The curious case of releasing “versions”

The music industry’s latest tactic capitalizes on hit potential—but at what cost?

In the late 2010s, TikTok truly established itself as a pivotal force in the music industry. It helped several songs grow rapidly in popularity, granting the platform its status as a hit factory. There was the runaway success of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” in 2019, which went on to become the longest running #1 in Billboard Hot 100 history, and tracks have since found their way onto the top 10 of the charts starting from TikTok.

The music industry found new ways to adapt, with the concept of “versions” resurfacing as a way of maximizing success on the platform. The practice consists of releasing several variations of the same song or album, with differences in pitch and speed, or even deconstructed versions.

The release of alternate versions is far from a new concept. It has long served as a “fans-first” method for artists and their audience to revisit and reimagine existing projects. Artist-producers like Metro Boomin and Tyler, The Creator have notably released the instrumentals to their albums to highlight their production. A cappella and instrumental versions of songs notably open the door to creative opportunities for musicians. 

Concordia communications student and producer Theo Andreville notes that these versions are longed for by DJs looking to remix songs, producers trying to remake beats and rappers looking to record remixes (which defined hip-hop mixtape culture in the 2010s). 

For local singer Marzmates, they are also a teaching moment in which she gets to notice the intricacies of a beat, the way the vocals are mixed, and the technicalities behind the singing.

Andreville also supports artists releasing a larger output of the same song as it results in a greater financial gain for them: “It makes sense—you’re already being paid pennies on the dollar.”

Sped-up and slowed-down songs are two of the most common styles, and their popularity predates TikTok entirely. Forbes reported that the app’s most popular songs in 2023 were sped-up remixes. Both Andreville and Marzmates agree that these edits can breathe a new and unique life into an existing track because they bring a totally different vibe.

With record labels throwing their hat into the ring, versions are now being mass-released in an attempt to chase hits and make more money off artists, jeopardizing creative control. British singer James Blake recently made headlines for an Instagram post on March 2 addressing the topic. He stressed the problematic nature of the focus shifting from the art towards viral moments. “We have to be great at social media but not really need to be great at music, the ‘working’ of songs now meaning posting infinite videos with the same clip of the same song,” the vocalist stated.

Certain labels and artists are pushing the concept to extremes. Ariana Grande recently reissued her hit single “yes, and?” with a whopping eight versions: the original, radio edit, extended mix, sped up, acapella, slowed, instrumental and extended instrumental versions. The technique is also being applied to entire albums: 21 Savage’s american dream was given a slowed, nightcore and sped up version within two days of the original’s release. 

Communications student Jade Dubreuil also takes TikTok’s fast-paced nature and consumer culture into account. “From a business standpoint, it’s extremely smart—but it creates fads. Artists who take that route take risks.” TikTok creates hits with ease, but shaking the “TikTok song” label is a much stickier situation.

Despite now flooding the market due to corporate greed, versions are widening the window of opportunity for creators and executives alike. “It’s more of a service to everybody, even if it’s redundant,” Andreville concludes.


“Girl Dinner” or Disordered Eating?

How a Playful Trend Turned Sour

I’m sure we’ve all heard the viral Tiktok audio “Girl Dinner.” In case you haven’t, it’s an audio accompanied by videos of women showing off their mismatched dinners consisting of non-nutritious ingredients and/or snacks.

It started out as a way to make fun of the chaotic snack dinners women tend to gravitate towards, poking fun at how these dinners are sometimes deemed as more satisfying than cooking an actual meal.

This trend started out as one of my favourite trends of the year on Tiktok, because I felt seen. However, watching it unravel made me seriously think about the ramifications of taking trends like this too far. 

Working in a restaurant, I am no stranger to girl dinners. Coming from work having just had a slice of birthday cake, fries, half a salad and a comically large Shirley Temple, I’d say I’m a near expert. Not the healthiest, I know. It is, however, healthier than what this playful trend has morphed into.

Showing off handfuls of fruit to a single glass of wine, it quickly went from showing off full plates of mismatched foods and snacks, to glorifying disordered eating. 

According to Healthline, disordered eating is defined as: “food- and diet-related behaviours that don’t meet diagnostic criteria for recognized eating disorders (EDs) but may still negatively affect someone’s physical, mental, or emotional health.” 

Usually disordered eating manifests itself in seemingly harmless ways that are actually precursors to full-developed eating disorders.Examples of disordered eating include binge eating, fasting for weight loss, fad diets, obsessive calorie counting, etc. 

Now I get it, why does it matter? It’s just a trend online that’ll disappear within two weeks, it’s not that big of a deal. The issue, however, is that it is. As I’m sure you’re aware, eating disorders have been a serious issue on the rise since the dawn of social media. Trends like this only encourage it further. 

Young girls are now seeing the older girls that they look up to, seemingly bragging about eating nothing but a handful of chips all day. Think of how you looked up to the young adults in your life. 

My boyfriend has sent me girl dinner videos that imply the only thing I’ve had in my system all day is an iced coffee, and there are days where that’s not wrong. At the end of the day we’re all (at least for the most part) broke university students. We can’t exactly always afford to make the healthiest nutritional choices.

I just ask that we don’t share it on social media as if we’re winning some sort of award for barely eating. The issue has only grown as social media has become more intertwined with the fabric of culture and society. I understand that eating disorders are painfully normalised and joked about, I only worry about the influence we hold. 

If you have little siblings, cousins or even nephews or nieces, would you want to see a video where they joke about the fact that they’re borderline starving themselves? 

Because at the end of the day, Tiktok’s demographic is split between young adults and easily influenced children/teens, and now they’re being inadvertently influenced to not eat. Shouldn’t we care more or be more conscious of what we post?

Now, if you don’t exactly love the constant girl dinners but money is the issue, we do have resources open to you on campus. Places like People’s Potato at Sir George Williams (SGW) campus provide healthy, sustainable meals at low prices.

Other options include The Hive’s free lunches on the Loyola campus everyday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Hive on SGW also has a pay it forward program where you can get meals that were prepaid by fellow students or faculty. Concordia also has more information on off-campus food resources on their site. 

The occasional real girl dinner dinner aside, let’s all be healthier for ourselves and for the younger generation watching and learning from us. Let’s not instil our own bad habits in them too. 


What’s wrong with TikTok’s stay-at-home girlfriend?

The trend might unveil more about women inequalities than we think

Forget the independent girlboss. Now, working outside the home is out of style. Make room for the “stay-at-home girlfriend”: she cleans, she bakes, she takes care of herself, but most importantly, she’s young, skinny and white.

It started out innocently when influencer Kendel Kay posted a “day in my life” video on TikTok, highlighting what she does as a “stay-at-home girlfriend.” The trend quickly grew and, just like any other viral TikTok trend, within 24 hours it had flooded everyone’s For You page.

It is frustrating to see comments claiming that this is “going back in time,” because ultimately, telling a woman what to do is going back in time. However, I also can’t help but see a problem with the trend.

First, let’s be real: the concept of a woman staying at home is nothing new. However, the stay-at-home girlfriend is exactly that: a girlfriend, not a mom.

Now, let’s remember what a time it was in the 2010s for stay-at-home moms. In a time where the working mom and small business owner was thriving, saying you were just staying home to look after your kids was not the most “girlboss feminist” thing to do. (However, we should be clear here that taking care of a house and kids is a full-time job in itself, but was just never recognized as so).

Ultimately, I can’t help but wonder if the stay-at-home girlfriend is making a mockery of stay-at-home moms. Regardless, it’s safe to say that stay-at-home moms did not get the same amount of compassion from the internet back when staying at home was not it.

Although the stay-at-home girlfriend does get backlash — like some saying she is “lazy,” or “taking advantage of her boyfriend’s income” — she is not exactly being criticized for the bigger societal phenomenon that she represents.

As mentioned above, the stay-at-home girlfriend is young, childless, attractive, skinny, white, and practices self-care. Her level of education remains a secret and she is ultimately valued for the amount of household or self-care tasks she can accomplish in a day.

With the recent spike in misogynistic, alpha-male content à la Andrew Tate on social media lately, I can’t help but think that the characteristics associated with the stay-at-home girlfriend are similar to what these incels describe as the “high value” woman.

There is nothing wrong with being childless, attractive, having a boyfriend and wanting to stay at home, but the trend is just making racist and classist inequalities between women resurface. There is a long history of white, upper-to-middle-class women romanticizing the ability to opt out of labour.

Indeed, after slavery was abolished in the US, many upper-class families would employ Black workers to take care of their homes and families, on top of having to take care of their own. Racist policies in the US like the Mothers’ Pensions and Social Security Act of 1935 helped further depict the image of the Black woman as worker instead of mother. This allowed white low-income single mothers to stay home and care for their children, while Black women were excluded from welfare assistance programs up until the 1960s.

While the trend might seem innocent at first, it actually perfectly demonstrates how the systems of power we are still fighting operate in our society. Romanticizing a stay-at-home life negates the reality of women at intersections of race, gender and class, for which it becomes impossible to be the stay-at-home girlfriend on TikTok, at least without getting more criticism than their white, middle-class counterparts.


Stop posting your Shein hauls

The rise of Shein through TikTok and its place in fast fashion today

From try-on hauls to unpacking videos, Shein has been fast fashion’s latest social media star. During the pandemic, Shein had a major rise in popularity as everyone looked for affordable places to shop online, and TikTok is to thank for that.

Seemingly overnight, the app was flooded with videos highlighting customers’ recent hauls from the cheap clothing site. Not only that, it also became oh so meme-worthy, with people posting videos of strange items they found on the site (fried chicken necklace, anyone?) and cringy product reviews.

On TikTok, the hashtag “#shein” currently has an accumulated 44.4 BILLION views, to give you an idea of just how massively popular it is.

As a brand, Shein is problematic to begin with, and that’s without delving into the complexity of Shein’s treatment of workers. It identifies itself as a “real time” fashion company, meaning instead of the average three week process brands like H&M and Zara use to release new items, Shein takes five to seven days. Because of this shorter rollout period, they also use cheap fabrics and their clothing is known for its low quality, which contributes to consumers regularly buying clothing in bulk from the site. 

Shein’s massive popularity has made over-consumption trendy. Shein’s popularity has also brought with it a deeper discussion on fast fashion. Can fast fashion be ethical? Should we be buying from sites like Shein at all? Is fast fashion even avoidable? Questions like these have been at the forefront of debates on fast fashion. 

Personally, I don’t believe fast fashion is truly avoidable in today’s world. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist-run society, which is to say that mass consumption is all consuming and, frankly, we’re all broke and tired.

The average person can’t afford (and I mean, literally, financially afford) to completely avoid fast fashion. Even somewhat affordable mainstream clothing stores contribute to the problem by promoting mass consumption: Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, etc. Not to mention how all these brands are problematic in their own right in terms of mass consumption, labour,environment, etc.. . Even thrift shops end up with these labels continuously cycling through their racks.

There’s hardly anywhere for an average working-class person to turn to where they can buy clothing that’s affordable and ethical. With online shopping becoming the norm and wiping out brick and mortar stores, the fast fashion issue has only worsened. 

Online stores and social media have given a new life to “haul” content online. More and more frequently, people are over-purchasing large amounts of clothing they don’t need on a regular basis for social media content.

Shein’s insane popularity on TikTok has cemented the over-consumption of fast fashion as a trend. It’s become the latest environment-killing, cheap, and easy form of content available to influencers or wannabe influencers trying to grow a following.

Influencers. Ugh. Influencers have glorified haul content and inspire others to copy these same behaviours. Now this isn’t to say that all influencers are awful and want to see the world burn, just that they should be more conscious of how they use their platform. If influencers were to entirely stop posting content that promotes regularly buying clothing in bulk, there’d be a massive drop in the amount of people doing exactly that. The spheres of beauty and fashion have influencers at their core, audiences (quite literally) “follow” their example. 

So stop posting your Shein hauls. Firstly, nobody truly cares about the seven shirts you got for $30. Secondly, you’re feeding into an already problematic company that is one of the largest modern contributors to fast fashion and, by extension, climate change.

This isn’t to shame anyone who’s bought from Shein or similar sites. Like I said, we’re all broke and tired, I’ve been there myself. It’s just to say buy what you need, when you need, not in excess.


Do StudyTok hacks really help?

Too much time on TikTok can actually have productivity benefits


I know I spend too much time on TikTok. I tell myself that it’s mainly for journalistic research, which is at least partially true, considering that this article, as well as many others of mine, are inspired by videos I see while scrolling through my TikTok feed.

While the majority of my For You Page is riddled with Taylor Swift conspiracy theories, cute thrifted outfits, and cool new restaurants to try, a study hack sometimes slips into the mix (maybe that’s the algorithm telling me something…).

Because I have a pretty intense week of schoolwork coming up, I decided that this would be a perfect time to test out some of the tricks that I’ve saved over time and see if they actually work for me.

Textbook heaven

The first one I tried is a true game changer. Maybe I’ve just been living under a rock, but I was completely excited to see that something like this exists. is a free textbook library that gives you easy access to textbooks and research material, which is particularly helpful when the university libraries don’t have what you’re looking for or when you want to save some cash. I was writing a paper and needed a specific book that was already signed out from the university library. To my pleasant surprise, it was on z-lib and I didn’t even have to go in to get a copy!

Too good to be true

The next tip was definitely too good to be true. I saw a TikTok boasting about the “TLDR” Chrome extension that summarizes long readings into bullet points to save time. I have an absurd amount of reading to do this week, so I was stoked to try it.

I probably should have known that it wouldn’t actually work, but I was still quite disappointed when it spewed out gibberish that honestly confused me more than the reading itself. There were two settings: short/concise and detailed/section-wise, but they both came up with the same useless summaries. I also tried with another academic article in case the one I had was the reason it wasn’t working — spoiler alert: it didn’t. I still had to read a million pages on top of the wasted time trying to figure out how to use the extension. Serves me right for believing in things.

Racing to the finish line

I must say that I was very apprehensive about listening to the Mario Kart soundtrack while writing an assignment. Still, I’d seen tons of TikToks claiming that it helps give you a sense of urgency (as if the looming deadlines aren’t enough), so I figured that I needed to be open-minded and give it a try. I also don’t generally listen to music while writing, unless it’s a dark academia classical Spotify playlist to calm myself down when I have tight deadlines. They also help me convince myself I’m much smarter than I actually am.

I was pretty sure that the Mario Kart wouldn’t really have the same effect, but, after listening for a little while, it’s safe to say that working with these tunes was much easier than trying to stay on Rainbow Road. At first, the fast-paced tunes were stressing me out, but after a few minutes, the words were flowing from my hands almost faster than my brain could keep up. My assignment was done within the hour — I highly recommend it.

Tomato timers

Though not an exclusive TikTok hack, I definitely saw some videos preaching the Pomodoro method, which consists of allotting yourself specific amounts of study and break time to increase productivity. The most common time frame is 25 minutes of work to every five-minute break, a pattern that you repeat until you’ve finished your tasks.

I did two cycles of the Pomorodo method and found that it didn’t really work for my way of studying. Setting the timer definitely helped me actually start writing, which is often the most challenging part for me, and I appreciated knowing that I would get a break after 25 minutes. Once the 25 minutes was up, however, I was in a flow state and didn’t want to stop at that moment. For the sake of the article, I continued with the method (you’re welcome), and then took the five-minute break, which definitely didn’t feel long enough. But, I had the same challenges after the second cycle as well.

That’s not to say that the Pomodoro method, or any other study hack mentioned in this article or on TikTok won’t work for you (though if you do figure out the reading summarizer extension PLEASE message me). Everyone has different ways of learning and aspects of doing school work that are more challenging for them — that’s why it’s so important to personalize your habits to what works for you.

Overall, TikTok seems like a great place to look if you’re trying to figure out the best way to get through your schoolwork. Just be weary of “hacks” that are simply too good to be true. And plagiarism. All my homies hate plagiarism. Happy(?) studying!


Visuals by James Fay

“That Girl”: capitalism’s new cheerleader

The nefarious new inspiration porn

“That Girl” wakes up at 6 a.m. for her morning exercise of choice, often yoga, jogging, or weight lifting. Then when she’s done, she showers, performs an elaborate skincare routine, makes her white bed, meditates, drinks a yummy homemade smoothie, puts on some bike shorts and a crop top, and, if she has some time, writes in her gratitude journal.

That Girl” is the latest internet lifestyle trend popularized on TikTok. Aimed at young women, this trend is supposed to encourage girls to be their healthiest, most productive, and #empowered selves — to become “That Girl” who is cool, skinny, and successful. The trend, like most things that live on the internet, has faced some criticism. So let’s unpack why “That Girl” is sort of problematic.

For starters, “That Girl” isn’t anything new. She’s the evolution of girls of the past like the #girlboss (popularized by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso). The #girlboss was simply a confident successful woman, particularly if she was an entrepreneur or her own boss. #Girlboss feminism was synonymous with pithy hashtags and sayings that you could slap onto a t-shirt, like #freethenipple and #girlssupportgirls. She has to operate in a “man’s world,” and so she’s encouraged to take charge, be unapologetic, and hustle. This brand of feminism was particularly championed by millennial women, has been accused of being superficial, promoting patriarchal capitalist attitudes and structures, and focusing on skinny, white, conventionally attractive cis-het women.

This leads us to one of the biggest pitfalls of both the #girlboss and “That Girl.” They’re not inclusive. Like at all. If you look up “That Girl” on TikTok or YouTube, you’ll see the same kind of girl participating.

  1. She has disposable income. Those fancy salads, candles, journals, and gym memberships aren’t cheap!
  2. She’s usually thin, white, and cis-het. And if she’s not all of those things, don’t worry. She’s still conventionally attractive!

On the surface, this isn’t so nefarious. Sometimes certain trends and lifestyles just happen to appeal to a certain demographic, right? But this lack of diversity becomes more troubling when you consider that “That Girl” carries connotations of moral virtue.

Throughout history and across cultures, religions, and philosophies, self-control has been valued. You see it in the writings of influential thinkers, including Plato, St. Thomas Aquinas, Confucius, and the Buddha. Asceticism is the practice of denying your desires in order to achieve a certain goal and traces of it can be seen in most major religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Buddism. Denial of food, sex, comfort, luxury, or even sleep are all seen as admirable sacrifices to achieve moral and spiritual purity, common ascetic practices include celibacy, fasting, and meditation. Ascetics, or those who successfully complete an ascetic practice are more moral than everyone else because they have overcome “temptation.”

Capitalism has a bit of asceticism in its DNA, maybe because of its links to Christianity. Though capitalism loves excess it’s quite strict. Give up sleep, give up a social life, give up being treated like a person… whatever it takes to be successful. Don’t get distracted by your desires and weaknesses, just focus. Anyone can be successful through hard work. If you’re poor, it’s your own fault. You should suck it up and hustle, to the point of exhaustion or even injury if necessary. Sacrifice and discipline is just what it takes to be a “good” and “successful” person in our society. This mentality doesn’t only apply to one’s career and finances, it also applies to health and fitness. Overweight people are shamed for supposedly being indulgent, lazy, stupid. There is no consideration for genetics, lack of resources, or other health problems. Culturally, thinness has long been associated with virtue, and fatness has been associated with decadence and failure.

Ascetics, thin people, the traditionally successful, and “That Girl” have all denied human desires in order to be superior.

“That Girl” is just a new form of the centuries long human desire to feel in control through self-discipline and strict routines. You can’t control the plague, earthquakes, famines, oppressive leaders, or the family you’re born into, but you can control what you eat, when you wake up, if you exercise or meditate, etc. But it’s a cycle of shame, guilt, and self-hatred when you “fail.” The trend serves capitalism, both with the luxurious lifestyle it worships and the attitude it embodies.

In all fairness, I do see value in these attempts to “romanticize your life,” enjoy the little things, touch grass, and be mindful. The trend also professes the importance of mental health, albeit in the most superficial, aesthetic, and pleasant way possible. “That Girl” does not go to therapy or need medication, she takes a bubble bath, puts on a face mask, watches only one episode of Friends, bakes… This self-care trend encourages you to spend money on certain products and is incredibly individualistic. If you are burnt out and depressed it’s your fault, not any system’s. Haven’t you been practicing self-care?

I urge you to aspire for something, anything more fulfilling and genuine than “That Girl.” Trust me, she’s not all that.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt


The case against “male manipulator music”

TikTok’s newest music meme does more harm than good

Picture it: you’re at a house show (pre-pandemic obviously), you get approached by a ghostly guy in Dickies and Vans sneakers, boasting a small rolled-up beanie with a cigarette behind his ear. He introduces himself and then leans in to sarcastically ask you if you know the band that’s playing, because they’re really experimental y’know, you probably wouldn’t get it.

While I’m sure this brand of interaction has happened to many women in alt music scenes (I’ve definitely met my share of pretentious music bros), this sort of exaggeratedly misogynistic conversation has become more of a meme than anything. Online spaces love to continue rehashing the “indie music bro”/“softboy” archetype that’s been popular for around five or so years now. However, recently he’s gotten a more nefarious makeover: the male manipulator.

The hashtag “male manipulator music” has 18.6 million views on TikTok, so what exactly are the teens talking about? 

Trying to pin down what artists are considered “male manipulator music” is a fool’s errand. When going down the rabbithole of TikToks and Spotify playlists, additions of bands like The Smiths may lure you into a sense of understanding. The band is largely connected to media portrayals of the so-called male manipulators in 500 Days of Summer and High Fidelity, not to mention frontman Morrisey’s fascistic tendencies.

But as you go deeper, you’ll see acts with otherwise tame public reputations such as Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel and Slowdive, taking up a bulk of the spots. Go even deeper, and you’ll encounter the truly baffling additions of female fronted acts such as Metric, Beach House and Phoebe Bridgers.

What do any of these acts have in common? Basically, just some indie cred and a completely arbitrary label used to ascribe immorality to music taste.

Many of the videos under the TikTok hashtag follow a similar format. They include either joking skits or videos flipping through records with the caption “POV: you manipulate women.” Also common is a trend of ranking bands and singing along to audio of so-called male manipulator music containing Mac DeMarco, My Bloody Valentine and Tyler, the Creator, to name a few.

While it may all seem in good fun, there is something very sinister about manipulative relationships and even gaslighting being mapped onto music taste. 

Firstly, the notion that you could determine which men are “safe” and which are “red flags” simply by their style and music taste is incredibly harmful. There is no singular archetype of a person who is abusive and toxic, and pretending like you can guess which men pose a threat from outside indicators can lure women into a false sense of security. Honestly, a man who listens to EDM is just as likely to be a jerk as one who listens to shoegaze. A lot of the posts under this TikTok hashtag come from teenage girls and young women, and it could be giving false notions of how relationships should look.

On top of that, the mere idea of ascribing morality to music taste is slippery at best. For the most part, in the manipulator music discourse, this isn’t a case of separating the art from the artist. Sure, some “male manipulator music” comes from toxic men, such as the aforementioned Smiths or Sorority Noise, but the majority of artists given this title are labeled such for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

There is an argument to be made that if a consumer continues to support artists they know to be bad people, part of that blame gets conferred onto them. Yet, how has that argument gotten twisted into ascribing malintention when supporting squeaky clean artists with a subjective “red flag” vibe?

Further, this puts female music fans in a tricky situation. When Joy Division, for example, becomes music for gross men, where does it place us women who hold a tenderness for it? Labeling these artists as “male manipulator music” ultimately labels them as for men.

The issue of male manipulator music may seem inconsequential, but labels can be impactful. As a culture, we’re already so steeped in the notion that the media you consume tells deeper secrets about who you are as a person. Rather than leaning so heavily into that notion, let’s try taking a step back and not micro-labeling and psychoanalyzing Spotify playlists. 


Graphic by Lily Cowper.

How to be a bimbo in 2021

A group of TikTok creators are embracing hyperfemininity while rejecting internalized misogyny and the male gaze

In recent years, words like “bitch” and “slut” have undergone a transformation. “Bimbo” used to be a misogynistic insult, connoting an attractive but unintelligent woman. But now it is the latest word in “girl world” to go from demeaning to empowering. On TikTok, bimbos are trending. This proud new breed has embraced the identity of a new-age bimbo while sporting a pink Y2K aesthetic, worshipping icons Dolly Parton and Anna Nicole Smith, and preaching leftist values.

“A neo-bimbo unironically loves hyper-feminine fashion, jewelry and aesthetics in the face of a patriarchal institution that would deem them frivolous,” explains Bunny, who goes by the handle @bunnythebimbo. She has gained a following by making videos where she teaches classes on what she has coined as “bimbology.” Having recently graduated with a Women and Gender Studies degree from Chatham University, she loves to analyze what being a new-age bimbo means from a theoretical perspective. In one post on her Tiktok, she says bimbos take their femininity to the extreme as a way of making fun of how men perceive them in this patriarchal society. “But also we’re taking part and pleasure in it so it’s once again ours,” she points out.

Twenty-three-year-old Tennessean Hannah Foran, a.k.a. @parishiltonslefttitty, enjoys being able to dress for the male gaze, even if she’s subverting it. Ever since she was little, she’s admired the Y2K aesthetic. Known for her platinum blonde hair, plump lips, Juicy Couture, and cleavage, she says, “To me, being a new-age bimbo means you’re flipping the ‘male gaze’ on itself. You are becoming the very thing that men fear; a promiscuous, very attractive woman who plays dumb but is actually very smart once she reveals all her cards.”

New Yorker Meredith Suzuki (@maeultra) recently started to embrace being a goth-bimbo, a type of bimbo who has a darker aesthetic than the stereotypical pink.

“We are hot bitches who choose to be dumb, not just because some annoying idiot man made them like that,” she says in one clip on her TikTok. The 24-year-old believes the pandemic and capitalism pushed her towards bimboism. She became increasingly frustrated with how much more mental and emotional labour women have to do.“I wanted to break away from all that,” she says. One day she woke up and decided that she just wanted to be hot instead.

Perhaps the most successful bimbo on TikTok, Chrissy Chlapecka, 20, has attracted more than two million followers to her account, @chrissychlapecka. In a recent video, she frolics through the streets of a wintery Chicago in a thin coat unzipped to show off a pink fluffy bra. “Sweetheart, this is a sign to wear whatever the hell you want,” she tells her audience. “I don’t care if it’s snowing! Winter is a concept!” Her account is filled with videos where she’s either screaming at viewers to stop being sad over some mediocre boy, making fun of Trump supporters, or discussing how bad she is at math. Chlapecka famously finishes each of her captions to her videos with “#ihatecapitalism.”

Fifty-one-year-old Ginger Willson Pate, @glitterparis, is one of the older bimbos on the app. Her favourite part of being a bimbo is how often she’s underestimated because of her looks. She claims it has worked to her advantage in her life. Along with her daily TikTok videos, she’s a real estate agent in Silicon Valley and has a business with her partner of flipping and selling houses.

“That’s been a really lucrative career for me,” she points out, “so I’m not as stupid as I look.”

To Pate, being a bimbo means she doesn’t have to be ashamed of being ultra-girly and materialistic. “I’ve actually been put down for that by men that I’ve dated,” she says. But she’s happy the way she is. “I’m not gonna tone it down for some guy’s opinion of me,” she explains.

In the past, Concordia Journalism and Creative Writing student Nadia Trudel has struggled with letting herself care about her appearance, while simultaneously wanting to be an intelligent young woman.

“I think seeing these TikToks has encouraged me to be more unapologetically confident and take pride in my appearance without feeling shallow,” she says. Being smart and caring about your appearance had always seemed like two incompatible concepts. She’d been taught to value being smart and dislike girls who cared about their appearance. But now, she recognizes that belief system to be internalized misogyny.

Emma Amar, a Concordia Software Engineering student, categorizes the bimbo movement as a feminist movement. She believes that modern day feminism typically rejects stereotypically feminine things. As Gen Z, we are the daughters of the mothers who wouldn’t let us play with Barbies.

“Publicly deciding to embrace those qualities and still be a feminist, or still be politically informed, is really powerful because it shows that the way you look does not automatically decide how smart or informed you are,” explains Amar.

“Do you support all women regardless of their job title and if they have plastic surgery or body modifications?” Syrena (@fauxrich) asks in a TikTok video about the requirements to be a bimbo. While Syrena has not gotten any work done yet, the 22-year-old is currently studying to become a cosmetic injector.

Foran, @parishiltonslefttitty, openly admits that she had her breasts done in exchange for spanking a sugar daddy with a paddle in a leopard thong. She has blackmailed sugar daddies that were married in order to get free Botox and lip filler. “I want my nose done next,” she adds.

Ultimately, bimbos have created a safe and inclusive space on the internet where one can be themselves without judgement.

“She’s actually a radical leftist who is pro sex work, pro Black Lives Matter, pro LGBTQ+, pro choice,” Chlapecka explains in a TikTok video about the role of the bimbo, ”and will always be there for her girls, gays and theys.” While Chlapecka has progressive values, she still, as a blonde thin white woman, perfectly fits the original bimbo aesthetic from a decade ago from reality tv shows such as The Simple Life and The Girls Next Door.

Despite the progressive message of bimbo TikTok, Amar doesn’t believe that the community is sufficiently diverse. She has mostly come across white women on bimbo Tiktok.

“But I think that has a lot to do with TikTok’s algorithm,” she says. Bunny, who is a self-proclaimed fat white woman bimbo, says she’d also like to see more accounts uplifting POC and fat creators. “I think that creating your own aesthetic despite restrictions that say that you cannot be a part of it is something that can be really powerful,” Bunny explains about her own journey of embracing the bimbo aesthetic as a fat woman.

“The definition has expanded to become much more inclusive of all genders, races, body types, sexual orientations and aesthetics,” says Suzuki. In 2021, bimbo no longer just describes ditzy white blonde girls with big boobs. If that were the case, Suzuki wouldn’t be here. She’s proud of how far Gen Z bimbos have come when it comes to inclusivity and diversity. “But this is really only the beginning.”

Many bimbo creators have gotten comments from their followers claiming they want to be a bimbo but they don’t have big boobs or they don’t have the right sort of clothes. “A neo-bimbo needs to be hot, but that is not deemed by patriarchal beauty standards,” explains Bunny, “but rather by an unapologetic confidence that radiates from within.” Bunny strongly believes that anyone can be a bimbo.

Both Amar and Trudel say that since starting to watch bimbo TikToks, they have gained confidence. “It’s okay to just be like ‘I’m sexy, I’m hot,’’ Trudel says. “And it can be fully serious, or it can be kind of ironic.” To her, it seems like there’s an almost fake it till you make it quality to gaining confidence as a bimbo. “If you start acting like you are sexy and calling yourself sexy, maybe you’ll start to actually feel that way,” she explains.

Amar sometimes gets nervous about dressing in revealing clothes out of fear that others will judge her and think she looks slutty. Seeing bimbo creators dress unapologetically in hyperfeminine or hypersexual outfits has helped her become more comfortable. “It reminds me it’s okay to express myself in whatever way I want to,” she says.

While on the exterior, the bimbo movement on TikTok might seem like simply a pink aesthetic and pretty girls, it’s so much more. Syrena states that being a bimbo, at the end of the day, is a lifestyle grounded in kindness. “Loving yourself and refraining from judging others too quickly,” says Syrena, “That is the most important part of being a bimbo.”


Graphic by @the.beta.lab


The two sides of TikTok

 I love TikTok as much as the next Gen Z-er, but that doesn’t mean it’s good

When one is in a tormented state of mind, we often turn to the easy fix — quick stimulation that will produce serotonin in our brain, and help us to feel all warm and fuzzy once again.

But sometimes we fall into a vicious spiral of self-loathing. And sometimes that spiral is aided by social media — trust me, I have been there.

TikTok is a place that’s filled with hate, and it’s easy to get stuck in the wrong place. It’s an app where anyone can reach fame and fortune for dancing, or pretty much any other talent — but also a place where people tear each other down constantly. I mean, just look at the comment sections (which is half the fun, if I’m being honest).

Hugo Bronckart, or @hugoingtohell on TikTok, a second-year Communications student at Concordia, gained popularity over the summer on the platform. He can speak to how the torment that is present on the app impacts his experience on the app as a creator, and as a user.

“A lot of the comments can be really out of pocket sometimes. People will just come for you for the smallest detail,” he said. But in his experience, this is similar to any popular social media platform.

However, there is another side to TikTok — a hidden side — that considers itself as elite (alt TikTok, duh). This is the side that @hugoingtohell finds himself on, this is a side that, in my opinion, is a more acceptable, and generally a nicer, more open minded place to be.

In his own words, his For You page is filled with creators, artists, and queer people. Bronckhart says he feels genuinely accepted within the alt side of Tik Tok.

“I feel like it’s a pretty good app. Obviously, I realize I am still a white male, and I fit into those beauty standards on the app, especially as a skinny white gay guy…”

The main issue with TikTok, in my opinion, are the smoke screens of self-acceptance and body positivity trends. These are disguised to make us feel good, but can largely make people feel unaccomplished. At the end of the day, this app just perpetuates a negative body image for any person, of any age.

For example, the idealization of teenagers —  primarily their body types and lifestyles — is rampant on the app. Most users of the chinese social media platform are in their twenties, but a lot of the influencers on so-called straight TikTok are young, beautiful girls. Bronckart said, “Since there are so many young girls, you can be really sexualized really easily, especially in those trends like the WAP trend. But I don’t really experience it though, I just see it.”

For example, there is an overflowing amount of “what I eat in a day” videos with eating habits that should never be copied. It’s not uncommon for the creators of these videos to eat a single rice cracker with apple butter in the morning, followed by a whopping McDonalds feast at 11 p.m. This tempts us to feel bad about eating full meals, because most of the time we see skinny girls eating much less.

It’s also the new platform where people can get cancelled as fast as they rise, completely disregarding their persona and shutting them out of the inner circles.

“It’s a huge thing that can be toxic,” said Bronckart.

This phenomenon can be great, like when it comes to Harvey Weinstein or another monster. But when we are dealing with a young adult who has yet to fully grow and mature — such as James Charles, a young makeup artist who has cancelled throughout all social media for a personal scandal with Tati Westbrooke, I think it can be extreme.

Don’t get me wrong, there is always entertainment in seeing what others do. For example, duetting is one of the most underrated features of the app. It allows users to create a side-by-side response of a video, allowing them to answer questions directly or to give context or an opinion on a separate video. These are then circulated through the For You page.

“I’ve seen a lot of Indigenous creators calling out people… It gives different perspectives,” said Bronckart.“Duetting stuff, it’s a super good tool because you actually get to educate the person who created the original video, but also other people on the app.”

However, we have to stay constantly aware that we can easily fall onto the laps of trolls, and in TikTok this is facilitated to a next level. All of this to say, take it with a grain of salt.


Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam

“Alt” over the ages: how Gen Z is redefining subculture

A deep dive into the murky waters of “Alt TikTok”

Girls cutting their hair into mullets, boys in French maid costumes, anime cosplayers and gothic eyeliner tutorials — it’s nearly impossible to imagine a place where all this content would live in harmony. Yet, they (almost) do on “Alternative TikTok.”

Initially, it could be difficult to understand how all these disparate creators could feel comfortable under the same label. Counterculture movements have been at each others’ necks time and time again (think mods vs. rockers or the phrase “never trust a hippie,” popular in early punk scenes). Yet, as it was back then, it is still evident now that there must be something gelling all these groups together.

Until recently, the label “alternative” was only used in the context of music, and even so, its origin and winding meanings have remained murky. When the phrase “alt rock” comes up, most people likely conjure images of bands from the 1990s and early 2000s popular with Generation X: Nirvana, Sleater-Kinney, Pavement, Pixies, Yo La Tengo. However, the term “alternative rock” was coined in the 1980s to connote any music that did not fall under the purview of major record labels. This term took over the previously used “college rock” in the U.S. and “indie rock” in the U.K., to tag albums produced by independent labels that were popular on college radio stations. But, once Nirvana broke into the mainstream, the term alternative gained popularity as a catch-all.

While it’s unclear how the word “alt” showed up on TikTok with its current usage, the meaning is generally pretty consistent: alt TikTok sits in opposition to so-called “straight TikTok.” Straight TikTok is what you’ll be served when you first download the app: Charli D’Amelio, Hype House, and an onslaught of preppy teens doing dancing challenges. It’s the default, but honestly not very entertaining.

So then, “alt” in its current Gen Z usage is similar to its Gen X meaning — an umbrella term for all the subcultures standing in opposition to the norm. Though, it gets complicated, because now we aren’t just talking about music, we’re talking about people’s entire identities. The subcultures of Gen Z — E-Boys, VSCO Girls, cottagecore, and so on  — no longer base their identities around the music they listen to like the Emo and Grunge kids of yesteryear. Style has become the defining feature of these groups.

While style has always been instrumental to subculture, it’s telling how in our hyper-visual social media culture, it has become the driving force behind young people’s community-making.

That is not to say that style is without substance. In his widely influential book, Subculture: The Meaning of Style, media theorist Dick Hebdige explains how subculture groups of the 1960s and ‘70s used style to further a political message. Hebdige posits that the clothes worn by subculture groups function as a form of political rebellion in their own right. Something as simple as the tailored suits worn by the Mods of the 1960s show a disregard for the symbolic power of the suit in mid-century Britain. When a subculture co-ops the dressing style of those in power, they tear down the boundaries between themselves and those in classes above them. Through this, people are forced to question why we give power to these seemingly trivial symbols. For the Mods, when you disregard the symbol of the suit, notions of power, class, and white-collar ideals come down with it.

Is that so different from subcultures today? Take Gen Z’s cottagecore for example, an aesthetic of flowy fabrics, rural vistas, home-made breads and hair scarves. Through these style cues, cottagecore rejects the hyper-materialistic, technologically-reliant modern world, instead searching for slow-paced, rustic alternatives.

With that, creators can gain lots of cultural cachet by emanating a particular “look,” as it’s a shorthand to express your inner politics and desires.

The Internet, and most recently TikTok, has become the springboard for young people’s counterculture or “alternative” movements. Due to its advanced algorithm that constantly curates content that’s meant for your tastes (even calling its feed the “For You” page), TikTok is able to create micro-communities of like-minded people. And the more you interact with these communities, the more you’re fed their content, thus further cementing your place.

While it’s easy for Millennials and even elder Gen Z to write off the teens who seem to form their identities around how many pocket chains they have or even doing that weird eye roll thing, it’s important to take a step back and realize that this is all completely precedented. Alternative subcultures will, barring major political crackdown, always exist and always be changing. It’ll just be interesting to see who the next group to be absorbed into the alternative umbrella will be.


Photo collage by  Kit Mergaert


Tiktok’s Ratatouille musical scurries into hearts worldwide

A Ratatarticle about TikTok’s Ratatousical

There are few things that are better than the TikTok theatre community coming together to turn Ratatouille into a musical.

Ratatouille, the 2007 animated film, follows the story of Remy, a very personable rat, who finds his way into a declining French restaurant and dazzles critics with his cooking prowess. Naturally, he can’t be seen as the chef; therefore, he enlists the help of Alfredo Linguini, a gangly dish boy desperate to keep his job at the restaurant. Remy (consensually) controls Linguini’s movements by tugging on specific strains of his hair and cooks up a storm. It’s safe to say that it’s a masterpiece.

Even before talks of a musical, Ratatouille was considered by many as one of the most meme-able movies, and was popular on TikTok and other social media sites for that reason. Its vibrant characters and dramatic plot, however, make it a lively story to adapt for the theatre.

The idea for the Ratatouille TikTok Musical didn’t just happen overnight. Em Jaccs, a TikTok content creator known for her musical numbers, posted a video on Aug. 10 of an original song based on the movie.

Quickly, the video gained traction and reached other people who thought that this musical was rat up their alley. For example, Daniel J. Mertzlufft, a composer and arranger on TikTok, saw Jaccs’ acapella song and added orchestration and an ensemble, giving it the full musical theatre effect.

More and more of theatre TikTok creators became enthralled with the nostalgic thought of a Ratatouille musical, affectionately known by some as the Ratatousical. They’ve been using Mertzlufft’s audio to come up with choreography, which others have been dueting with their own vocals. Some have begun writing their own original songs and even designing sets and playbills for this show.

While extremely entertaining, these videos were simply blessing For You pages worldwide without any clear direction.

That is until someone called Josh Abram rectified this problem by creating a TikTok account called @RatatouilleMusical.

At the time that this was written, the account had already garnered 75.6 thousand followers and 186.6 thousand likes. On Oct. 26, Abram’s first video was posted, calling actors, singers, tech designers, musicals, composers, songwriters, choreographers and dancers to come together to make this dream a reality.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to do it,” Abram says, urging people to email him with original art, dance, song and design.

The next day, an update video was posted, thanking creators for their overwhelming support. Abram explained that the first round of auditions will be held on TikTok, but further details would be announced shortly.

A week later, on Nov. 3, an FAQ video was uploaded to @RatatouilleMusical. It starts with a screen recording of the many emails the team has received and explains that they’re doing their best to respond as quickly as possible.

Abram says that in order to become involved, creators should show their work by tagging the account in their videos and emailing in their portfolios. It’s also specified that this is purely a “passion project” and that the Ratatouille TikTok musical has no affiliation with Pixar or Disney. As for how it’s going to work, they’ve decided that their first goal is to create a concept album and then expand the project to create a full virtual production.

I think considering everything that’s going on, it’s a really fun thing to be focusing on,” says Aleah, a first-year student in Concordia’s Acting for Theatre program who prefers not to disclose her last name.

Vassiliki Gicopoulos, a third-year Dawson Theatre student, says that she “laughed” upon hearing about the musical, but echoes Aleah’s sentiments that “it’s just a really cool way to unite people throughout the pandemic, because there’s not a lot of art going on.”

Lisa Rubin, the artistic and executive director at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, finds this project “impressive and entertaining.” She commends the TikTok creators for “the speed at which they seem to be able to turn out such unique content in such short little bursts, and also their talent, their vocal ability, and their writing ability.”

Using TikTok as a platform for the Ratatousical also renders the show more accessible. Aleah recalls that in order to watch the Mean Girls musical, she had to watch a “bootleg” version recorded on YouTube. She says that “something like this is great” because it allows everyone to enjoy it.

Even more than that, people are coming together from all corners of the world to create and watch the musical together. In this way, TikTok’s Ratatouille musical “shows that the theatre community is a community,” according to Rubin.

Collective creation within the arts is not a new phenomenon, however. Melanie Thompson, communications manager at the Segal Centre, remembers a time when Weezer crowd sourced one of their CDs on YouTube. Nonetheless, she explains that the “resources that TikTok gives you and the medium of it allows you to do so much more.”

Therefore, Ratatouille’s “anyone can cook!” philosophy is echoed in the birth of the musical on TikTok — anyone can, and should, partake!

Anyone interested in contributing can email Josh Abram at


Visuals by @the.beta.lab


How is TikTok spreading awareness on Indigenous issues?

The app has helped spread the word about the Mi’kmaq fishing conflict on the east coast of Canada

On TikTok, hundreds of videos under hashtags such as #treatyrights, #mikmaq, and #indigenousmovement showed non-Indigenous fishers vandalizing Indigenous fishers’ lobster traps, and even firing flare guns at the Mi’kmaq on their boats.

Towards the beginning of September, the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched a self-regulated fishery in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia. This was outside of the regular lobster fishing season, and resulted in conflict with non-Indigenous fishermen in the area, causing the Mi’kmaw Chiefs to declare a state of emergency.

TikTok videos urge support for the Mi’kmak peoples in Nova Scotia. Video by @newfie_native

The Sipekne’katik First Nation was contacted for a response but have yet to reply.

“People should care about this, because it’s been a vicious cycle for my people since the first contact with colonists,” said Stacy Katsi’tsaronhkwas Pepin, who is Iroquois Mohawk of the territory of Kanesatake, a student at John Abbott College, and a TikTok creator with over 10,000 followers.

“I raised my voice on the fisheries in Nova Scotia because the Mi’kmaq people have their birthright to hunt or fish because that is their tradition,” said Pepin, explaining that she wanted to use her platform to spread awareness.

Pepin explained that she found out about what was going on in Nova Scotia because of TikTok.

“My Mi’kmaq cousins are being threatened because of the traditional birthright to fish year round, whereas the non-Indigenous have a specific season to fish,” explained Pepin, saying that Indigenous fishers are having their equipment stolen and vandalized.

Non-Indigenous fishers are angry that the Mi’kmaq are lobster fishing “out of season,” but according to an article by APTN News, the Mi’kmaq have a legal right to do this.

According to the article, the Supreme Court of Canada released the Marshall Decision in 1999, which created the Moderate Livelihood. This stated that the Mi’kmaq are allowed to fish for their livelihood, but the federal government is allowed to regulate fishing in the interest of conservation, according to a CBC article.

“There is no place for the threats, intimidation, or vandalism that we have witnessed in southwest Nova Scotia. This is unacceptable,” said federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in a public statement.

“I believe that TikTok, no matter the racial issues, is a fast way to get educational videos across, everyone uses it,” said Pepin, who explained that many videos about BIPOC social movements use specific hashtags, such as the Mi’kmaq fishing dispute’s #treatyrights. If a video goes viral, those hashtags allow people to hop from video to video, which spreads awareness quickly.

“Speaking about Indigenous issues is something I like to educate people on, because people need to know. We as Indigenous people will always protect each other and even though I am in a different province, I try my best to help out my cousins across the world,” Pepin said.

Pepin explained that there is a strong Indigenous community on TikTok, and this community is important because it connects Indigenous people who have become disconnected from their culture, possibly as a result of residential schools or the Sixties Scoop.

“From beautiful displays of regalia, to music, to teachings about residential schools, or the significance to how we braid our hair,” said Pepin, describing various Indigenous TikTok videos.

“Even for those who appreciate our culture, it is a great window into our world, through its beauty and chaos. It shows our struggles and it shows our strengths,” she said.

“TikTok is just the latest app to be used for citizen journalism, documenting and sharing what’s happening at the scene of an event or protest,” said Stefanie Duguay, assistant professor in Concordia’s department of Communications Studies.

She explained that TikTok’s videos are short and snappy, grabbing our attention and capturing our emotions, which compels us to become involved and share the message of the video. However, while social media creates a space for those affected by oppression to speak out about issues, social media platforms profit from the quick news cycle and the constant flow of new information, which can cause minority voices and issues to be buried under the steady stream of new content.

“I think a lot of people are realizing the historical and systemically reinforced invisibility of issues relating to minoritized groups,” said Duguay. “[They are] recognizing that longstanding news-related institutions contribute to this, [and so they’re] taking measures to ensure that people continue talking about and reflecting on these issues until actual change is brought about.”

Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam.

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