Timothee Chalamet is lovely, but the“White Boy of The Month” meme has got to go.
It arguably started with Logan Lermann: the OG cutie and object of affection of many overly Greek mythology-educated tweens after Percy Jackson and Perks of Being a Wallflower hit the scene. Tumblr and Twitter (in all their early 2010’s glory) dubbed Logan “white boy of the month.” Rightfully so, back in the day.
Hot take: the trend should have died back in 2014.
Long before Chester Marlon Hanks mustered the gall to christen 2021 the cursed White Boy Summer.
Logan was a hot topic of conversation at my 2012 sleepovers. Percy Jackson was a universal sexual awakening for so many Zillenials, and we all know that the Vegas hotel scene walked so Euphoria could run.
Maybe Logan was just my beginning, but there’s a lengthy list of others to follow: The tween thirst-inducing white boys of the Hunger Games franchise, Noah Centineo (cringe), Harry Styles, or any One Direction member for that matter, Frankie Jonas, Pete Davidson, Danny freaking Phantom, and a throng of TikTok boys that make me feel old. The list goes on.
Most recently, the release of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier brought the relentlessness of the White Boy of the Month phenomenon to light. The Bucky memes and thirst-Toks are endless. But where is the equal internet lust for Anthony Mackie, rightful heir to the Captain America throne and therefore heir to the inexplicable hordes obsessed with Chris Evans’ every move?
He's SO FINE? Hands. Biceps. So clean. I expect equal thirst by the next episode or I'm speaking to the manager. Looks aside, Mackie put in equal work to TFATWS. Did we really need another white boy of the month, when whole-ass-man Anthony Mackie is doing the most to feed content-starved Marvel fans?
Look, I get it. Some of these men just have that Je ne se quoi that makes them irresistible to the internet, and what better to take the mind off the dumpster fire that is our last year than eye candy. But the WBOTM concept just doesn’t fit into the progressive, unbigoted future so many claim to be working towards.
Let’s start with the obvious: we’re in the midst of the racial inequities in the U.S. finally getting the mainstream attention they deserve, and we’re still collectively obsessing over a different lanky white dude every few weeks? Something doesn’t add up. And it isn’t the fault of the men (gasp), but the fault of those who continuously hold them up as the standard.
The White Boy of the Month perpetuates the idea that the fit white guy is the loveable blueprint. Society talks all about doing away with European beauty standards for women, what about men? There are plenty of aesthetically pleasing Instagram infographics to go around about loving your body and being kind to yourself regardless of shape, color, or size, but far less for men.
Jokes about the infamous male ego aside, men deserve the same attention devoted to their mental health and positive body image, especially men of color. Dreamy as Chris Evans may be, tweeting about him as your “white boy of the month” is counterproductive to any promotion of diversity in male beauty.
There wasn’t a Black Bachelor til this year, on the reality show’s 25th season. Clearly, white men have been held to a pedestal long before modern media, but we have more than enough resources to put a stop to it. Earlier this year, a TikTok trend blew up where Taylor Swift’s “Paper Rings” played in the background of (typically) a girl green-screened over a collage of liberal, gaslighting, outdoorsy, wannabe-skater type paraphernalia. If you posted a black square last June and shared a TikTok like this, maybe take a step back and observe the standard you’re setting.
The other great flaw with the white boy of the month phenomenon is its heteronormativity. The lack of monthly icon diversity is more than just racial. Sure, some of them push gender norms, like Timotheé’s iconic fashion or Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, and that’s fantastic. Do we hate gender norms? Yes. Do we stan a man in a dress, especially when they rock it as well as Harry? Yes. Have Queer individuals, especially BIPOC, been doing this for decades, often to be met with hate rather than open, enthusiastic arms? ALSO YES.
By obsessing over a hot, cis-gender white guy in a skirt we’re diminishing all that others have done fearlessly for years for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, women, and all of the above. As a One Direction fan from the X-Factor days, I’m as infatuated with Harry Styles as anyone. But it’s important to remember Harry’s steps are on the backs of Prince, Bowie, Billie Porter, Freddie Mercury, the massive Drag community, and countless others. Before labeling someone as the official face of positivity and progress, do some research on all those who came before them.
Some of the internet’s favorite white boys might be icons for all, and while many are not problematic as human beings, the way social media worships them is. If you say you want widespread acceptance, stop. Making. White. Men. The. Blueprint.
Gen Z might be the most progressive bunch yet, but as long as society drools exclusively over white male stars, the fight for equality will be continuously contradicted.