An Explainer on the E-Girl and E-Boy Subculture

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An Explainer on the E-Girl and E-Boy Subculture


You’ve heard of the VSCO girl, the basic, ocean-loving, Instagram aesthetic alive and well on Instagram, here is the other side of the coin: e-girls and e-boys. 


Such a name as that would probably just fly over the head of the older population, but for many Gen Z kids and late Millennials, the term has a face, a stereotype, and a platform. 


Photo Credit via Business Insider


Acording to a report by financial and business news website Business Insider, these counterculture “influencers” in their own right proliferate on TikTok where they communicate with their niche audiences and even get used to memes that poke fun at the brand of the e-girl. 


Before it became a counterculture of sorts, the term “e-girl” was actually derogatory and often referred to women approximating anime and manga characters to play into the interests of the general male population on the internet. It’s a niche thing, too, as Business Insider adds that e-girls--at least with their 2009 definition anyway--often do what they do to gain male attention through flirting with them online or capitalizing on their interests in novel ways. 


From there, the tide dramatically turned. Now e-girls and e-boys have a certain aesthetic that is immediately recognizable if you are a digital native. 


Photo Credit via Shutterstock


The most prevalent school of thought regarding their rise to popularity is the fact they are perhaps rooted in the late 1990s to early 2000s Tumblr eras. There had also been a common aesthetic then, but now that Tumblr has only kept its previous customers dubious of the future of the social media, TikTok has served as the new, video-focused derivative of it. 


Once you’re on the platform, what can you expect these teens to make videos about? Well, not a lot of socially relevant stuff. You’ll find them embracing this quirky way of looking at what passes as entertainment these days but other than that, not much else. 


It seems to be a great source of joy for a lot of people, though, which is probably the reason e-girls and e-boys are here to stay. 



Shaina Domingo

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