Since its debut, TikTok has proven itself a bustling online social media platform for the popularization of memes and teen subcultures —VSCO girls included. Simultaneous to rise of VSCO girls is that of a characteristically darker, broodier, and more ironic internet trope: egirls. That said, what is an egirl on TikTok?
“Egirl” is a shortened version of “electronic girl,” much like how email is short for electronic mail. Whereas in the past the use of the term egirl was solely derogatory in nature, now the term’s connotation varies from literal to comedic to sometimes even complimentary. On TikTok egirl is a label for stylish, anime-watching, gaming-obsessed teens and young women who take to the internet to express themselves.
From its misogynistic origins, the term egirl has come a long way. A 2013 Urban Dictionary definition of the word disparaged egirls as young, female gamers who seek the attention of professional male gamers through promiscuous online behavior, such as sending nude photos. But these sexist overtones have played little to no central role in the recent TikTok egirl resurgence.
But on platforms other than TikTok, egirls remain an object of hate. When Bianca Devins, 17, was brutally murdered by a man she met on gaming chat site Discord, media coverage and individuals online suggested her egirl status was to blame. Many neglected to call attention to her murderer’s traumatic past and his obsessive tendencies.
While the term egirl may be difficult to formally define, spotting egirls in their element definitely isn’t as hard. Like that of VSCO girls, egirl style is distinct, but also extremely eclectic. According to Vox, egirl fashion loosely pulls from 90s fashion, along with “skate culture, hip-hop, anime, cosplay, BDSM, and goth” styles.
The signature egirl outfit: a chunky pair of Doc Martens jutting out under some loose-legged, high-waisted jeans. Usually, they’re supported by a wide, studded belt, with a tucked-in graphic tee layered atop a long-sleeved, striped shirt. The look, however, isn’t complete without chains, a pastel head of hair, heavy-winged eyeliner, and an excess of bright red blush streaked across the nose and cheeks. Variations on this theme keep egirls’ style fresh.
Like countless fashionistas online, many egirls are also social media influencers.
Online, Not Off
While egirls are all over social media, it’s hard to spot one in real life. This isn’t because they all collectively refuse to go outside. Rather, it’s unlikely you’ll find an egirl decked out in typical egirl garb in places other than the internet because the egirl phenomenon is a subculture contained online.