Life&Style Writer Jemima Gayfer-Toms considers whether the Babygirlification of celebrity men could impact how we conceptualise masculinity
Jacob Elordi, Harry Styles, Barry Keoghan, Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Issac, BTS’s RM and Lewis Hamilton all have one thing in common… They have all been dubbed by the internet as ‘Babygirls’. But why has the internet decided to label these various male celebrities as ‘Babygirls’?
It all began in 2021, but really took off in 2023 with TikTok and Gen Z referring to any man that they found attractive and interesting as ‘Babygirl.’ ‘Babygirl’ has no actual definition with it being used to discuss middle-aged men, men who break gender norms in fashion, men who are awkward or shy, and any man that people on TikTok want to date. However, the main feature of a ‘Babygirl’ man is that he does not have a traditionally masculine persona and is attractive. Gen Z has decided to stan, fangirl, or crush over men who are in touch with their more feminine side.
These men have been breaking gender norms in fashion on the red carpet and in their streetwear style. On the red carpet male celebrities have been increasingly ditching the classic tux or suit for more feminine looks, and some have even been ditching menswear in favour of a womenswear look. Similarly on the streets, men have been increasingly spotted wearing women’s accessories, skirts and forms of makeup. Directly going against previous norms of what male fashion should be, but more importantly appealing to a new idea of what an attractive man does or looks like.
‘Babygirl’ men are inherently attractive, they are men that people want to date and are known as ‘internet boyfriends’. Their personality, style and looks appeal to this new wave against traditional forms of masculinity that are increasingly seen as less attractive. Instead, people have celebrity crushes on men like actor Elordi, who has been seen wearing women’s bags out and about, reading books, and on his recent appearance on Saturday Night Live was even referred to by singer Renee Rapp as ‘babygirl’ due to his shy demeanour and slight awkwardness.
However, what does this mean for wider society?
Well, there has been a shift away from following gender norms. With the rise of celebrity men’s interest in more experimental types of fashion, there has been a noticeable growth in the general public’s interest in men’s fashion. It is now more common for men to take interest in fashion without being referred to as ‘gay’ or ‘unmanly.’ With men sharing fashion content online and experimenting more with their everyday looks.
But this does not mean that we have seen a total shift. Yes, more men, and particularly Gen Z men, have begun to experiment with fashion on a-day-to-day level, as celebrity culture often represents a wider shift in general culture. However, it seems unlikely, unless you live in a fashion hub, to see swathes of men ditching traditionally masculine fashion or incorporating women’s clothes into their everyday wear. Instead, it seems that we are seeing the beginning of a shift in men’s fashion that not only allows men to be interested in fashion but also to experiment more with typically feminine clothing. Maybe, in the future it will be common for your dad to sport nail varnish or wear a skirt, but at the moment this still seems more reserved to younger and more online types of men.
However, we are still seeing a rise in the ‘Babygirlification’ of celebrity men, and this all stems from a wider shift away from the glorification of toxic masculinity to an appreciation of more feminine and fashionable men. The movement has a range of stars at its forefront, and has used social media to combat typical notions of how men should dress and act.
Read more from Life&Style: