At Instagram and especially on the platform TikTok young people repeatedly use the hashtag #egirl or #eboy for certain video clips. There you can see, for example, how a girl transforms into a so-called e-girl. But what is behind it and what meaning does the term have for young people?
The “E” stands for electronic and refers to the generation of young people who have grown up primarily in a digital world. They use online media and move around on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. E-girl or e-boy refers to a certain style of presenting oneself and looking. Often, e-girls wear black clothes and eye-catching makeup, such as painted freckles and hearts on their cheeks. Some of the e-boys also style themselves with light makeup or nail polish, and some wear center partings and jewelry. E-boys set themselves apart from the typical image of masculinity. They smile or wink sweetly at the camera and don’t want to appear tough.
Unlike other influencers and fitness bloggers, e-girls and e-boys don’t pose in well-known places or with the perfect beach figure, but usually in their own room. At the same time do not take themselves so seriously. Some of them are just dressed up for the video clip on TikTok, as an e-girl or e-boy, and wouldn’t walk around so conspicuously in school. They use the Internet to try things out.
It is problematic when girls or boys imitate certain characteristics without understanding what is meant by them. There are typical poses of e-girls or e-boys that seem strongly sexualized, even if they are meant ironically. The danger of cybergrooming or abuse of the content by criminals is increased by posting such videos.
The term “e-girl” is sometimes used pejoratively to refer to girls or women in the gaming scene. They show up playing via a stream, as do many male players. But they are more often accused of doing it just for clicks and attention, and of putting on particularly flashy makeup and clothes to do so. We have explained the problematic relationship of gender roles in gaming in more detail in another post: Computer games and the issue of Gender.
Children and young people are still in the process of forming their own personalities. In doing so, they take their cue from others. They find role models in family, friends, the media and elsewhere. At the same time, they want to set themselves apart and be individual. Youth cultures like the e-girl scene are exciting because they are probably different from their usual environment.
Give your child the space to develop, invent, and try things out, but don’t lose touch. This is a balancing act, especially for adolescents going through puberty. Encourage your child’s interests and personal strengths so that he or she can develop freely. Exchange ideas with him about youth cultures and trends. When you were young, did you also dress a certain way to feel like you belonged to a certain group? Did you identify with pride about that or did you find it rather silly to be put into a category?