What even are "lesbian vibes"?
If you've spent any time on TikTok lately, you've probably seen the "wipe it down" challenge, which appears to be one of the app's latest viral trends.
Like most things on TikTok, the trend is very simple—it just involves filming yourself cleaning a mirror and wearing a certain outfit, then suddenly cutting to new footage of you wearing a new outfit. It's become a popular refurbishment of the age-old "makeover" trope, made popular in rom-coms and in magical princess fairytales before that.
Wipe it down challenge www.youtube.com
Recently JoJo Siwa posted a "wipe it down" video and sent her devoted fans into a tizzy. The video showed the Dance Moms star first dressed in her typical sparkle-heavy, high-frequency attire, but then it flipped to a shot of her without makeup, her long blonde hair draped over a black T-shirt. Her appearance was so different that some fans began speculating as to whether JoJo's look had "lesbian vibes," which could mean that TikTok fans' politics are more regressive than anyone imagined–or that some tween girls are harboring secret or not-so-secret crushes.
Either way, fans are wondering if Siwa will be entering a more mature phase of life—her "Can't Be Tamed" era. Teen and tween stars have a long history of transforming and going through rocky periods, and though Siwa doesn't seem to be doing so badly—she just bought a $3.4 million mansion and was parodied on SNL—she's probably had to undergo her fair share of management issues.
MasterClass Quarantine Edition - SNL www.youtube.com
There's something immensely surreal about Siwa's video and her persona, as with all of TikTok. In a way, TikTok crushes time and allows optical illusions and bizarre images to become part of the real. Is this trend is playing with ancient ideas of metamorphosis and time-warp? Or, maybe it's just playing into our desire for instant gratification.
Either way, JoJo Siwa's contract with Nickelodeon ends today, which is also her 17th birthday, and fans are wondering if the "wipe" video was a hint that she's going to break out of her carefully curated brand.
Siwa is from Omaha, Nebraska and starred on Season 5 of Dance Moms in 2014. She began releasing music and products in 2016 and now has 9 million followers on Instagram and 21.7 million fans on TikTok. Her infamous and infamously expensive bows became cultural staples for young girls.
It seems like JoJo's been relentlessly commodified and branded by the media. Now that her contract is up, we hope she finds some freedom in whatever new look she chooses.
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