You’ve seen them on TikTok in their Patagonia sweaters, carrying their stickered up drink bottles, and posting about their latest hiking adventure, but what is a #GranolaGirl? Pippa, gives an insider scoop.
‘Paddle, paddle, paddle! You got this!’
My arms burned as I propelled myself over the glassy surface, felt the lift of my board rise in time with my heart as I was caught by the wave – concentrate, move your arms, come on, don’t let your knee touch the board and… nosedive. Classic.
As I made the paddle of shame back to my friends, I couldn’t help but feel so pleased to be where I was. Covered in saltwater, my face warmed by the sun, my heart warmed by the beautiful people around me. So much better than the tutorial I was supposed to be attending. Whoops.
‘You know, you’re actually the definition of a granola girl,’ my friend said as I finally reached the group again.
‘Yeah, and this is just about the most granola thing you could possibly be doing right now,’ he continued.
What the hell is a ‘granola girl’?
For those who have managed to avoid the TikTok craze (props to you!), granola girls are essentially adventurous, fun-loving, eco-conscious people (the term ‘granola’ isn’t gender specific, it extends to anyone who chooses to own it).
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They eat tofu instead of chicken, because it’s more ethical and better for the environment. They buy chunky, colourful woollen jumpers from op shops. They spend their days hiking through mountains, perusing organic fruit markets, sleeping under stars, listening to the Lumineers and Fleetwood Mac and dreaming of living in a van.
Suddenly, my personality is no longer my personality. I’m officially a stereotype.
I know I should be embarrassed by the fact TikTok has summed me up better than my star sign ever has, but funnily enough, I’m not. In a way, it feels comforting that there’s a whole community of granola people out there, their wrists decorated with colourful bracelets, their faces speckled by the sun, their feet decked out in practical Blundstones or Birkenstocks (if they’re wearing shoes at all).
Have I always been like this?
In the scary way that TikTok does, my feed is suddenly dominated with granola videos and images. I’m surrounded by shimmering rivers, dramatic mountains, and cosy beanies—I really can’t complain.
However, as time goes by, I notice changes.
‘Since when do you drink oat milk?’
‘I dunno, since I found out it was better for the environment?’ I respond, more defensive than necessary.
Truth be told, I saw it on a TikTok. A group of granola gals were boasting of its low greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.
‘Why are you so obsessed with your Birkenstocks tan?’
‘No reason, it just looks cool!’
I didn’t mention the video showing off a series of Birk tan lines I’d seen earlier in the day.
‘Wow, your Nalgene is really filling up with stickers!’
I blush at the compliment – nothing says granola more than a well-decorated drink bottle.
How was I influenced so easily?
I’ve never thought of myself as someone who was overly impressionable, especially through social media. I mean, growing up during the age of the iPhone, it’s inevitable to a certain degree. But I was never caught up in trying to look like a particular influencer, buying their makeup brands or clothing lines.
Yet suddenly, I was able to relate to a trending term. And I looked up to these people – people who were inspired, fearless and socially aware. I saw people who were similar to me, and I liked them – I wanted to be them.
Granola people seem like the type to be uninterested in social trends. Off on their own wavelength, frolicking around in the bush.
Yet I’ve come to realise that it’s near-impossible not to be influenced by the lives, beliefs, and behaviours of others. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
TikTok is forever being criticised. It’s known for negatively affecting the attention spans of young people, emphasising unrealistic beauty standards, and reinforcing stereotypes. However, while stereotyping people can be really harmful, it can also create a space where others feel represented.
Read more: The Effect Of Instagram On #Adventure
Can an individual personality really be summed up by a trend?
Personalities are complex and multi-dimensional. While I was initially shocked to find how many of my traits were considered to be ‘granola’, the more videos I watch or posts I see, the more inconsistencies I find.
Yes, I love adventuring, but I also hate quotes that talk about adventuring. Nothing makes me cringe more than a sticker saying, ‘Make your own tracks,’ with an artsy Tumblr-esque mountain background. Yet ‘granola’ businesses are popping up all over the shop, targeting people who like that kind of stuff.
I also can’t stand meditation. I know it’s supposed to be really good for me, but I get too antsy sitting still for that long. But every good granola girl should self-reflect and set their intentions every morning.
And finally – this is the big one – I absolutely hate porridge. It’s soggy, gets cold too quickly, tastes like warm vomit, and yet it’s the primary source of sustenance for all the best granola people. They top it with fruit and chia seeds and peanut butter and boast of all its incredible qualities. If it were up to me, I’d take toast any day of the week.
So how do I know if I’m granola too?
Based on the fact you’re reading this article, I’m going to say there’s a very high possibility that you are, in fact, a granola person.
Being granola is great. It doesn’t matter whether you identify with one or many of its associated attributes – if you wanna be granola, then be granola.
However, don’t get caught up in the trend. Hike to that summit because you want to, not because it fits with your aesthetic. Swim under waterfalls because they’re tranquil and beautiful, not because it makes the perfect image for your Insta feed.
And finally, don’t eat that porridge if you don’t want to. I promise it doesn’t taste as good as they make it out to, and there’s no reason you should go through that pain just to fit in.
Aside from that, step outside in your birks and be your eco-friendly, tree-hugging, world-exploring, granola self, and embrace the community of like-minded people you’ll inevitably find.