The Haul Girls

Haul verb \ˈhȯl\ the result of an effort to obtain, collect or win. <<
arch the word ‘haul’ on YouTube and it will yield 23,700,000 results.  The unique genre of video typically features a girl-next-door in her teens or early twenties showing off her latest fashion and beauty purchases with bubbly positivity.

 “Has like an elastic band on the top”< em> “I don’t have many distressed jeans, so I’m trying to collect a bunch”< em> “This next item, omigosh, I love yellow” <<
e haul video became a YouTube cornerstone shortly after the video sharing website launched in 2005.  Since then many of the vloggers (video bloggers) have risen to celebrity status propelled by loyal fans who leave thousands of comments that are a unique flavour of envious saccharine.

“I swear you get more and more gorgeous every day! <3”< em>“You could literally wear a trash bag and still look gorgeous”< em>“Can we just talk about body goals for a second?! like yes girl”< img src=”; class=”alignnone wp-image-113″ height=”600″ alt=”Untitled design (1)” width=”800″><<
r twelve years, there has been a constant stream of haulers and their dedicated viewers – a significant period for any cultural trend.

Back in 2014 I subscribed to an American housewife who vlogged her everyday chores and shopping hauls.  The content wasn't particularly interesting and I had nothing in common with her, however I still enjoyed watching her videos.  I got to 'know' her husband, her favourite clothing brands and how she preferred to groom her dog. It was an interesting year.

Although I have since unsubscribed the housewife is still making videos and 20,000 people on average view each one.  In some subconscious way I think I watched her videos for a type of escapism. Similar to the mindless relaxation of watching reality television.

We’re not required to interact with the hauler (although are always encouraged to ‘like, comment and subscribe’) and yet are welcomed as ‘friends’ and ‘family’. They are a virtual friend reachable on-demand, anywhere with an internet connect. Better yet, they’re a friendship that requires no effort for viewer to sustain above clicking that subscription box.

Untitled design (16)<<
hind the saturated editing and bright filters however lies something uncomfortable. The Haul Girls and their compulsive shopping behaviours are spurring on the need for cheap and plentiful products – an underbelly of fast fashion and obsession.  (At one stage I dreamed of growing a makeup collection to rival those I saw online).<<
many ways excessive hauling is exactly why these videos are still so popular. They allow us, the viewers, to experience the sensation of shopping without spending any money and provides enjoyment simply through observed participation.

The Haul Girls and their videos are a shining example of 21st century consumerism. Encouraging validation through materialism. They also satisfy our inherently voyeuristic natures by providing a look into someone’s life in a way that is exclusively thanks to the safety of digital anonymity.

In another era, the girls behind the camera would have been given different names shopaholics, hoarders, oniomaniacs. However for many in 2017, Haul Girls are simply #goals.


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