Spa Water: a TikTok Controversy

A table set up with various Spa Water set up.

A table set up with various “Spa Water” set up.

The recent TikTok trend of “spa water‘ has quickly become an internet controversy among the Latinx community.

“Spa water” a trend initiated by TikTok influencer Gracie Norton is a mixture of fruit, lime juice, and sugar  and shares a lot of similarities to the traditional Hispanic and Latin American drink Aqua Fresca which is commonly sold by Street Vendors.

Initially promoted by Norton as an antioxidants booster for weight loss the drinks growing popularity has since sparked conversation about the cultural appropriation of the Latinx community in pop culture and social media trends.

With another incident having occurred a couple months prior when the popular social media platform raised talk of a new dish called “cowboy caviar”  which shares similarities to pico de gallo or ceveche.

And while multiple creators are joking about the recent appropriation with videos captioned “when you try to get spa water at the Michocana” intending to make fun of the popularity of the two trends among white people,

others are using the opportunity to bring light to the larger issues with trends similar to these going past the appropriation of cultural cuisine and instead focusing on the double standard placed on  the Latinx community.

Raising the question why is it that when the Paletero (a Mexican street vendor) is selling aqua frescas and elote on the street its considered ghetto but when a white women online does it it’s considered trendy?

Cultural appropriation continues to be prominent  in social media with trends like the “clean girl” aesthetic which praises white women for exemplifying  the beauty styles BIPOC women started and were once criticized for.

Gracie Norton has since taken down her video on “Spa water” and put up an apology crediting the Latinx culture for the beverage but the increased scrutiny of culture appropriated trends on the app has just begun.

*Cultural appropriation is the act of  adopting another cultures ideas and practices and claiming them as your own.*