The Brief: The term "Dispo Boys" references VSCO girls to characterize boys and men who use David Dobrik's app Dispo or otherwise engage with an old-school photography aesthetic.
The term “Dispo Boys” first appeared in the Substack “gen yeet” by Terry Nguyen where she characterized them as “the 20- and 30-something guys whose online vibe is artsy, slightly rugged, or ‘alt,’ as one might say.” Nuguyen coined the term in collaboration with Joseph Longo who, in an article for Mel Magazine, wrote that they are “a categorization that exists beyond just guys on Dobrik’s app, though, and unlike influencers, they don’t post photos of their faces. Instead, they can be found on Instagram, TikTok and Tumblr posting photos of their hometown’s abandoned storefront or plastic bags as if they’re performing the soliloquy from American Beauty. They are depressed, obviously, but unlikely to be in therapy.”
Though Dispo Boys are similar in name to VSCO girls, whose namesake comes from another photo editing/social media app, the two groups don’t overlap much in their aesthetics, digital communities, or periods of peak popularity (VSCO girls were primarily popular in 2019 whereas Dispo Boys are a novel 2021 concept). There’s much overlap between Dispo Boys and other boy-based stereotypes like Alt Boys, Soft Boys, Art Boys, and Sad Boys.
As this archetype refers to a brand-new app, the evolution and full manifestation of the “Dispo Boy” remains to be seen.