Why Are Women Listing Themselves Like Used Cars on TikTok?
Women are propositioning themselves with personal spec sheets on TikTok, but the trend is causing controversy
A new trend circulating on TikTok is stirring up a lot of controversy this week, because really, when does a TikTok trend not?
The trend, referred to as the “Previous Owners Trend” according to Know Your Meme, comprises videos of young women listing themselves like you would a used car you’re desperately trying to sell.
The lists include a number of items. “Previous owners” is the number of exes the user has, “miles” refers to the number of sexual partners or encounters they’ve tallied, and “year,” “make and model” and “stickers” constitute birth year, the appearance of the user and their number of tattoos. The last item on the list is “condition,” which practitioners are using to creatively describe the state or condition they currently find themselves in (reliable, used, alcoholic, etc.).
The trend is a spinoff of the “Let’s Groove Tonight Challenge,” a dance trend in which TikTok users dance in a circular motion to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Let’s Groove Tonight”; in the Previous Owners Trend, users are seen dancing that same dance behind their listicles.
While the people partaking in the trend seem to be enjoying themselves, not everyone is on board with women selling themselves like secondhand vehicles.
On Twitter, some users are calling the trend “weird” and questioning why people are “objectifying” themselves in this way.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for calling out misogynistic trends online, and there are far too many well-known meme accounts across Twitter, Instagram and TikTok that disguise sexist behavior and harassment as harmless jokes. But I don’t think this particular trend is objectifying anyone, since the entire thing seems to be deliberately engineered to parody objectification itself.
Obviously this would be a different story if men — or really anyone! — were creating spec sheets for another, non-consenting person. But that’s not the case here: the women engaging in the trend are doing so of their own volition, and having fun with it. By using terms like “previous owners” and “mileage” to refer to exes and prior sexual encounters, you could even argue women are actually reclaiming long-standing, offensive notions that sexually active women are “damaged” or “used up.”
But it might not even be that deep. If you’ve frequented TikTok enough, you know most users on there treat nearly everything like an ironic joke. This is probably just another one of them.
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