What is a VSCO Girl and Why Does it Matter to My Daughter?

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If your daughter has recently come home asking for a puka shell necklace, a high-priced water bottle, vinyl stickers to decorate that portable hydration container, and a pair of checkered slip-on sneakers, you might just have a VSCO girl (pronounced VISCO) on your hands.

This trend-driven phenomenon that hit high school girls over a year ago has made its way into the world of our middle and upper elementary grade girls which might have you asking,

What is a VSCO girl and why does it matter to my daughter?

What is a VSCO Girl?

Before we can dig into what a VSCO girl is, we need to start at the beginning.

The VSCO App.

What does VSCO stand for? Visual Supply Company—creators of the website that debuted in 2011 as a resource for photographers. VSCO later became an app that gained critical mass quickly, largely because of its founders’ commitment to, help everybody fall in love with their own creativity.” (Forbes)

To put it simply . . . a couple of photographers created a website and app to help their peers tap deeper into their creativity. It took off and eventually reached the masses. But that’s not the end of the story. In fact, for our kids, it was just the beginning.

VSCO = Aesthetically pleasing photography app.

That’s so VSCO!

Years later (and for this middle-aged mom who is trying to keep up—just this summer), VSCO became more than an Instagram—esque app. It became an adjective.

“That’s so VSCO!” I’d hear my girl’s friends declare.

“What on earth does that mean?!” I’d ask.

And with an eye roll and a sigh, the answer would come. “It’s hard to explain. It just means that it looks cool.”

Ah, I get it.

VSCO = Aesthetically pleasing . . . anything.

Enter VSCO Girls.

If using the abbreviation of a once merely utilitarian (albeit genius) photo app as a descriptor is not bad enough, it has now become an identity . . . a label . . . a badge of honor worn proudly in the form of scrunchies and backpacks.

Please forgive this feeble attempt to blend old school list play with a brand new trend . . . there’s just no better way to describe it.

You might be a VSCO girl IF you wear/use . . .

  • scrunchies
  • a puka shell necklace
  • a Hydro Flask (w/ vinyl stickers, preferably from Redbubble)
  • Vans (hopefully, the black and white checkered ones)
  • Pura Vida bracelets
  • Fjallraven Kanken backpack

For most girls, it’s cool to be a VSCO girl, though it’s often used as a put-down by some kids (usually boys). But it’s definitely NOT okay to WANT TO BE a VSCO girl.

In other words, don’t try so hard.

VSCO Girl = Girl with aesthetically pleasing (aka trendy) . . . stuff.

Why Does Being a VSCO Girl Matter to My Daughter?

The truth is, it may or may not matter to YOUR daughter. Maybe you are up to your eyeballs in scrunchies and Burt’s Bees lip gloss. Or maybe your girl can’t stand the sight of on-trend clothes, shoes, and accessories. Either way, the social and emotional baggage that comes with this type of cultural label matters to all of our girls.

And it matters to us.

Why all the labels?

The brand labels or the social ones? Whether they are chasing brand labels to wear on their bodies or social labels to wear on their hearts, our girls just want to belong. 

It’s an age-old longing that was planted there by our Creator. We yearn for connection. To be known and noticed.

It may not have had such a commercial label but we’ve all been there . . . longing to wear the right things (I’ll trade your VSCO girl Vans for my snow-white Keds. But I got you beat on the number of scrunchies I collected to create that high-ponytail-behind-my-poofy-bangs look).

Same struggle, different decade.

Everyone used to say, “None of this matters. It won’t matter in 10 years what jeans you wore.”

Turns out they were right. Sorta. 30 years later and it truly does not matter that I didn’t have the $15 slouchy socks that hung perfectly over my Keds.

But what I wish someone had understood way back then is that on the other hand, it did matter . . . right then and there.

And it matters to our girls. Right here and right now. 

Girls just want to fit in. We can quote them all the Bible verses about their uniqueness until we are blue in the face but it won’t do any good if we don’t meet them where they are with empathy and understanding of how hard it is to grow up in a culture that celebrates stuff.

It will take time for them to fully grasp the truth of who they are in Christ and what really matters for eternity. It’s going to take years and dozens of disappointments, unmet expectations, truth-filled talks (if she’ll let you), and tender hugs to drive it home. And more importantly, our girls are going to have to find connection with the God who is ridiculously wild about them (no accessories needed).

So VSCO or not, be patient with your girl and remind her (even though she may not get it the first 100 times you say it) that . . .

She is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

She is God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

She is uniquely gifted (1 Peter 4:10).

She is clothed in strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25).

She is the work of His hands (Isaiah 64:8).

She is chosen to live in His light (1 Peter 2:9).

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . . Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

This month it’s VSCO girls. Next month it could be something completely different. Our kids (girls especially) are going to be inundated with cultural messages that assault their identity and cause them to question their worth. The best way for parents to arm them for the battle:

help them fall in love with their own Creator.

. . . . . . . . . . 

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