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So babygirl! It’s the new gen Z term of endearment – but what does it mean? | Life and style

So babygirl! It’s the new gen Z term of endearment – but what does it mean? | Life and style
So babygirl! It’s the new gen Z term of endearment – but what does it mean? | Life and style

Name: So babygirl.

Age: Still in its infancy for men (it was first sighted in 2021).

Appearance: Mainly on TikTok.

TikTok, you say? Yes, and fandom generally.

Another rigorously intellectual conversation beckons, I see. You know you love it, babygirl.

Go on then, enlighten me. What is “so babygirl”? It’s a gen Z term of endearment, sort of.

Why are we talking about it now? Well, Jacob Elordi (he of Euphoria, Saltburn, extreme tallness and cheekbones fame) hosted the most recent episode of the US topical comedy show Saturday Night Live and one skit involved his co-host, Renée Rapp, and SNL cast member Bowen Yang describing him as “so babygirl”, to Elordi’s comic confusion.

If Elordi is babygirl, I suppose it means attractive? It’s a bit more complicated than that. There is a conventional usage that does mean cute, but also slightly naive: “A man who is very cutesy in a slightly submissive way,” says Rolling Stone. Other classic “so babygirl” candidates include Harry Styles and the South Korean superstar Jimin.

Isn’t that a bit demeaning? Yes, but it’s also a way of celebrating the softer side of these men. “It actually is being used in a positive way, like you’re highlighting favourable qualities in a man,” Prof Sylvia Sierra of Syracuse University told Grazia.

And is it … sexual? It can be? There’s a BDSM usage of babygirl.

So what’s the other usage of “so babygirl”? Well, you know gen Z; they like to subvert a trend as soon as they invent it, meaning “so babygirl” has also been used to compliment the “miserable antihero in his 40s” you find attractive. Think Walter White from Breaking Bad, Kendall Roy from Succession or Joel (Pedro Pascal’s character) from The Last of Us. I wouldn’t say there is a consensus about who gets to be so babygirl, despite the SNL skit; the term seems able to accommodate layer on layer of irony and self-referential silliness.

Those gen Z scamps. They contain multitudes. It’s elusive, applied to Keanu Reeves, 59, one of the blue guys from Avatar and, er, Godzilla. I’ve also seen it explained as having “passenger princess vibes” or being the same as “cinnamon roll”.

I’m so tired. It’s almost as if the confusion is the point? Yes. There is a genre of conventionally babygirl TikTokers posting “What does that mean?” videos in response to “so babygirl” comments.

Is there anyone who can’t be a babygirl? Maybe a female infant? But at this point, I’m going to say no: babygirl is whatever you want it to be.

Do say: “You’re so babygirl.”

Don’t say: “You’re so baby shark doo doo doo.”


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