What is the Sassy Man Apocalypse?
What is the Sassy Man Apocalypse? What you need to know about the TikTok trend that says its fighting Toxic Masculinity...
TikTok – that unseemly Chinese data farm of Gen-Z over-sharing – is now ablaze with a new hashtag, entitled ‘Sassy Man Apocalypse’. It is referred to a growing display of non-traditional masculinities, in the form of more expressive, emotional, extravagant behaviour. This is often labelled ‘feminine’ behaviour, and the term has of course used in derogatory ways by the slower members of the ‘community’ on the app. Ways that of were homophobic, attacking camp mannerisms or simply not ultra-straight performative masculinity in a manner usually seen on playgrounds among infants.
However, as with the way of the social media age, and particularly the capricious world of TikTok, the term has been reclaimed, revamped you may say, by users and creators who are using the buzz phrase as an excuse to talk about shaking up what are ‘acceptable’ male behaviours and are pushing Sassy Men as an antidote to Toxic Masculinity.
It’s all rather nice when it comes down to it, and is being led by Prayag Mishra, who has grown from 29,000 followers to 2.5 million in three week after the phrase went viral and he began letting loose on the app.
“I’m on the from lines of the sassy man apocalypse,” he said, having embraced the term after fans starting using it for him.
He went on, “This is who I am. This is the way that I express myself. I wasn’t expecting unanimous love. I wasn’t expecting support….As a man, we’ve seen a lot of [people who are] not the best role models on the internet. And we need a man that’s more living, that’s more positive, that’s more caring.”
Fine sentiments indeed. But as with most things related to TikTok – by which you may also say to youth culture in general – there can be a patronising dismissal of it being all a bit trite (which perhaps we may indulge in too, as longer-in-the-tooth men). However, you have to work within your contemporary medium, don’t you? Anything that has eyes on it, can be powerful, even if it may seem light – therefore having men displaying non-traditional behaviours in a positive way, as opposed to hyper-masculine behaviours in a negative way (see Andrew Tate, with all his aggressive, paranoid, intolerant, sneering conservative rhetoric), is welcome to see.
And indeed it really necessary. Let’s be clear here, the ‘Sassy Man Apocalypse’ hashtag is not a particularly positive one when it comes down to it, as ‘apocalypse’ suggests. Indeed it came to popularity when it started getting used by girls who were sharing clips of their boyfriends doing ‘unmanly’ things. As in ‘I am a victim of the sassy man apocalypse’.
Much of it is affectionate, but so much more is a kind of sneer. And is a reminder, if we may be so bold, that girls and women are in this fight against toxic masculinity too. If boys and men are made to feel embarrassed about anything that isn’t uber-male behaviour, down to the way they sit, then really nothing will change.
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