TikTok users have raged the newest trendy war : men vs women. Throughout the many phases of lockdown and quarantine, the new social media app, TikTok, has gained nonstop popularity and traction.
The timing of this being consistent with America’s raging political climate has caused many issues to enter the screens of millions of teenagers across the country.
Through misogyny and misandry, TikTok’s feed has pit men and women against each other and with everyone at home and not much else to do – keyboard heroes have taken to their message boards and have begun to tear each other down in cruel ways.
“The whole reason the gender war is even a thing is because men constantly belittle women and put them in danger,” said Britanni Pargass, a frequent user of the app.
TikTok as of late has also been utilized as an outlet to share accounts of varying substance, one of which is sexual assault. With this new trend of putting women down, the contents of the comment section don’t stray from the same ridicule.
“I remember one time I saw a girl sharing her sexual assault story on my feed, and all of the men in the comments were saying some of the most putrid things I’ve ever seen. They were on about what she was wearing and hundreds of comments were saying ‘proof or it didn’t happen.’ They also love to discredit the story when the woman isn’t what they would call attractive,” Pargass said.
The trendy passtime has brought to light the way each sex truly feels about the other in the most brutal way as it offers an outlet in which anonymity is obtained, yet users can relate with millions on the same side of an issue. This reigns true for frequent user Fatimah Faruqu who classifies herself as a comment section warrior, also known as a keyboard hero.
“I have come across a lot of misogynistic videos since downloading TikTok, especially the ones that try to play misogyny off as a joke. There were several times in which I did comment back to some comments because honestly, doing nothing about it just allows them to carry on with the mindset that saying those kinds of things are absolutely okay,” said Faruqu.
Along with the men bashing women side of TikTok, there’s also the women bashing women and the women bashing men side. Frequent user Kamran Ramlatchan has experienced all of the above.
“When there’s a video of a girl dancing in a bikini you’ll see guys saying ‘it’s easy being a girl’ ‘views must be low’ — ‘your talent is falling out’ and they’re the same guys liking and following and enjoying it. I just don’t understand why they have to say it,” Ramlatchan said.
The app offers several music selections that some users of the app find questionable for women to use, because of the sexual suggestions in the lyrics, and movements that go along with the new trendy dances that accompany said song. Comment sections typically sound off with videos like these, and many users take offense to what is said.
“There’s the side of TikTok where girls often defend the boys or criticize other girls, by saying if they don’t want to be sexualized then why’re they using those sounds and those dances? In some cases it’s just for clout or to gain the support of incels but it does point out some fault in what the TikTok community calls confidence. It’s all very confusing,” Ramlatchan said.
On the flip side of TikTok lies the creators and commenters that take constant jabs at men and their seemingly long list of shortcomings. These usually take place in comment sections of videos where men are talking about women’s bodies with negative connotations or exploiting women for bodily functions, such as periods.
“On a video where the dude literally said ‘why are girls so open about periods,’ the comments were filled with girls bashing the dude … essentially demasculinizing his entire life and honestly how can he be mad? He came at something we can’t control so we did the same. My comment said ‘Huh? Almost as if it’s completely natural and something we can all relate to and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or be shamed by others for,” said frequent user and creator, Saraf Jones.
Many frequent users and creators on TikTok would say when media surfing on popular platforms, it is imperative to be mindful of the substance of your speech, because words are never just letters and spaces, but carry harmful implications and connotations, that should not be stated on an app intended to bring people together.