Monday, May 20

TikTok bow trend gets absurd

Want to go viral on TikTok now? Grab some pink ribbon and a random object. A toilet paper roll, houseplant, or kosher dill spear will work. Tie it in a bow and film it. Post the video online and voilà.

In recent weeks, bows in the wrong places have become all the rage on the social media platform. The most popular TikTok videos showed ribbons wrapped around a bowl of macaroni and cheese, a knife and an order of Chick-fil-A. Another video showed what at first glance appeared to be a bowl of cereal, but instead of cereal it was just a bowl of flakes.

If you can name it, someone probably tied a bow on it.

The online trend was born in reaction to the recent popularity of bows in fashion and pop culture.

Sierra Palian, a 22-year-old nanny from Washington, DC, recently posted an 8-second video showing a glass of ice water on a table. It is shot from above and the three floating ice cubes are tied with pink bows.

Like other bow videos, Ms. Palian’s was set to “Let the Light In,” a dreamy love song by Lana Del Rey, whose personal style is known for being traditionally feminine and heavy.

The ice cube video has racked up more than 11 million views on TikTok. Ms. Palian said it was intended as a commentary on the coquette aesthetic, a style she describes as feminine, soft, delicate and often featuring pastel colors.

“It’s a way to express your femininity, but in an extremely conscious way,” she said. “It’s hyper feminine, but there’s also an awareness about it. It’s not a fancy culture.”

The ice cube video and others like it are part of what Ms. Palian described as “a large-scale inside joke.”

“I saw a comment talking about how melting ice cubes represent how female beauty is viewed in society,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s deep.’”

Chrissy Trovato, who works in influencer marketing for a jewelry company, said she was inspired to make a bow video after some appeared on her For You page. Noting that she had some pink ribbon left over from a work event, she tied bows to the TV remote and other random objects in her Manhattan apartment. She then took out her cell phone and filmed them.

In its 10-second video, also set to Del Rey’s “Let the Light In,” the bent objects take on an eerie appearance. Ms. Trovato, 25, captioned the video “Coquette Girl.”

The act of tying bows to everyday objects and filming them for social media videos could be a travesty of the way the Internet invents and spreads trends at great speed, he said. He cited this year’s popularity of so-called blueberry milk nails, a nail polish trend that gained traction on TikTok this year, in part thanks to its catchy descriptor.

“We don’t need to find a name for everything,” Ms. Trovato said. “I think this might be a joke on a lot of the trends that are out there.”

One question remains: Does the recent spate of absurd bow videos signal the end of the bow?

“I hope not,” Ms. Palian said. “I’ve seen a lot of people get bow tattoos on their bodies.”