TikTok boys who camp it up in drag are even upsetting lefties who usually champion this sort of progressive behavior.
Straight TikTok is a coined subdivision of the TikTok video-sharing app where straight boys, many of whom have girlfriends, are taking part in commonly female activities. Male TikTok influencers are painting their nails, wearing skirts and pearls, and pretending to kiss other boys. All of which would be celebrated if they were outed on the LGBTQ spectrum, but because the boys are straight, they’re apparently just doing it to be outrageous and increase their following.
NYU Steinhardt doctoral student Angelica Puzio tweeted her recent Teen Vogue article about the harmful gender norms enforced by “Straight TikTok.” Yes, there’s now such a thing as straight, gay, trans, queer, etc. sides of a social media app …? Anyways, despite the overwhelming push to bend the conventions of masculinity and femininity, boys that paint their nails and wear pearls or skirts are now just “queerbaiting.”
I took a deep dive into straight TikTok to analyze the app’s most followed white teenagers, out today in @TeenVogue!
I write about how this group bends the rules of masculinity for clout, and what that means for creators in the margins. https://t.co/PfD2wxhZ7x
— Angelica Puzio (@angelicarozio) February 24, 2021
Puzio’s article references a few select TikTok influencers that are playing with the conventions of masculinity: straight boys kissing straight boys, boys sporting skirts, and even wearing pearls.
The Teen Vogue writer commented that these progressive TikTok posts may not actually be as progressive as they seem. She said they “might just serve to uphold hegemonic masculinity by queerbaiting” which is an attempt “to attract an LGBT audience by hinting at same-sex relationships between characters, though they’re never actually consummated.” She then added they were “using so-called ‘feminine’ norms for a laugh or for clicks, rather than really allowing boys to express their identity in any way they see fit.”
At first look, the normalizing of these behaviors might seem like transfixing evidence of a type of neo-masculinity — one that swaps harmful norms of masculine strength and toughness for painted nails, earrings, and a type of sexualized self-presentation that society typically only allows to girls and women. Their performance of manhood is almost unrecognizable from the “tough guy” masculinity that is known for instilling a relentless paranoia about appearing slightly feminine or gay.
NYU Psychology professor Niobe Way, who’s spent 30 years studying teenage boys, served as the main reference for Puzio’s piece. Way called the TikTok stars’ masculinity a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and said that these boys “aren’t willing to reveal what they really want from other boys, which is emotional intimacy.” Way thinks that these boys are dressing more feminine to show vulnerability and not to express themselves.
Puzio added that “Emotional expressiveness and having vulnerable relationships are largely absent from Straight TikTok.” The straight boys “performances” of kissing one another are aimed to get girls attention and show their “heterosexual appeal” which to Puzio, is an ingenuine display of their character. How that makes sense, I don’t know either. But nonetheless, their extreme way of expression is rejected by the side that accepts nearly every other barbaric and outlandish trend in the world.
It is interesting to see such a far-left site refuse to accept the boys on “Straight TikTok” especially since TeenVogue has been no stranger to vile content including pieces on sex during quarantine, how to get an abortion, and “Oral Sex 101.” Yet when a straight boy tries to push the gender norm, they have a problem? What about their abundant support for Harry Styles’ cross-dressing venture?
Puzio concluded with her firm grip that these kids are insincere and acting feminine for attention. She said, “A real gender revolution, where boys can dress freely and express their vulnerabilities without appropriating marginalized groups or trying on these identities for clout hasn’t arrived quite yet.” She essentially wanted these boys to dress how they want but not dress how they want at the same time. What the?
It seems that when it comes to breaking gender norms straight boys and men are darned if they do and darned if they don’t. Boys wear clothing that is typical for boys and they get told to stop conforming. Boys paint their nails and wear skirts and they get told that they’re just doing it for clout.
The bottom line is that Teen Vogue, and the left in general, are never going to be satisfied. Overstepping is their strongest talent and they will use it to no end.