Dance challenges, fitness tips, makeup tutorials — these are some of the typical videos you’re likely to see go viral on TikTok. Slightly more unusual, however, is the trend of TikTok cults. Now, the latest of these bizarre social media collectives, the TikTok “hamster cult,” has emerged to take over the platform and become the one to beat.
The saga of the hamster cult begins at an unexpected source — pop star Lana Del Rey. The singer made big waves online earlier in the year with the announcement of her forthcoming album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club.
Del Rey also courted controversy with her response when accused of not being racially inclusive on her album cover. In her defense, the singer said her best friends and boyfriends “have been rappers.”
The controversy created an air of polarization around Del Rey on social media, with fans and detractors battling it out across several platforms. This adversarial environment ultimately gave rise to the “Lana cult” on TikTok, which had users changing their profile pics to images of Del Rey and fiercely defending her across the web.
The Hamster Cult Rises
What does this all have to do with hamsters? According to Twitter user @walterhastalent, the hamster cult has formed in direct opposition to the Lana cult.
oh my gosh 286 hamsters in my basement.— WalterHasTalent (@walterhastalent) February 20, 2021
If you don’t know what the hamster cult is it’s a tiktok cult of hamsters and the mascot is the meme staring hamster. Basically we hate Lana Del Rey and it’s a tiktok war. So join hamster cult today! pic.twitter.com/DWdv8saBrQ
“If you don’t know what the hamster cult is, it’s a TikTok cult of hamsters and the mascot is the meme ‘Staring Hamster,'” they tweeted on February 20. “Basically we hate Lana Del Rey, and it’s a TikTok war. So join the hamster cult today!”
TikTok users appear to be heeding the call of the hamster in increasing numbers, with some users gaining hundreds of followers just by changing their profile pics.
DO NOT JOIN THE HAMSTER CULT ON TIK TOK 💀 I DID IT AND THIS HAPPENED pic.twitter.com/EReF4os784— chlo ᵕ̈ (@intolouve) February 20, 2021
It’s not about winning, it’s about fun pic.twitter.com/5uQctAhLHa— WalterHasTalent (@walterhastalent) February 21, 2021
Other web users — particularly older ones — are simply taking the hamster cult phenomenon as further evidence of an increasing generation gap with online Gen Z-ers.
Is Gen Z okay? pic.twitter.com/urThLoDiwk— Camellia 🎨 (@Camellia_Alexan) February 21, 2021
Wow I am completely out of touch with whatever the hell they are talking about. I just don’t get it, but I’m sure that’s what my dad said about my generation…..— Duke (@Duke29737077) February 21, 2021
Check out Parentology’s dive into the bizarre world of TikTok cults for more information about the strange online trend.