23 February 2021 update: The article is now online here.
I recently contributed to a feature piece in the New York Times Style T Magazine for a piece on TikTok e-boys. It was a pleasure speaking to senior writer Hillary Kang, who has generously allowed me to reshare the piece on social media.
“… there is an element of ‘pushback’ inherent in e-boy culture – one that influences their fashion, and the topics that they choose to discuss […] ‘E-boys are pushing back on influencer culture, that aspirational aesthetic where you acquire expensive goods, travel, and celebrate that life’ […] ‘With e-boy culture on TikTok, a lot of it is self-deprecation – you’re stuck in your bedroom, you’re engaged in a hobby like gaming that doesn’t really have connotations that suggest you have an outside life.’ E-boys might be aiming for believability […] but that doesn’t mean they aren’t performing a persona like the Instagram influencers […]”
“[…] a definitive trait of the culture is how ‘self-reflexive’ many e-boys are. ‘It’s not uncommon to see, for example, memes of how to be the ‘correct’ type of e-boy on TikTok, where e-boys satirise their own aesthetics’ […] ‘They say: ‘You drink e-boy juice’, you’re from an ‘e-boy factory’ – there’s definitely a strong consciousness that this is all a persona that’s manufactured.”