Bunny, cat, fox, boy, girl: What type of pretty are you? Unpacking TikTok’s latest beauty obsession

By Bianca Borissova

Updated Jan 5, 2024 at 03:24 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Are you ‘boy pretty’ or are you ‘girl pretty’? If you’re startled by this question, there’s a good reason for that. There is a new trend across TikTok, one that sees women categorising female beauty into these two sections. And what might’ve started as harmless fun has now prompted a viral debate online—one that’s completely pulling the girlies apart.

What is ‘girl pretty’ and ‘boy pretty’?

If you’re categorised as ‘girl pretty’, you have a kind of beauty that would be appreciated by women. The term specifically focuses on feminine features that men wouldn’t necessarily notice, while women would consider them attractive. ‘Girl pretty’ is often also categorised by a more exciting and interesting style. ‘Boy pretty’, on the other hand, is the opposite of that and describes women with features that would be considered desirable or appealing by men, meaning a certain look that would appease the male gaze.

Both terms were originally shared by TikToker Claudia Thiedmann, who posted a video explaining that these were phrases that she and her friends came up with in college in order to explain the conventional way men and women tend to perceive beauty.

@claudiathiedmann

#stitch with @Marielle Greguski THE GIRLS WHO GET IT GET IT 💋 #beauty #unconventionallyattractive #girlpretty #boypretty #sarahjessicaparker #malegaze #femalegaze

♬ original sound - claudia 🤍

Thiedmann describes ‘girl pretty’ as an “aura,” someone beautiful “in this interesting way that you can’t stop looking at. Maybe her clothes are amazing, maybe she is really good at some talent, or she’s soft-spoken in a way that is so enticing.” ‘Boy pretty’ is much more about “aesthetic.”

On TikTok, users have categorised celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker or Florence Pugh as ‘girl pretty’, and Megan Fox or Emily Ratajkowski as ‘boy pretty’. First off, as a woman, I can personally vouch for the fact that I definitely fancy Fox, so not sure if the system always works. But even if it’s no big deal that it’s slightly faulty, there’s another issue with the trend.

@blondegirldiary

Girls that get it will get it sadly #fyp #foryoupage #gossipgirl #serenavanderwoodsen #itgirl #girlblogger #relatable #newyork #girlspretty

♬ original sound -

Many women online are expressing their despair for not fitting either of these standards. Some netizens have said that the trend is giving off serious “pick me” energy and it’s not helped that there is an assumed air of superiority associated with ‘girl pretty’ due to society’s obsession with ‘natural’ femininity. In fact, some gen Zers are now even going as far as to consider ‘boy pretty’ unfeminist.

@overstimulatedemsy

i wanna be girl pretty so bad #girlpretty #guypretty #babyemsy #fyp

♬ PAY YA RENT - Nicki Empire 👑
@wannabetomoesgf

all girls are pretty idk i think id just prefer to be percived as “pretty” from more girl’s perspectives if that makes sense #girls #girlpretty #fyp #fypシ

♬ original sound - user49567093321

This is, of course, not the first time a trend around a ‘type’ of beauty has taken over TikTok. Our generation’s fascination with micro-trends has led to some toxic narratives being pushed online. This year alone, we have seen the rise of ‘bunny pretty’, ‘fox pretty’, ‘cat pretty’, ‘deer pretty’, etc—it’s never-ending and kind of exhausting.

@kaeblanco

now im curious what kind of “pretty” am i? :,) #bunnypretty #catpretty #foxpretty #deerpretty #whatkindofprettyareyou

♬ original sound - EX7STENCE™

For context, ‘bunny pretty’ could refer to someone with smaller and rounder facial features, perhaps a button nose, doe eyes, or round cheeks. On TikTok, people typically describe celebrities such as Sydney Sweeney, Dove Cameron, Elle Fanning, Zendaya, Lana Del Rey, and Jung Ho-yeon as ‘bunny pretty’.

‘Fox pretty’ refers to the complete opposite of the bunny look. It describes someone with sharper features like high cheekbones or a razor-edged jawline, and a sultry-sexy-snatched look. Think of people like Bella Hadid, Fox, or Angelina Jolie.

‘Cat pretty’ can be categorised with sharp features yet again, a pointed nose, and almond eyes. On TikTok, people often associate ‘cat pretty’ with celebrities like Margot Robbie, Rihanna, or Madison Beer.

Lastly, there is ‘deer pretty’, and you guessed it, this one resembles a deer. Described as someone with features such as a long or pointy face, typically a brunette with brown eyes, freckles, etc, on TikTok, people reference celebrities like Sarah Hyland, Leighton Meester, and Nina Dobrev.

It’s also hard to consider these categories without thinking about their influence on beauty trends and standards. If you scroll through #beautytok for long enough, you’ll find many videos depicting tutorials on how to achieve each type of ‘pretty’ through makeup. You want to look ‘bunny pretty’? Contour your nose. You want to achieve ‘fox pretty’? Well, apparently you can’t unless you try the ‘fox eyes’ trend first, which has been rightfully accused of cultural appropriation.

@marysherb

bunny nose contour always makes me feel so cute 🤭✨ #bunnynose #nosecontour #nosecontourtutorial

♬ sweater weather x after dark - ♫♡
@natashadivo

reveal of the products? 🦊 ib: @Alissajanay and please help me find the second inspo girl #makeup #foxeyes

♬ NO - Meghan Trainor

It is a well-known fact that the beauty industry has often capitalised on the insecurities of women in one way or another, and trends like these can be seen as further fuelling this. There is such a huge obsession on TikTok with labels and categories for trends and aesthetics—and brands tend to jump on these to sell products.

@frenchie_in_cali

Found out about this new girl vs guy pretty trend today and I’m not even going go bother finding out which category I fit into. You’re beautiful no matter what Tiktok tells you!!

♬ club heaven - Nessa Barrett
@gabylesmana

♬ Little Life - Cordelia

Participating in these fads can be fun, and categorising ourselves under one of these labels of ‘pretty’ can give you a sense of belonging, or a sense of validation. But it’s important to remember that outside of the internet, in real life, beauty is diverse—and there aren’t just two, four, or six types of it. And it’s okay if you don’t fit any of those labels.

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