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The following article contains and discusses content that may be distressing to some readers.
Reason for Warning: This page briefly mentions age gaps, power imbalance and abuse in relationships as well as mentions of drugs and alcohol.

The Rockstar Girlfriend or Rockstar GF aesthetic is one that seeks to emulate the 24/7 lifestyles and clothing styles of the girlfriends of famous musicians [1]. This style combines elements of edgy and grunge fashion with feminine and romantic touches. This effortlessly cool look is often inspired by the fashions of the '70s and '80s. All in all, it includes many components of the Downtown Girl, Messy French Girl, Model-Off Duty, Indie Sleaze, Dark Coquette, and Rockstar aesthetics.

History[]

This aesthetic is one that rose in popularity through TikTok. In post-lockdown 2022, the idea of hedonism and non-stop partying has naturally made its comeback[1]. The Rockstar GF aesthetic encapsulates this idea, and much more.  

Although this aesthetic has risen in popularity recently, the aesthetic has existed for much longer. As Sophie Wilson writes for The Face, “The rockstar girlfriend has existed for as long as the modern rockstar. In the 1960s, OG rockstar girlfriends Anita Pallenberg and Pattie Boyd dated members of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles [...]”[1]

Side note: Though the two are inherently linked, the Rockstar Girlfriend trope and Rockstar GF aesthetic are different. The trope refers to the stereotype and idea of the rockstar girlfriend in the culture, while the aesthetic is merely the visual representation of the trope. Essentially, the aesthetic includes the styles and fashions, while the trope is the person behind these.

The origins of the trope date back to the early 1960's (as mentioned before). The girlfriends/wives of the biggest rock stars in the 60’s and 70’s (such as Pricilla Presley, Bianca Jagger, and June Carter Cash) didn't have the style and energy that we would associate with a 'rockstar girlfriend'. Although many of these women were involved in the party scenes (which is a mainstay of the aesthetic), they were, comparatively, much more proper and 'ladylike' than their later counterparts; as was the norm for women in the early 60s/late 50's. These women were seen as more of a 'wife' than a girlfriend. [2]

The modern idea of the dark and gritty rockstar girlfriend comes from the late 60's/early 70's. The women who embodied this aesthetic were Nancy Spongen, Mayte Garcia, Pamela Anderson and Courtney Love. This is when we see a shift away from 'wife' and more towards 'girlfriend'[2].

Most notably, groupie culture is what led to this aesthetic's creation. Groupies are young women who hang around musicians and try to have sex with them. They typically are superfans of these musicians, but have a more charismatic and hedonistic persona in comparison to fangirls; having a "cool" persona and attractive looks that would catch the attention of the musician is the main goal of this group. Being able to get backstage and speak to the musician is a validation of their coolness and a status symbol for these women, while a musician having groupies is a status symbol for his popularity.

Visuals[]

Clothes[]

  • Leather jackets (particularly long ones)
  • Leather pants
  • Afghan/Fur coats
  • Fishnet tights
  • Slip dresses
  • Sheer materials
  • Mini-skirts
  • Silk shirts
  • Oversized jeans
  • Lacey bralettes; black lingerie in general
  • Sheer and mesh materials
  • Band tees

Accessories[]

  • Vintage-inspired accessories
  • Jewelry with cross motifs[2][3]
  • Black sunglasses
  • Baguette bags
  • Headphones
  • Tattoos

Shoes[]

  • Leather boots
  • Black chunky heels

Media[]

TV[]

  • Daisy Jones and the Six

Music[]

  • Arabella by Arctic Monkeys
  • Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
  • You Know I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse
  • Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand
  • Bubblegum Bitch by MARINA
  • Brooklyn Baby by Lana Del Rey

Artists[]

  • Sonic Youth
  • Nirvana
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Måneskin
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • The Strokes
  • Ramones
  • The White Stripes
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Hole
  • No Doubt
  • The Runaways
  • Blondie
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

Genres[]

  • Classic Rock
  • Hard Rock
  • Post-punk revival
  • Alternative Rock
  • No-Wave
  • Garage rock
  • New-wave

Playlists[]

Key Figures[]

  • Kate Moss (early 2000s era)
  • Devon Lee Carson
  • Penny Lane from Almost Famous
  • Alexa Chung
  • Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin
  • Jerry Hall (1970's era)
  • Courtney Love (1990's era)
  • Nancy Spungen (1970's era)
  • Effy Stonem from Skins

Criticisms[]

The cultural perception of a 'Rockstar Girlfriend' is that she is an accessory; something that elevates the status of the male 'Rockstar'. This is an obvious objectification of women.

As the rockstar girlfriend is only a piece of arm candy to her boyfriend, it only makes sense that she embodies the standard ideal of beauty, as this would work to heighten the 'rockstar's' prestige. This is one of the many reasons that this trope (and subsequently, the aesthetic) is flooded with young, white, thin, women.

One of the main ideas that the Rockstar Girlfriend trope depends on is that these women were much different from the rest of the rockstar's groupies; in essence they were 'special'. There was a reason that the rockstar picked them over all the other women they could have [2]. One of these reasons is often that this girlfriend is young. For example, Pricilla Presley was 14 when she met Elvis Presley while he was 24 [4], Prince met 16 year old Mayte Garcia while he was 32 [5], both these men ended up marrying these girls later on. This power imbalance, not only in age but often also in money and fame, leaves the for girls to be groomed and taken advantage of.

Abusive relationships are also glamorized in this trope, as these women are often made to be the 'safe haven' of the suffering artist rockstar. [2]Adding on, the Rockstar trope in of itself glamorizes the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, which also bleeds into the rockstar girlfriend trope as well.

Gallery[]

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