Gamer girl TikTok fashion and the misogyny surrounding the stereotype
By Alexis Zygan, Staff Writer
TikTok user @karina.prieto describes the aesthetic as, “strawberry shortcake on [drugs.]”
E-girls are not much different from their predecessors, the scene queens of the early 2000s. Scene girls walked so that e-girls could run… away from sexual predators on the internet, or rather, profit from them. These girls have a confident internet persona that screams cute but feisty.
One of the original e-girls, Marina and the Diamonds, best known for her song “How to Be a Heartbreaker,” in which she sings “rule number three, wear your heart on your cheek.” E-girl makeup would not be complete without a stamped heart on the cheek, winged eyeliner, a nose painted rose with blush. TikTok user @karina.prieto describes the aesthetic as, “strawberry shortcake on [drugs.]”
Internet culture is inextricably linked with the e-girl as the “e” stands for electronic. Despite the term being around for well over a decade, the aesthetic first gained popularity in 2019 emerging in pop culture vernacular as a derogatory nickname for teenage girls in predominantly male spaces such as video game streaming site Twitch. In an Urban Dictionary definition, sub2pew explains “the difference between a normal girl who plays video games and an e-girl is that an e-girl begs for money or sells herself for it.” This sexist remark illustrates the denigration of girls who dress provocatively or act flirtatiously online. It is assumed that girl gamers are sluts who only play to interact with male gamers when in fact, the majority of girls who play video games do so as a hobby and for the same reason as male gamers, a sense of community and entertainment.
Just because some girls choose to capitalize on their attractiveness and online fanbase by selling pornographic images and clips on OnlyFans does not make them inherently less worthy of respect. E-girl and erotic actress Belle Delphine has a wardrobe full of pink wigs, cat ears, miniskirts, and bondage chokers. Delphine gained internet fame from bottling her bathwater and selling it for $30. It sold out within 48 hours.
However, not all e-girls sell pornographic content, bathwater, and wear bondage chokers, even though it is difficult to avoid hyper sexualization on the internet as an attractive young female. There is also the more androgynous side of e-girl fashion; singer and e-girl Billie Eilish wears baggy t-shirts, jeans, sweatpants, and hoodies. Eilish even commented that she prefers oversized clothes to avoid criticism about her body from the media. On TikTok, e-girls stan Eilish and style clothes inspired by her aesthetic.
E-girls showcase their outfits on TikTok, consisting of slip dresses layered on top of checkered long sleeve shirts, fishnets and platform Doc Martens. Unfortunately, the e-girls who become popular on the internet are often thin and white. Consequently, the aesthetic is less accessible to girls whose appearance does not meet societal ideals. Youtuber Jordan Theresa posted a comprehensive analysis of the whitewashing and fatphobia of the e-girl aesthetic on Pinterest. Her analysis applies to all social media platforms, including TikTok, where cute skinny white girls in miniskirts and fluttery eyelashes dominate the top videos on #e-girl. In a satirical TikTok @ripjazuschrist shares how now that e-girls are mainstream she has changed to a horse girl aesthetic. Changed out of a crop top, mini skirt, and fishnets into jeans, flannel, and a puffer vest.
On TikTok, @herondaleann showcases her e-girl outfits and shares tips on how to style white shoes, grommet belts, and the checkered print. Her outfits reminisce the soft grunge Tumblr aesthetic of 2014. As someone who grew up an avid reblogger on Tumblr occasionally posting melancholy rants about my teenage woes, e-girls strike me in similarity to the Tumblr girls that popularized tennis skirts, Arctic Monkeys “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?,” and smoking djarum black cigarettes.
E-boys exist as well. However, unlike e-girls, they do not have to hide their identity when gaming out of fear of harassment or sexualization by their peers. Young girls are fetishized to the point of creating an OnlyFans account as soon as they turn 18, throwing themselves into a job that tends to be misunderstood as easy when in reality can be emotionally taxing and require the skills of an entrepreneur.
Tune in next time when we talk about pet fashion on TikTok.