Most Read

News

TikTok 'Spa Water' Trend Ripped For Cultural Appropriation Of Common Latin American Drink

TikTok 'Spa Water' Trend Ripped For Cultural Appropriation Of Common Latin American Drink
@itsdonuthole/TikTok

Another day, another blatant TikTok appropriation story... This time, the subject isn't a dance or a hair style—it's water.

American influencer Gracie Norton has been credited with launching the TikTok "spa water" trend. Influencers are mixing cold water, fruits, veggies, or herbs and a little bit of sugar together to create a drink people love.

It's refreshing, it's healthy, it's flavorful, it's low calorie, it's hydrating—what's not to love?

In the clip that "started the trend"—and has since been deleted after backlash—viewers see Gracie make a "spa water" with cucumbers and lime juice.

Influencers have been sharing their own "recipes" with viewers, racking up tons of views and generally basking in their social media glory over what one person calls "anti-inflammatory spa water."

Except it's just agua fresca and TikTok gentrified it.

It's nothing new.

These TikTok influencers didn't invent it. Calling it "anti-inflammatory spa water" is like calling a taco a "protein-enhancing gym wrap."

If you're Mexican, Guatemalan or from many another Latin American cultures, you likely grew up with the stuff. It's arguably just as common as apple juice is for suburban kids in the United States.

Juice and agua fresca are similar, but not the same. Juice happens by squeezing the liquid out of the fruit, then adding your sugar etc...

Agua fresca starts with water and the fruit is squeezed, blended, or mixed into that water to add flavor, some medicinal properties, vitamins and nutrients. It's still mostly just water.

Countries have been doing it for centuries. As such, the patience for this "anti-inflammatory spa water" name and the Christopher Columbus-esque "I discovered it" attitude were minimal.

That's a very nice way of saying Latin TikTok has HAD IT.

Officially.

Giphy

The gentrification of agua fresca became a heated topic of conversation—so much so it took over the #spawater space in the best way.

@itsdonutshole

My people…stop this nonsense #aguafresca #spawater


@hausofemrys

They colonize different ethnic food every month omfg #aguafresca #aguafrescas #spawater #cowboycaviar #cowboycaviarrecipe #beingmexican #mexicanfood #mexicantiktok #mexicantok #lgbtmexico #bipoctiktok #bipocunity #queerpoc #colonizerculture #colonizercheck #colonizers #chicanxtiktok #chicanx #latinx #latine


@erikangel_

#greenscreen its the clean girl aesthetic☺️✨ #spawater

@nattv33

#greenscreen stares in mexican 👁_👁#spawater #aguasfrescas #latinotiktok #mexicantiktok

@michellitas

I never make these rant videos pero aqui esta #mexican #latina #cleangirl #spawater

@alatinachica

Replying to @yourlocalterroistduh When you get ✨seashell donuts✨ at the Michoacana(A.K.A Conchas) #latinostiktok #mexicantiktok #mexican #lalatina #humor #seashelldonuts #aguafresca #latinotok #spawater

@gordacorajuda

Really, spa water!?!?? Can’t even make up a good name. #aguafresca #spawater #gentrification #culturevulture #caucasity

The backlash hit so hard Gracie Norton ended up deleting not just her original video, but all of her "spa water" videos.

TikTok also suspended her account.

Gracie eventually put out a public apology that acknowledged the proper name for the traditional drink. In it, she stated she knows it's her responsibility as a creator who shares recipes to also educate herself about where they come from.

As many of the videos criticising "spa water" mentioned, the appropriation and gentrification of cultures is something social media influencers have become notorious for.

Dubbing things as "core" and "aesthetic" has not only allowed, but encouraged, this sort of digital colonization from the comfort of your couch.

It's something people have been speaking out against, while encouraging genuine cultural appreciation and celebration. Influencers like Gracie Norton have clearly not been able to master that balance yet.