What are electronic girls and boys? Understand the Internet subculture

Life on the Internet is changing rapidly. Internet subcultures in particular are growing, changing, and sometimes disappearing so rapidly that most people in the mainstream are completely unaware of their existence. When it comes to e-girls and e-boys, their influence is now so widespread that the general public can’t help but notice.

If you’ve been puzzled by recent discussions of “e-girls” and “e-boys,” you may benefit from a quick explanation of what these colorful internet personalities are.

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History and origin of E-boys and E-girls

E-boys and e-girls are a fairly recent phenomenon. This mostly coincides with the launch of TikTok, which took place in 2018. TikTok is, of course, a unique short-form video sharing site. Something like the now-defunct Viña, TikTok allows users to post 15-second video clips. This format has created new genres of online content and is home to many fads and trends that are sweeping the site like a tsunami.

It is in this brave new world of people who dance and sing that e-girls have found their true home. It wasn’t long before e-boys became a distinct variant of the e-girl style and culture, culminating in this fascinating culture that is still evolving today.

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The people we now know as e-boys and e-girls did not appear by chance on TikTok. It seems that Tumblr may have been the incubator for the kind of person online who would eventually become the electronic people we’re talking about here. The term “e-girl” dates back to the late 2000s, but it started out as a derogatory term for women who were seemingly seeking attention and hanging out online.

Main influences on E-girl and E-boy culture

The e-girl and e-boy culture is the result of a long lineage and a great hodgepodge of different influences. It is closely related to other staples of internet culture like the 4chan Picture Charts (you do this at your own risk!) And other internet meme sources like Reddit.

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There are obvious signs of the goth and punk movement, which predate the web for quite some time. These influences are perhaps filtered through the lens of emo fashion, which was a mainstay of Tumblr and the 2000s as a whole.

Aside from these major fashion influences, Japanese cultural media such as anime and manga are clearly visible. Especially “kawaii” (cute) culture, which itself is a major force in Japanese pop culture. The rise in popularity of K-Pop (Korean pop music) in the West has also played a role. Although the K-Pop aesthetic is more prevalent on the e-boy side.

Speaking of music, artists like Billy Eilish are major contributors to the world of e-boy and e-girl. However, musical influences are constantly evolving and subject to rapid change.

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E-boys and e-girls are anti-influencers

One of the main reasons people are suddenly interested in e-girls and e-boys is a great Business Insider Article. This article does a great job of describing the culture as a whole, but some of it is particularly revealing. Author Paige Leskin draws parallels between e-girls and e-boys and the countercultural fashion of the punk and goth eras.

This is partly a reaction to the fake and polished world of the Instagram influencer. It’s gritty, dirty, and at times more overtly sexual. E-boys and e-girls do not pursue the traditional ideal of a perfect life, lying on a beach sunbathing and sipping expensive cocktails. They are brave, dirty and anti-establishment.

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What is “Ahegao”?

A common part of the culture when it comes to e-girls is the face called “ahegao.” As mentioned above, Japanese anime and manga have a strong influence on the subculture, and that includes adult content that falls in between. The word “ahegao” roughly means “obscene face” and is basically the exaggerated face that (mostly) female characters make in “hentai” (Japanese adult animation) when they are ecstatic.

This now iconic expression has taken on a wry, meme-like life and is an integral part of the e-girl personality. One of the pioneering contributions to the e-girl trend is an influential online personality named Hermosa Delphine. While Delphine herself can now be categorized as a grown actress, ahegao’s face is as ingrained in being an e-girl as the “V for victory” sign that comes from kawaii culture.

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Like so many things that travel through the zeitgeist, it is very likely that many people who sing this part of the e-girl style have no idea where ahegao comes from, but there is no doubt that everyone knows that it has a sizzling undertone. .

Recognize aesthetics

Although the terms “girl” and “boy” are used to describe this aesthetic, they do not necessarily have a gender. Each represents an appearance that can be adopted by people of any gender.

Defining exactly what these boys and girls look like can be difficult because two people will not have exactly the same set of items. Still, as with goths and punks, you’ll know when you see it.

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E-girls usually have brightly colored hair or at least a brightly colored wig. This is due in large part to the influence of Japanese anime on the subculture. Anime characters often have fantastic hair colors like pink, purple, or blue.

In terms of clothing, makeup, and accessories, there is usually a mix of darker, punk-inspired gothic elements mixed in with kawaii elements like Hello Kitty outfits. Regarding makeup, the idea is to create a look of vulnerability, youth and, finally, general paleness if we are honest.

E-boys have a distinctive set of hairstyles, often including a middle parting popularized by K-Pop stars. Many other elements of fashion are shared with electronic girls, but the emphasis is more on androgyny and no-nonsense masculinity.

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E-boys and E-girls only live on the screen

For now, at least, e-girls and e-boys are largely confined to their webcams and social media accounts. You are less likely to see them in their full suits walking around the grocery store. It is a performative art that goes hand in hand with themes such as progressive politics, gender visions, and sexual morality.

In that sense, it’s a bit like drag, where the typical drag queen looks like an ordinary person in public, but with shaved eyebrows! Thus, your typical e-girl or e-boy will look like an ordinary young man on the street, perhaps with brightly colored dyed hair.

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This may change as the appearance becomes more common. Which is likely to lead people to imitate the outward appearance of the subculture without really understanding its meaning.

We’ve seen this happen over and over with other subcultures like punk, goth, and metal fashion. This can result in ultra-traditional socialites like the Kardiashians wearing T-shirts that trim the heavy metal subculture, with no apparent interest or appreciation for the music that spawned it. So if you ever see an e-girl or e-boy in real life, make sure you have a word of support for them.