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This Haunts Me
Culture Feature

Who Is "That Girl" on TikTok?

The aspirational TikTok trend is problematic and honestly, "That Girl" probably sucks

We spoke too soon. We were too quick to wipe the sweat off our brows, grateful for the fall of the millennial Girlboss era in which we were all supposed to aspire to the protofeminist CEO type.

However, since everything has a reboot these days, a new version of the Girlboss has emerged on TikTok and is now firmly embedding herself in the Gen Z consciousness. Her name: "That Girl."

But who the hell is That Girl?

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TV Features

This Haunts Me: Mariah Carey Taking a Bath on MTV's "Cribs"

It was 2002, and Mariah Carey wanted a bath. Now we'll never be clean.

Mariah Carey

Photo by Evan Agostini-Invision-AP-Shutterstock

Before TikTok, before Snapchat, and before YouTube, there was MTV in the early aughts: a lawless land of velour tracksuits and diamond grillz, tiny dogs and spray tans.

And then there was Mariah Carey, who had barely survived 2001 after channeling her lifeforce into the beloved film disaster Glitter, along with the critically panned soundtrack of the same name. And yet, Carey persisted–and took a bath in front of millions of viewers on MTV's Cribs.

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Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: "My Immortal" May Be One of the Greatest Works of Postmodern Art

Was "My Immortal" a genuine work of terrible fanfiction, or was it a big ironic joke all along?

For fiction enthusiasts in the early 2000s, Fanfiction.net was the place to be.

In 1998, Fanfiction.net launched as a hub for fanfiction stories. The Internet was still in its Golden Age of lawlessness and creativity, with decentralized fan communities spread across personal websites and niche forums. Each brimmed with their own politics and drama, and for fans of children's novels, especially Harry Potter, fanfiction was serious business.

Battle lines were drawn over which Harry Potter characters you shipped (in explicit detail, usually). Fanfiction with the correct ships would be lauded as the greatest thing since real Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and bad ships would be derided as blasphemy. Dissent could mean being banned forever from the biggest online communities for your favorite series.

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Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: Miley Cyrus's Twerking Phase

It was the cultural appropriation olympics and Miley was getting all the gold.

Miley Cyrus

By Kobby Dagan // Shutterstock

Imagine if, in the year of our Lord 2021, a white woman claimed to invent twerking.

She would be so swiftly canceled that there wouldn't be a discussion. You'd log into twitter in an attempt to get in on the action and your timeline would be a mess of memes, carnage, and the occasional #woke thread straight out of Race Theory: 101.

In 2021, some people might defend whichever celebrity was trending in an #overparty hashtag, but the majority of the internet would guilt said white woman into making a teary apology on Instagram live.

However, this was not the case in 2013 when Miley Cyrus woke up and chose violence.

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Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: Taylor Swift in That Suitcase

Taylor Swift being carried around in a suitcase in 2017 was the cultural reset.

The face of a woman who has known the inside of a suitcase

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Who would have thought that when Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" video was announced as the winner of the 2009 Video Music Award for Video of the Year, it would end like this: Taylor being carried out of her apartment inside a suitcase?

That fateful moment in 2009 was the first domino to fall in a series of events that now haunt me, but none more than the idea of Swift concocting the idea of crawling into a suitcase to avoid being seen by the paparazzi, then being carried out into the trunk of her car.

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