The girlfriend effect is a new TikTok trend (September 2023) in which girls or women report that their boyfriend or partner has changed positively as a result of their relationship. On a purely external level, men are said to benefit from a happy relationship by becoming more attractive themselves. The visual change refers to fashion, makeup and hairstyle – in other words, the entire styling. As evidence, the women and girls on TikTok juxtapose before-and-after pictures that are supposed to document the change. The girlfriend effect is not a scientifically based effect. It is based solely on the assumption of the women involved that this process takes place within a relationship.
Girlfriend Effect – the positive influence of the female partner
The Girlfriend Effect is said to make freshly in love men more beautiful. In many societies, it can be observed that men have a different relationship to cosmetics and fashion than women, who are encouraged from an early age to impress with their beauty. Accordingly, if the men were previously single, the relationship with a woman promotes their fashion consciousness and brings out other aesthetic aspects. The partner influences them in their choice of cosmetics, clothing and even appearance.
Girlfriend effect – a new trend or normal behavior?
In a new relationship, the desire to fall to his partner is completely natural. It is easy to understand that men now also have a stronger need for cosmetics & Co. when the partner deals with these issues. In principle, there is nothing new about this behavior pattern, on the contrary, whoever attaches importance to a functioning and happy partnership will strive to fulfill many wishes of his partner (of course, this also applies vice versa). Especially in the weeks of the first infatuation this need is strongly pronounced. Many women have a pronounced fashion consciousness and influence their partners when they are inspired by them. But you can’t basically say that men are less interested in fashion than women. That would be a sexist judgment is no longer appropriate in today’s world. In fact, it can be stated that more and more men are very trend-conscious and extremely open-minded about styling and cosmetics.
Criticism of the girlfriend effect
In the videos on TikTok, women rate the appearance of their men or partners. This solidifies prejudices and various images of masculinity are restricted or prevented altogether. This one-sided view is in stark contrast to the plurality of our society. Thus, many people who advocate equal rights for all genders see the girlfriend effect as a phenomenon of arrogance. After all, it is not a law of nature that women have better taste and a particularly pronounced sense of aesthetics. Even if they should be more concerned with the issues of beauty and beauty attributes than their male contemporaries, this does not mean that their assessment of what can be considered beautiful is universally valid. Everyone has a different aesthetic sensibility and does not necessarily rate what friends, neighbors or family members consider beautiful in the same way. As before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Optical alignment in long-term partnerships
The fact that couples align themselves purely optically with one another is to be observed mainly in partnerships of many years. Both partners not only appear in the same style of clothing, often even their facial expressions are similar. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that couples who are very familiar with each other usually laugh about the same topics or get angry about similar things, so that the same facial muscles are regularly used.