How 'Boy Dinner' And 'Girl Dinner' Trends Highlight A Societal Gender Divide

Girl dinner can be framed as a form of self-care. Boy dinner commends men for not taking actual care of themselves.

girl eating ice cream and boy eating pizza Megan Bucknall via Unsplash / Dean Drobot via Shutterstock / KT Paper Designs

By now, we’ve all heard the tale of girl dinner — a meal thrown together from fridge odds-and-ends.

Maybe it's two slices of cheese and a pickle. Maybe it’s carrots and a spoonful of peanut butter. Maybe your version of girl dinner is a bowl of cereal or soup. Arranging snacks on a plate and calling it dinner takes some of the pressure of maintaining a household off our shoulders.

The essence of girl dinner captures the desire to feed ourselves with minimal effort, minimal dishes to wash, and little to no cooking. 


Now, boy dinner is beginning to enter the cultural conversation. A boy named Arkane Skye recorded a song he titled “Boy Dinner,” set to the tune of “Moon River.” He filmed his room in major disarray, pulling back a white quilt on his messy bed to reveal a half-empty pizza box and a plastic cup of ranch dressing, which he went on to eat.



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People commenting on TikTok noted the horrifying accuracy of the concept of boy dinner as something fairly gross and pretty lazy.

The subtle, but notable, differences between ‘girl dinner’ and ‘boy dinner’ highlight a societal gender divide.

Advocate and author Laura Danger took on the topic of girl dinner in her own TikTok post, explaining how girl dinner “relates to the oppression of straight married women.” She maintained the idea that girl dinner exists, in part, as a reaction to the uneven division of household labor between men and women.



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She quoted researchers from the University of Michigan who reported that the average married woman does seven more hours of housework a week compared to single women. Danger broke it down, saying, “Women who marry men gain 7 hours” of weekly household labor, while “men lose an hour.”

Single women have a certain level of autonomy to eat snacks and call it dinner, yet married women, especially those who have kids, are expected to get a well-balanced, home-cooked meal on the table, every night, seven nights a week. 

Girl dinner can be framed as a form of self-care, where minimally tending to our basic needs is enough for one night. Girl dinner shows being "good enough" is truly okay. Boy dinner commends men for not taking actual care of themselves.

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The sentiments behind boy dinner versus girl dinner shows the opposite expectations put on men and women in the kitchen. 

Boys who eat boy dinner can eat pizza in bed, or ramen noodles standing over the sink, and experience little blowback for being lazy or selfish. Yet one has to wonder how extreme the reaction would be if a woman filmed herself dipping pizza crust in ranch, surrounded by dirty laundry on an unmade bed.

When women don’t fit the archetype that’s expected of us, we’re violently called out for it. When men grace their lowest standards, it’s seen as “boys just being boys.” The differences between girl dinner and boy dinner clearly show that US society holds men and women to wildly different standards of self-care and household labor. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with either boy dinner or girl dinner. The reality is that keeping ourselves fed on any given day is often a Herculean task. Yet the gendering of the different meals makes it clear that men get a pass for living their crustiest lives, while women would be vilified for doing the same. 


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers societal issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.