E-boys are taking over TikTok and teen culture: Here’s what that means

Gen-Z knows an e-boy when they see one. Like grunge rockers of the ’90s and scene kids of the ’00s, e-boys are easy to spot in a crowd. At the same time, defining an “e-boy” is anything but simple, with differing opinions on the trend making the e-boy identity confusing — even for e-boys themselves.

While the e-boy aesthetic was largely popularized on TikTok, it also hinges on K-Pop style that developed long before the platform’s emergence. Though it’s largely a fashion-based fad, the e-boy identity also involves a broader lifestyle that teen boys have been latching onto in the last year. In fact, videos tagged with the term #eboy have a cumulative total of more than 1,883,000,000 views on TikTok.

With middle-parted hair, silver punk jewelry and skater clothes, e-boys are close cousins to the moody emo and scene kids of the mid-2000s. The mostly-white subculture has the same black nails and long-sleeve-shirt-under-T-shirt style as the emo boys of 15 years ago. In fact, e-boy stands for “emo boy” to some, while others claim it stands for “internet boy.” Regardless, e-boys are both fluent in internet culture and unapologetically in touch with their emotions, somewhat challenging the traditional bounds of masculinity.

Like their emo cousins, a main part of e-boy subculture is music. Some call it “sad boy” music, like music by the late Juice Wrld and Lil Peep, which fuses emo-influenced lyrics and hip hop delivery. Other e-boys grasp on to Soundcloud music and remixes, which are wildly popular on TikTok.

Popular e-boys, like Chase Hudson and Noen Eubanks, have gained explosive popularity on TikTok with more than 8 million followers. With an estimated 80% of U.S. teens on TikTok and more than one billion downloads worldwide, the Gen-Z demographic has made e-boys what they are: trendy, swoon-worthy and untouchable.

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🧸❤️ – photos by @bryant

A post shared by Chase Hudson (@lilhuddy) on

But, as Vice points out, the subculture isn’t always innocent and has oft sexual undertones. E-boys are the “hot teen boys,” labeled “daddy” by those who desire them. And while e-boys challenge masculinity with dangling earrings and unabashed emotion, they also conform to it. Many e-boys feed on the “daddy” attention, licking their teeth in TikToks and winking flirtatiously at their audience. There’s also a sexualized fascination with choking in the culture, with e-boys posing with their eyes rolling back into their head and feigning choking motions to the camera.

But e-boys want you to know that they are not playboys or chronic partiers looking to seduce. In a YouTube video by Anthony Padilla delving into e-boy culture, self-proclaimed e-boys including Hudson say those assumptions are incorrect and insist that being an e-boy is largely about fashion. And that’s all.

While some characteristics of an e-boy can be subtracted, one cannot be an e-boy if they don’t dress the part. If you love the look and want to collect some e-boy approved jewelry, consider the items below.

Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Pricing and availability are subject to change. 

Earrings

Shop: Hot Topic Safety Pin Drop Earrings, $7.90

Shop: Topman Silver Drop Hoops, $17

Shop: Topman Silver Feather Earrings, $15

Shop: ASOS Statement Spike Earring, $19

Shop: ASOS Hoop Earring With Mundane Charms, $16

Chains

Shop: Urban Outfitters Barbed Wire Necklace, $24

Shop: Urban Outfitters Padlock Necklace, $30

Shop: Topman Silver Layered Necklace, $32

Shop: ASOS Layered Neckchain Pack, $29

Shop: ASOS Chunky Chain with Hardware Charms, $45

Shop: Urban Outfitters Chunky Hardware Chain, $30

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