What Is The Gen Z E-Girl Aesthetic?

If you've seen a girl on TikTok with black hearts under her eyes, you have encountered an e-girl. E-girls aren't a new thing. The Cut states that they have existed at least since the mid-20th century, all under different names. In the '80s, it was all about pale skin and goth subcultures. In the 2000s, it was all angst and rebellion — think My Chemical Romance. Now, in the early 2020s, the e-girl is a variation of the above. 

E-girls are also unique in that you'll rarely see them out in public. Much like their name would suggest, e-girls are created to be viewed from the lens of an online perspective, whether that's on TikTok, Instagram, or via their Twitch stream. Unlike those who wear other popular aesthetics like cottagecore, e-girls rarely carry their online persona through to their everyday lives.

It's definitely an intriguing trend, and one that takes inspiration from many different eras and decades, amalgamating to become the "electronic girl" we see on our social media screens today — but how can you achieve it?

E-girls are focused on looking good and building an online audience

Interestingly, as outlined by Parade, a large part of the e-girl aesthetic is using your e-girl persona to attract others. This does not necessarily mean that the e-girl community is all about sex, but rather that it takes its cues from an innocent and childlike look whilst remaining markedly more sexual. 

The idea that e-girls are appearance-focused is backed up by Vox, who say that e-girls are often ridiculed online due to their obsession with appearing attractive at all times. This is also an obvious downside to being an e-girl — in order to fit in, you have to spend unreasonable amounts of time online, which could lead to a skewed perception of others. E-girls are also susceptible to criticism for simply being young girls on the internet, no matter what they wear or how they dress.

The lore of being an e-girl is vast, but most people would be able to identify one within seconds due to their distinctive look. So, how do e-girls achieve their digital look?

The aesthetic draws inspiration from Asian pop culture

Clothes don't make the man, but they do make the e-girl. Vogue Australia states that if you want to become an e-girl, you'll need more than winged eyeliner. A staple e-girl outfit would usually contain cargo trousers or a pleated skirt with heavily platformed shoes, accompanied by fishnet tights or knee-high socks — sometimes both. Chain accessories are also immensely popular in the e-girl community, with body chains, belt chains, and chain chokers all commonly seen.

If the above sounds familiar, it is. E-girl fashion takes its roots from Japanese street style and anime, both of which heavily favor short skirt and dress silhouettes and heavy accessories. Moreover, as defined by The Cut, e-girls are largely inspired by K-pop and anime, as well as Asian culture in general. However, e-girl makeup is not what you might expect. E-girl makeup focuses on winged liner and heavy blush, the latter of which has caused some controversy due to its cutesy childlike look in contrast to a more sexual outfit (via Vox).

Though e-girls differ, in essence an e-girl is every young girl on the internet, whether you're into the subculture or not. For now, e-girls continue to play into their digital persona in order to reap real-life benefits.