If the term ‘babygirl’ instantly makes you think of a young girl in a flowery dress and long, curly blonde hair, then you’re probably not a Gen Zer. That’s because, over the past few years, the youngest generation on the internet has started referring to fully-grown men as, you’ve guessed it, ‘babygirls’.
According to Know Your Meme, the term ‘babygirl’, which is always written as one word, first hit the internet in 2017 on the story-writing platform Wattpad. From the beginning, this was almost always used in an endearing way, referring to grown men who appeared to be vulnerable, sometimes submissive, and many times broody and melancholic.
An actual definition of the term has not yet been agreed upon, but it’s often used once a celebrity wears or does something that may not be perceived as being strictly masculine. Internet users, for example, referred to actor Pedro Pascal as a ‘babygirl’ when he wore shorts and a long, red coat to the MET Gala; while Lewis Hamilton got his ‘babygirl’ status because he’s softspoken, supposedly thoughtful, and cute.
As if all this weren’t confusing enough, some sources point out that a ‘babygirl’ man would not know that they are giving off ‘babygirl’ energy, and go on to characterise men like singer Harry Styles and rapper Bad Bunny as ‘softbois’ instead.
Interestingly, the rise of the ‘babygirl men’ is also being looked at as a business opportunity by the entertainment and fashion industries. Just days ago, VOGUE Business published a piece on how this movement may affect trends to come, which is certainly an interesting development as we love us both the babygirls and the softbois!