave your home. You have 2 days a week allotted for decaying, do all your scrolling, do all your binge-watching and do all your rotting in bed on those 2 days."

Next up, is 'nibbling on our little snacks', meaning that toxic diet culture, which can get very suffocating especially around this time of year, is out. Lola adds: "We're eating and enjoying eating."

We're then 'killing the cringe' and not overthinking a damn thing. You have to act like a brave lil rat: "We're going with our gut, we're going with our intuition." Although, if your safety is involved, overthink away. 


Yes like that

♬ Summer Background Jazz - Jazz Background Vibes

Another user also chimed in, adding that 'occasional mayhem is encouraged' and 'crust is fine'.

This is a pretty refreshing premise when you compare it to TikTok's many, many other micro trends and aesthetics that are all about your appearance and have you overthinking your outfits and makeup, to fit the viral vibe.

What do the experts say about 'Rat Girl summer'?

Delving further into this trend and whether it's something we should all jump on, Penny Weston wellness, nutrition and fitness expert, director of award-winning Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreatand founder of MADE wellness centre, says: "The trend encourages socializing and meeting new people, which can definitely be a positive thing for most people. Summer is such a good time to socialize because of the lighter nights and warmer weather, so the social settings can feel more relaxed.

"It also encourages you to get outdoors, which is great! Sunshine naturally boosts your production of the feel-good hormones and the fresh air will help you sleep better. 

"Try and get out in the fresh air each day in order to help feel invigorated and energized. Being outside has so many benefits for the mind and body, I like to do yoga practice outdoors either at the start or end of the day when it is a little bit cooler."

Are there any drawbacks to 'Rat Girl Summer'?

As for whether this particular trend has any downsides, Penny adds that it does seem to be quite directed at 'extroverts', adding: "I think it is easy to feel under pressure over the summer to constantly have plans, and our social media feeds can contribute to this feeling. 

"Just make sure you are checking in with yourself, if you are exhausted and need some time out then prioritize yourself. Being busy all the time runs the risk of burnout. The top signs of burnout to look out for are feeling tired or more tired than usual, struggling to get to sleep despite feeling tired, finding you are irritable and experiencing mood swings, a lack of enthusiasm and feeling detached."

Plus, while being out and about in the great outdoors is super beneficial, remember to apply your sunscreen—especially your best face sunscreens—and stay hydrated!

Your 'Rat Girl' summer starter pack

Now, go forth and scurry!

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.