Young Women Don’t Need Dumbing Down


Nikita Redkar, also known as @nikitadumptruck, creates content for young women to easily understand current events through a comical perspective. (Courtesy of TikTok)

If you’ve been on TikTok recently, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen videos explaining political topics “for the girls.” Nikita Redkar, also known as  @nikitadumptruck, creates content for young women to easily understand current events through a comical perspective. There are a wide range of topics displayed on Redkar’s page, including abortion, climate change and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Her most watched video — explaining why the U.S. government cannot print more money in times of economic crisis — has almost 2.6 million views, while her other videos continue to rack up hundreds of thousands.

Considering TikTok’s short video format, it’s no surprise that these videos are so easily accessible. Within a few minutes, Redkar’s audience has enough information to understand the basics of a plethora of complex topics. For some, it may be difficult to explain such topics in a short amount of time, but Redkar uses everyday language, pop culture references and analogies that are geared toward her audience. 

Of course, I think it’s great that women are banding together to help educate one another. However, I wonder if this is the right way to approach these topics, because I couldn’t help but notice that many of the analogies are repetitive and stereotypical. Scrolling through her past few videos, there are two topics that continue to be mentioned: drinking and shopping.

Since mid-June, the seven most recent “for the girls” videos explain a variety of timely topics: the basics of the stock market, the euro and U.S. dollar parity, climate change, the British monarchy and economic recessions. In more than half of these videos, Redkar talks about shopping and fashion. She explains that we can’t print more money because it will make your daily $7 coffee more expensive and that climate change is just like when a girl has a mental breakdown and cuts her own bangs. She uses analogies about house parties and pre-games to teach her audience about the monarchy and recessions, and explains that economists treat the euro and dollar like two men they’re dating.

In and of itself, these analogies aren’t bad, and in many scenarios they may genuinely help young audiences understand the topic at hand. However, when her page is dedicated to specifically helping young women understand current events through stereotypically “girly” and childish comparisons, it makes it seem like this is the only way she thinks girls can understand politics.

One commenter shared this sentiment, explaining that they don’t appreciate her titling her videos “for the girls,” and proceeding to dumb the topic down. In her response, she explains that she titles her videos this way because she talks to her audience like she would her friends. She goes on to say that “You read ‘for the girls’ and assumed that because I was talking like a normal person and not a small d*** robot, that I was dumbing it down. You’re the one that thinks girls are dumb.”

This response doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter. Redkar seems to misunderstand the commenter’s critique, who suggests her videos should be called “for people who don’t understand,” ensuring that these videos don’t generalize or misrepresent womens’ knowledge. When Redkar talks about the way that she speaks, she seems to be referring to the cadence of her voice and the language she uses. Her language and usage of popular slang are important aspects that make her videos easily digestible. These are not what people consider to be problematic. What is problematic is the way in which the information is presented.

Though Redkar attempts to allow women to break sexist stereotypes by learning about topics that have historically been kept away from them, she negates her intention by relying on incredibly stereotypical analogies to achieve her goal. For the most part, her videos are full of information that is explained in a succinct and accessible manner. However, when she constantly makes comments about Shein brand fashion, designer brands, iced coffee and cocktails, she feeds into assumptions about young women and reinforces these stereotypes.

By labeling these videos “for the girls,” Redkar speaks on behalf of young women; this representation can be dangerous if she generalizes her audience. By relying on stereotypes for her explanations, she is enabling their existence. I worry that if the wrong person watches these videos, they will feel validated in their misogyny. It would be too easy for her content — meant to educate women — to be twisted into something harmful.

Women are capable of understanding difficult and complex topics. I do believe that it is important for women to have a space where they feel comfortable learning about new topics and asking questions. However, I’m not sure that Redkar’s page is the proper place to do that. 

Hannah Devlin, FCRH ’24, is an English major and classical civilizations minor from Port Washington, N.Y.