Weird Girl Takeover: Why Everyone’s Embracing Their Kooky Side

The “weird girl” used to be the black sheep of society on screen and in real life, but in recent years she’s started taking center stage. So how did the Weird Girl become the It Girl of the moment? And is this cause for celebration, or just another example of real weird girls getting sidelined? Here’s our Take!


You know the “weird girl” when you see her on screen: the unusually dressed, quirky outcast with a contrarian attitude often lurking on the edges of a friend group (or sometimes without any friends at all…) She often confounds those around her – she’s unapologetic about her clothes, opinions, and hobbies, no matter how far outside of the “norm” they might fall and doesn’t strive to fit in. Just the opposite, in fact – the last thing she wants is to be like everybody else. Society generally doesn’t take kindly to those who don’t quietly fall into line, and so the weird girl often finds herself dismissed or straight up ostracized. And for years the on screen weird girl was stuck on the outside, only popping up to be the butt of a joke or serve as a cautionary tale. But in more recent decades, she’s started finding her own spotlight and taking control of her own narrative.

As we’ve talked about before, “weird” can feel like a kind of reductive label since there are really many different kinds of weird girls. Classically, she was often portrayed as an ‘awkward misfit’ who is actually made miserable by her weirdness – she doesn’t enjoy it at all but instead does everything she can to try to fit in, but her inherent “weirdness” leads to constant rejection. But the trope began to expand to show the other types of weird girls who, while still facing exclusion and mockery, find empowerment in their weirdness. ‘Goth weird girls’ are the most classic example: think Lydia Deetz and Wednesday Addams. Draped in black and with a flair for melodrama, she loves everything macabre and witchy. She also often has a lot of overlap with the ‘smartass weird girl’, who always has a razor-sharp barb ready for anyone in her vicinity – especially anyone who might be judging her. Her brutal nature is actually a defense mechanism that she’s built up from dealing with negativity from everyone around her. The ‘space cadet’, on the other hand, is so in her own world she doesn’t even really care about or notice what naysayers are up to.The ‘basket case’ brings mayhem wherever she goes – she fills any room she’s in with her chaotic weird girl energy. None of these weird girl types are free from the problems that arise when you don’t follow the status quo, but their strong belief in themselves steels them against the harsher parts of the world.

The weird girl has become an aspirational icon. No longer looked down on, she’s now lauded for breaking from tradition and living her life her way. The weird girl speaks to the part of all of us that doesn’t fit in – and has come to realize that maybe it doesn’t want to. But what does it mean when the weird girl becomes… normal?


As on screen weird girls taught audiences to embrace their own inner weirdo, they were elevated to cult favorite and then icon status. And the explosion of weird girl characters led to a new wave of interest and large-scale acceptance. No longer solely the purview of outcasts, now nearly everyone had a weird girl they could relate to. And on one hand, this was wonderful since it meant more people began to realize that we all have some odd quirks, and just because someone doesn’t fit in doesn’t mean they’re bad or need to be changed. But on the other hand, the romanticization of the weird girl can sometimes overlook the very real ostracization they have to face just for being themselves. And part of the weird girl becoming more broadly accepted has been her becoming more widely commercialized which often leads to her rougher edges being softened down to make her, well… less weird and more palatable. As being a ‘weird girl’ has blown up into a larger trend in real life, it can at times feel like a popularity contest in which you have to be “weird” in the “right way” to count – essentially making actual weird girls feel like they’re… too weird to be weird girls?

This paradox has arisen as the trope has overlapped with tropes like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the Cool Girl. Both of those tropes are idealized, unreal versions of girls that don’t actually exist. Their “weirdness” comes from being “not like other girls” in incredibly banal ways. While actual weird girls might not fit in with many girls in their life because they genuinely don’t share many interests, the Cool Girl deliberately shuns anything “feminine” just to make herself seem “better” than other girls to men and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is only capable of having interests that directly align with whatever man made her up. Those tropes put on the guise of weirdness to make themselves seem unique, but in reality everything about them falls directly into the status quo. Weird girls, on the other hand, aren’t making up who they are or trying to be anything special, they just are different – their experiences and interests have shaped them into someone who doesn’t fit into the mold.

We’ve seen a similar subsumption of the weird girl in real life as well. Recently the ‘weird girl trend’ has blown up all over social media – in a reaction against more minimalist trends, many have instead decided to embrace their inner weirdo and start layering on their favorite kooky pieces. Everyone from tiktokers to pop stars have embraced the trend, and it’s started taking over fashion across the board, from the runway to the stores. But this also leaves one wondering… If pop stars and literal supermodels are doing it… is it really that weird? There’s no doubt that, no matter how accepted or beautiful or “cool” someone is, they can still have a weird side that they want to highlight. But when weirdness has, by its very nature, been forced onto the sidelines for so long only to be embraced when it’s heralded by people that are generally not only accepted by society but held up as ideals, it can feel a bit… hollow. As Anna Escalante noted in her piece for Who What Wear, “While the weird-girl aesthetic has nothing to do with race, social class, or body type, it’s undeniable that certain things are heralded as the peak of style on thinner body types and scoffed at when worn by others. Hadid can certainly wear men’s boxers as pants in the middle of winter, but according to some people on the internet, non-white, non-skinny people can’t.” People of color, people who are plus sized, or disabled, or exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities have long felt excluded from even the “weird girl” trope – made to feel that their “weirdness” couldn’t be aspirational or endearingly rebellious, but only negative.

But as the concept of ‘weird’ has been stretched, shattered, and stitched back together again by trend cycles, the true heart of the weird girl has stayed strong and, importantly, begun expanding to include all of the weird girls in the world.


Beyond any trend cycles or industry machinations, everyone has latched onto the idea of the “weird girl” in recent years because her core tenet of being true to yourself no matter what speaks deeply to them in a world that is constantly telling you to change yourself. While, sure, some people might just be putting on a weird aesthetic because they heard it was “in,” many people are simply freeing the weird girl that’s always been trapped inside of them, that they were afraid to reveal. The weird girl has become the new it girl precisely because she speaks to that deeper part within ourselves that feels misunderstood or out of place and tells us that it’s not only okay, but what makes us great.

While social media has been a big driver of the ‘aesthetic-ification’ of the weird girl, it has also allowed true weird girls to find one another and build a community. No longer stuck feeling alone and isolated because of their niche interests or choice of dress, now weird girls can log on and find hundreds, or even thousands of like-minded weirdos. Instead of feeling compelled to snuff out the more out there sparks in their personalities, people are now coming to openly embrace the things that make them unique and find joy in sharing them with the world (and, in true weird girl fashion, also remaining unafraid to tell people to get lost if they have a problem with her.)