Run a simple search for #SoftLife on social media, and you’ll descend down a seemingly never-ending rabbit hole of videos featuring women getting mani-pedis, drinking wine, lighting candles, dancing around their apartments in their most luxurious loungewear – basically whatever they consider enjoying life and loving on themselves. And after you lose several hours watching said videos, you will still have no idea what the #SoftLife really is.
The now-viral trend has been described as “a lifestyle that embraces rest and ease,” “full of pastel colors, fluttering butterflies and warm fluffy clouds,” and “a backlash against the persistent “strong Black woman” trope.” And it has a lot of people on social media debating which description is best.
But just like jazz, the #SoftLife trend actually has African roots. The term was introduced by Nigerian influencers who used it to describe an uncomplicated life that is free of stress. And in a country currently dealing with devaluing currency and rising inflation, the “SoftLife could just mean getting a good night’s sleep because you aren’t worried about paying your bills.
Since making its way to the West, the #SoftLife has been interpreted in different ways. But some on Black Twitter wish girls in the United States would never have gotten wind of the trend in the first place.
Now that I’ve crawled out of the rabbit hole of videos and articles on the subject, my issue with this whole thing isn’t even how we define a soft life. I want to know why we have to give it a name in the first place. Since when do we have to put another label on our version of self-care? Who says we have to explain why it’s okay to take a break from being a “BossBabe or a #StrongBlackWoman sometimes? And who says we should be forced to choose which one we’re going to be at all? So whether it’s dancing around your living room, getting a spa treatment or just a few extra hours of sleep, I say, live your best #SoftLife.