Move Over 'Masc' TikTokers – It's Time for the 'Sassy Man Apocalypse'
Jake Myers READ TIME: 7 MIN.
"No fats, no femmes."
We've all seen it and cringed.
You would think gay men would have left this eyeroll-inducing phrase behind us as we enter the middle part of this decade, but alas, it still persists. Usually crowbarred at the bottom of a hook-up app profile, it's meant to unabashedly dismiss and discard certain types of gay men from even giving the user the time of day (sometimes with a third exclusionary and stigmatizing demand around race or HIV status).
Shouldn't we be past these racist, homophobic, and insulting phrases, which attempt to diminish the breadth of human diversity and expression, and harken back to a time of toxic masculinity?
Some TikTokers think so, especially when it comes to the femme part.
Let us direct your attention to the "sassy man apocalypse," a new era that men are embracing on social media as we turn the corner on a new year, and into new attitudes about what it means to be a guy in our culture.
The word "sassy" has often been used to describe gay men with bigger attitudes, witty shade, and often effeminate characteristics. Even today, gay men struggle with the pressure to be "masc," stemming back from sexist, misogynistic, and homophobic ideals about what it means to be a man. Internalized homophobia is still rampant in our culture, and guys who express the more feminine parts of themselves are often the collateral damage.
So, what if men began to reclaim their sassiness? Thankfully, over the past few months, a counter-movement has been brewing...and we're living for it!
Ironically, the "sassy man apocalypse" may have partially originated in the unlikeliest of places...with a straight guy.
Last Fall, a 25-year-old named Prayag Mishra charmed TikTok users with his expressive mannerisms, quippy attitude, and playful dancing, growing his social following from 29,000 to 5.1 million followers. He calls his audience "pookie bears" – a pet name for those that embrace his sassy and silly rants. We have to admit, his refusal to shy away from his true self, even when it's not as "masc" as typically associated with straight guys, makes him that much sexier.
Last October, Mishra became the face of the "sassy man," paving the way for guys to reclaim the mannerisms and expressiveness often hidden to avoid judgments in society.
@444pray Its the way you acttt
♬ original sound - Prayag
His cute posts clearly struck a chord with the public, perhaps because it's so refreshing to see someone turn their back on hypermasculinity, and be unabashedly themselves. It's hard not to smile when a cute straight guy is dancing with little hand signs in his car, singing little sayings or rhymes (even if we have no idea what he's actually trying to say).
"Sassy men are just so gorgeous," says one commenter on the above clip.
Another writes, "Sassy men are my fav he added a lil sprinkle sprinkle 😭"
When it became clear to Mishra he was creating a sassiness frenzy, he took the time to address the issue with a post about it, which has garnered over 30.7 million views.
@444pray Replying to @whO? ♬ original sound - Prayag
"I really don't know how to feel about this whole sassy thing, and I wanted to talk about it," he starts. "The first thing I want to say is 'GUILTY! GUILTY GUILTY!'"
He goes on to explain that sassiness isn't something you choose, but is part of your authentic personality.
"If it was up to me, I would have chosen to be nonchalant and sexy. God wanted me to be loud and sassy, what can I say?"
According to Know Your Meme, "Sassy Man Apocalypse" refers to a catchphrase first coined on X (formerly Twitter) and subsequently shared on TikTok. After X user @yattadondada made a post that read, "We in a sassy man apocalypse," various TikTokers began sharing videos showing their "sassy" boyfriends, typically showcasing them displaying more feminine behaviors.
While some TikTokers feel they've fallen victim to this "apocalypse," others have embraced it and made it a key part of their personality, with more and more guys adopting the attitude as a good thing, rather than the end of times for male expression.
In recent weeks, the burgeoning trend has crept into the gay community as well, ushering in more feminine and over-the-top expression in the gay male community, and edging out the "masc for masc" culture.