“Girl Defined” Isn’t Just Hateful – It’s Also Unfashionable
by Kattoo King
Just like every “Very Online” fashionista, I am obsessed with hate watching Girl Defined.
For those of you who may not know, Girl Defined is a Christian YouTube channel run by two sisters, Kristen and Bethany, aimed at young women and girls. Kristen and Bethany focus their content on “girly” topics… such as dating, marriage, homemaking, and of course, fashion. I happen to know a lot about one of those things.
There’s a whole corner of youtube dedicated to people shitting on Girl Defined, and criticizing their worldview for being sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and generally regressive. They are all of these things of course, but they’re also something much worse. Girl Defined is unfashionable.
It doesn’t matter what you think about Kristen and Bethany’s personal style. I’m actually living proof that you can know a lot about fashion and still look like shit. There’s a reason I’m a fashion writer and not an Instagram model. Unlike me, Kristen and Bethany don’t know jack shit about fashion, and that kind of matters when you’re telling girls how to dress.
The sisters are a pair of strict Evangelical Christians. Kristen is the pretty one who was a model for a little while and got married young. Bethany is the relatable one, who didn’t find any success as a model, stayed single until her thirties, and gets interrupted a lot. The two of them spew a lot of toxic shit about gender roles. According to Girl Defined: girls should devote their lives to serving God, their husband, and their father, in that order. According to the Evangelical worldview of the channel, every minute choice should be made in a way that honors God. Obviously, this includes fashion choices.
Girl Defined’s fashion content is about how to dress in a way that is fashionable, feminine, and most importantly, modest. Despite how much the sisters care about modesty, they’ve seemed to ignore the fact that mainstream fashion is actually getting more modest. Skirts are longer, tops are looser, and heels aren’t as high. There are still a lot of revealing options on the market, but fashion isn’t as sexy as it was 10, or even 5 years ago.
Yet I never hear Girl Defined talking about these styles. Not once have I heard the phrase “relaxed fit” in their videos. I have never once heard them praise the modest chicness of Phoebe Philo’s Celine. The girls are obsessed with finding longer skirts and I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase “midi” come out of their mouths. Girl Defined should be praising the movement towards a longer and looser silhouette instead of constantly complaining about how hard it is to shop when you’re a child of God. It’s insane that the girls are still clinging to their skinny jeans when wide-fit trousers seem like the obviously more modest option.
Girl Defined chooses to be unaware of these more modest trends because it goes against the narrative that their way of living is antithetical to popular culture. Why do the whites (but specifically Evangelical Christians) want to be oppressed so bad?
The goal of many Evangelicals is to make Evangelical Christianity the dominant cultural force in the world. Money from megachurches is funneled into lobbying for “family values” policies, and making sure the Mike Pences of the world get elected. Of course, Kristen and Bethany are much more interested in winning hearts and minds than elections. Politics isn’t for godly women. But Kristen and Bethany preach the same philosophy that popular culture is oppressing “good Christians.”
This is probably why the sisters choose not to learn anything about the salacious world of high fashion. Culture has to be very bad and fighting and against Christianity for their worldview to make any sense. It’s just too bad that this purposeful ignorance is forcing Kristen to wear a dress over jeans like we’re stuck in 2007.
The Girl Defined worldview offers an interesting answer to the question “what is fashion supposed to achieve?” Kristen and Bethany give us a simple explanation: fashion is supposed to express your femininity, and also you have to cover up so that people know that you’re not a dirty whore.
There is a video where Kristen and Bethany discuss the verses in the bible that talk about clothing specifically… 1 Timothy 2:9 “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” The sisters explain that well, gold and pearls and braided hair are fine actually because back in the day that’s what the sex workers used to wear, and what’s really important is making sure people don’t think you’ve ever thought about sex.
To Girl Defined, fashion is not about self-expression, it’s not about showing the world who you are, it’s about making sure the world doesn’t think you are something that you’re not. It’s a pretty twisted definition of femininity, and it’s also why Girl Defined is, and always will be, unfashionable.