“...categories of hip young people whose defining qualities are that they are hot and online.”—Rebecca Jennings on e-boys & e-girls, Vox
There’s certainly an element of truth to Rebecca Jennings’ statement—but there’s a lot more to this subcultural movement than meets the eye.
The e-boy and a-girl revolution is here and as more young digital native gamers join the ranks, it’s likely that the movement will go from strength to strength as the months roll on.
Now, you won’t often see your average e-person connecting with their peers or sharing their stories on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (perhaps not even Snapchat).
No, e-boys and e-girls use a new social outlet—the video-based platform TikTok.
Let’s find out more.
TikTok: The Timely Social Media Explosion
In a time where consumers enjoy more video-based content than ever, platforms like TikTok have become the new virtual playgrounds for young digital natives—especially e-boys and e-girls.
For e-boys and e-girls, TikTok is a creative outlet brimming with opportunities to connect with others in the community while expressing oneself in any way, shape or form.
While traditional social media influencers are trying to flood the platform in a bid to team up with brands looking to appeal to a young audience, it seems that e-boys and girls are well and truly in the driver’s seat, putting two digital fingers up to The Man.
To date, TikTok has been installed on mobile devices in the ballpark of 800 million times. Plus, videos made on the platform earn 17 billion average views every month. As TikTok becomes more powerful, the e-boy and e-girl revolution seems destined to continue its subcultural domination.
We’re living in a bold new age—the age of the e-people. That said, let’s find out a little more about them.
What are E-boys & E-girls
A new wave of mainstream counterculture, e-girl and boys are often likened to a 2.0 version of the Tumblr Kids of the early millennium.
These e-teens, or e-people exist on the World Wide Web (as you may well have guessed by now), and are well-versed in the latest video games, tech, and social platforms. And, their primary goal? To push the envelope with their views, video content, and wild aesthetics.
Standing against the polished, airbrushed, “idyllic” social media influencers of recent years, this disruptive e-movement has spawned an eclectic look that could almost be described as ‘cyber-grunge’ in its simplest form.
One of the most striking things about e-boys and e-girls is that while they all share a look (as it were), they use their creative intuition to express their individuality or place their own stamp on their virtual ensembles. No two e-girls or e-boys are quite the same in their approach or appearance—the main feature of any powerful sub or counterculture.
But, while the e-teens do sport individual looks, there are key elements that form the foundations of the aesthetic (in case you’re looking to join the ranks):
Often, hair is dyed between two colors, half-and-half. Sometimes more, an unmistakable feature of the e-teen aesthetic.
E-Teens typically sport dark, thick, and often winged eyeliner. Sometimes, eyeliner is also applied just below each eye to create tiny shapes or icons.
Septum or facial piercings, as well as O-ring collars, chain necklaces, and outlandish bracelets, are also big in the e-scene.
Sad, melancholic music
What You Need to Know about E-boy & E-girl Culture
Now that you’re well versed with TikTok and what it means to be an e-boy or e-girl, let’s dig a little deeper by uncovering a few facts about the culture itself:
The term 'e-girl' began as a derogatory term, used by males to objectify women who believed were merely looking for male attention online. As a counterculture, e-boys and e-girls have worked to remove this stigma, taking ownership or the terms and transforming it into something positive.
In reference to e-boys and e-girls, BuzzFeed wrote: "the e-girl and the e-boy are the anti-influencers. Scene girls and emo girls were a counter to the preppy, Juicy Couture look of the era (see: Paris Hilton) the way e-girls may be a counter to the polished, Facetuned Instagram influencer.
"My generation's apathy. I'm disgusted with it. I'm disgusted with my own apathy too, for being spineless and not always standing up against racism, sexism and all those other -isms the counterculture has been whining about for years."—Kurt Cobain
While many dismiss e-boys and e-girls as merely attractive and very alternative online posers, it seems that there’s a lot more to this movement than meets the eye.
Could the e-boy and e-girl movement serve to stand up against the world’s darker forces, shouting and screaming in waves of digital defiance? Could these forward-thinking Gen Zers in all their hair dyed, make-up clad, and visually provocative glory make a real difference—becoming the true disruptive counterculture of the hyper-connected age?
Only time will tell for sure. But, whatever happens, or however long e-boy or e-girl culture endures, these youngsters will make some kind of historical impact—and they’ll look pretty darn unmissable while they’re doing it!