In each edition of web_crawlr we have exclusive original content every day. On Tuesdays our IRL Reporter Tricia Crimmins breaks down the trends on the popular app that will make you cringe in her “Problematic on TikTok” column. If you want to read columns like this before everyone else, subscribe to web_crawlr to get your daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
“She’s talking about you again.”
That’s how one of TikTok’s latest mean-spirited trends identifies itself in the first slide of videos. The next slide asks “who?” and the third, and final slide, shows physical attributes of women—like the color of their hair, how they incorrectly apply false eyelashes, the size of their gums, how they do their makeup, or their lip filler and acne.
Thus, women who find out that they are being gossiped about are publicly shaming the way that gossipers look. But, creators are not getting the response they wanted: Women who are posting this trend are then getting made fun of in their comments.
Take Ceren Kardelen Altay, who posted a TikTok making fun of women (who apparently talk about her behind her back) who have hair extensions, wear Nike Air Force 1’s and skinny jeans, and have lip filler and acne: Commenters were not pleased with the video. Some made fun of her hair extensions, and others reminded her to not put other people down.
Or Babi, who posted a TikTok making fun of women with eyelash extensions and lip filler who wear skinny jeans. Commenters on her video are calling her a “pick me,” “delulu,” and reminding her to not make fun of others for the way they look.
Other women have decided to take the high road, and post versions of the trend where they don’t call anyone out in their third slide—they just simply say “pretty girls don’t judge” or “pretty girls aren’t mean.”
Fattyona, however, explains the inherent issues within the trend the best in her video: “You’re no better,” than the person who gossips about you, “if you’re bringing up someone’s insecurity.”
Why it matters
Ultimately, this trend is a mess and the way that people on TikTok have tried to legislate it hasn’t redeemed it. Three wrongs don’t make a right: The first wrong being gossiping, the second being making fun of how gossipers look, and the third being commenting on someone’s video in which they make fun of how someone else looks to make fun of how the poster of the video looks.
Nor is it really a solution to just say “pretty girls” don’t judge or shouldn’t be mean. The phrasing is an allusion to “pretty girl mentality,” a trend that has over 8 billion views on TikTok, but it also implies that “ugly girls” judge or should be mean. Yet again, it reduces women to their appearances over all else.
My advice? Don’t touch this trend with a ten foot pole unless you’re going to call out everyone involved.