Layne is an active freelance writer. She enjoys staying up to date on trends, media, and emerging topics.
What Are "VSCO Girls"?
Yes, I was just as confused as you probably are when I first started Googling it. What is a VSCO girl? What the heck is "sksksk" and what is "and I oop"? We've seen the scrunchies, the oversized shirts, the shells, the Hydro Flasks, and we are aware of the hyper-narrative and some of the unexplained personality quirks, but what does it all mean and where did it come from?
Fear not—we'll get you all caught up on the hype and break this down for you. Before you know it, you might even drop a "and I oop" when the moment arises.
The Photo-Editing App
The origination of the VSCO girl is way less exciting than you think. VSCO (formerly VSCO Cam), is a mobile app that is available on iOs and Android. The app provides editing services to users and allows them to process their photos through preset filters to give it a nice, uniform, visual appeal. From regular use of this app by Gen-Zers on Instagram and various social media platforms, the VSCO girl trend became a way of "curated" life.
What Does "VSCO Girl" Mean?
So, at some point "VSCO" (pronounced "visco") and "girl" intersected, and the VSCO girl was born through behaviors, meme-like qualities, and personality quirks. The term has some gentle derogatory implications, but it's super gentle, and super basic. According to Dictionary.com:
"VSCO girl is a term, generally used as an insult, for a young, usually white woman who posts trendy pictures of herself edited on the app VSCO.
Stereotypes of the VSCO girl include wearing scrunchies and Birkenstock sandals, drinking out of Hydro Flask reusable water canisters, saying sksksk and I oop, and generally seeking attention online."
To add onto this definition, the term is generally attributed to suburban fashion and culture trends, and as mentioned, is typically used to profile a white, middle-class teenage girl. And yes, the behavior and the developed internal dialogue of the VSCO girl is definitely unique in nature, so let's break that down as well.
The Ultimate VSCO Girl Starter Kit
- Birkenstocks or Crocs
- Scrunchies 3-pack, to be worn on the wrists
- An excessive supply of stickers
- Oversized T-shirts in pastel or bright colors (go thrift shopping; find basic brands like Martha's Vineyard . . . the more basic the better)
- Burts Bees chapstick
- Friendship bracelets (make your own or bulk buy; it helps to give some out in a friendly manner)
- Fjallraven Kanken backpack (the kid's "school" pack size)
- Hydro Flask and metal straw (save the turtles)
- Mario Badescu facial mist (gotta refresh)
- Fujifilm Instax Mini Poloroid Camera
- Pura Vida puka shell bracelet
How to Be a VSCO Girl
What does "sksksk" mean?
Sksksk is the VSCO girl's choice expression. It's meant to express surprise, shock, excitement, or even supplements laughter on the keyboard. It is also likened to "oh my god." Imagine trying to type your reaction to something on TikTok and just bursting at the seems—you repeatedly hit "sksksksksksksksk." Okay, that kind of makes sense. ("Sk" was also popularly used in ASMR videos.)
If we really want to dig into the origin of "sksksk," however, the expression was appropriated. From a report in The Independent, BuzzFeed writer Lauren Strapagiel explains:
“Before VSCO girls were even a thing, sksksksk was also associated with the ‘stan community.’ That term, ‘stan,’ comes from the Eminem song of the same name, about an obsessive fan" . . . . Stan Twitter is known for using phrases that come from black women and black LGBT culture.
What does "and I oop" mean and where did it come from? (Hint: Jasmine Masters)
And at it again, the VSCO girl's favorite expression, "and I oop" was appropriated from LGBT back culture reports sources. "And I oop" is a viral phrase that was originally said in 2015 by drag queen Jasmine Masters in a YouTube video (this video has over 2 million views). "And I oop" is used to express shock, surprise, startle, and is best used as an interruptive expression. So, say you drop your Hydro Flask while taking a selfie with a friend. That's an "and I oop" moment.
How to Edit Your Photos Like a VSCO Girl
Another important mention about this cultural trend is that in order to be the part, you have to look the part . . . via social media. This means carefully curating your photos, color palette, and even font choice to be just totally VSCO. Thanks to the video from GioGenius on YouTube, this means you're going to want to use the following filter settings:
- Filter C1 + 8.1
- Exposure - 0.9
- Highlights +3.6
- Temperature +0.6
- Tint +0.8
- Saturation +0.4
- Skin tone +2.5
More Tips for Getting the Shot (or Video)
Here are some additional tips too make the complete transformation:
- Get the right oufit: This means wearing an oversized baggy T, wearing nike shorts (but not showing them), donning scrunchies on the arm, a high, messy bun, friendship bracelets on the wrist, a sticker-covered Hydro Flask, and maybe slip-on check vans, crocs, or Birkenstocks.
- Get the right lingo: Don't overuse or unnaturally use the "sksksk" or "and I oop." Try for natural, as unnatural as it may feel. "Sksksk" works well for transitions, at the end of a video, or after something funny has occurred. The "and I oop" could be more of an abrupt transition . . . or after something surprising and unpredictable occurs.
- Get the scene right: Make use of your Hydro Flask and get out in nature. There's no better way to show of your concern for the environment than next to a huge body of water (like the ocean) or a stream. Maybe even talk about the issues of plastic straws and why you use a metal one. There's no shame in protecting the environment.
Am I a VSCO Girl?
You may have landed on this article because you're wondering if you are one, maybe you want to be one, maybe you're just as confused as I am and you're not one, or maybe you want to make the complete transformation for Halloween . . . or something.
The above commentary is not meant to offend—it's simply an accumulation of research. From what I gathered, the VSCO girl community proudly owns their identity. As a side note, however, it's important to acknowledge where and how this cultural phenomenon evolved and from which groups/sources. (Also, you don't have to be a white, middle class, teenage girl to indulge in the trend—commentary on privilege aside. In fact, it's better that we deconstruct that. But you may have zero interest for valid reasons.) So, continue to do you.
I hope you found this article helpful.
© 2019 Layne Holmes
James on October 29, 2019:
I know what a vsco girl is already they say sksksk and I oop