The Brief: In addition to referring to male friend groups, "the boys" can characterize young men who are rude, sexist, racist, and/or homophobic.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

Though the term “the boys” generally can refer to a male friend group as in “me and the boys” or “Saturdays are for the boys,” the term has taken a new meaning online, specifically on TikTok. In this negative context, “the boys” refers to boys who embody a particularly toxic form of masculinity and may bully LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and women.

The top entry on Urban Dictionary defines the term as “The popular kids in high school compiled into an internet group. The boys usually spend their days harassing minorities and members of the “LGBT” community on the popular app TikTok.”

The phrase is often associated with the TikTok “cult” and account @BoysTheOfficial which got in a “war” with the @Girls account. It’s also associated with emoji including 🥶 ,😈 , and 🔫.

@lunasmango

fr though.. #fypシ #fyp #theboys🥶😈🔫 #lunasmango #fyp

♬ original sound – chris🦋

@.gabishalo

how ✍️to ✍️cancel ✍️charlie ✍️ damelio✍️fanpages ✍️ #fyp #foryou #theboys🥶😈🔫

♬ original sound – barcardi