The Brief: Young people are showing their love for worm on a string toys via memes, TikToks, fan art, crafts, and merch.
They’re cute, they’re tacky, they’re worms on strings (aka Squirmles) and Gen Z loves them. Worm on a string memes, TikToks, and fan art are popular online as people create versatile content featuring these fuzzy toys. Not only are these pipe cleaner-like toys available on Amazon, but there are also earrings made out of them on Etsy and meme face masks on Redbubble.
In 2016, Know Your Meme attributed a boom in worm on a string memes to the “Meme Rennaissance” of the Me_IRL subreddit. In September 2019, Lauren Strapagiel reported for BuzzFeed that worms on a string were having a moment among teenagers, noting the appeal of the toy’s cheesy childhood nostalgia.
Worm on a string memes typically combine absurdist humor with cutsey imagery to contrast fun, bright colors with creepy and bizarre jokes. There are several worm on a string Instagram meme accounts with thousands of followers including @ohwormtime, @wormiecult, and @wormwithoutastring. The subreddit r/WormOnAString has over 4,400 members.
Squirmles are often hailed as LGBTQ+ symbols and icons as many worm on a string fans are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
lorde as worms on a string a thread: pic.twitter.com/6YGSUZte9j
— lorde n savior (@LordeUltra) September 2, 2020
At the time of writing, videos associated with the hashtag #WormOnString have been viewed over 20 million times on TikTok. Many of these videos fit in the category of DeepTok as they include strange skits and unexpected ways to play with these children’s toys.
Worm on a string fan art can be found on Deviant Art, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. These images add worm on a string toys to various scenes and visual scenarios. Worm on a string crafting is also popular as is photography of the toys as if they were actual pets.
wlw/nblw who love worm on a string! pic.twitter.com/qhABN4JLGD
— unnecessary wlw/nblw flags (@wlwflags) August 29, 2020