Are you a fan of TikTok? You’ll probably say that you go recently and you don’t see a lot of pipo dei talk about mascara, but not about makeup.
People are using the word to talk about relationships in a way that avoids TikTok’s censorship filters.
Since the #mascara trend started less than two weeks ago, it has more than 100 million views.
The secret code starts confusing people, then takes a new twist that gets actress Julia Fox into a little trouble. But what does it mean?
How to get started
For the start of the mascara trend, it was pretty good.
Users post videos – usually of the song Constellations by Duster – and talk about their experiences, good and bad, with partners.
One person said she’s had mascara since she was 14 and “there’s nothing like it anywhere else.”
Some are so lucky in love.
Another person said he didn’t know if they would “ever trust another mascara” after the one he “made my lashes completely fall apart.”
How is work going now?
Like so many trends, the word soon became sexier.
Mascara and di mascara wand soon became code words for a certain part of the body. Some pipo even discuss chart sizes or how long the coil lasts.
Then later e enta di discussions of sexual abuse and trauma, frame in a way that only those of us “in the know” understand.
More than a few pipo complains say it’s more than a little confusing.
That confusion landed actress and model Julia Fox in hot water last week when she responded to a video that used a different meaning.
In a user post I say they are trying my mascara “without my consent”.
Julia came and answered, “I don’t know why, but I don’t feel bad for you hahahaha.”
Pipo was quick to call her for comment.
She apologizes immediately when she noticed her mistake and says bin think say dem dey tok about the makeup.
Do you speak algo?
Code words are common to TikTok and they use words like grape – rape – and inanimate – suicide – constantly.
All of these responses to an app banning sexually explicit language and content make it difficult to talk about sensitive topics.
A Washington Post reporter, Taylor Lorenz, calls the language we’re developing from strict rules “Algospeak”—a speaking algorithm.
Code words are nothing new online. E get once when most pipo don’t know wetin OMG, LOL or IKR means.
And if you really know, there is not much room for confusion.
As one user wrote: “As much as I hate terms like ‘inanimate’, I make no mistake about what the term means.
If you say SA, I either know I mean sexual assault or I Google it and find “
But they point out one specific problem with di #mascaratrend.
“If I Google mascara, all I can get is real mascara because makeup companies pay big bucks for front-page ad space.”
What do the experts say?
Trauma expert Danny Greaves believes that TikTok is a poor medium to appropriately share traumatic experiences.
Danny says code words present a “challenge” because they refer to a subject indirectly and take away “emotional meaning”.
“The topics we cover usually require empathy, understanding and sensitivity become less important.
“Wen dat happun – as with the spiral trend – deeply painful and traumatic events such as sexual abuse minimize them.”
Educational and child psychologist Dr Amanda Furness is not so convinced and says that language development allows young peeps to discuss experiences more openly.
“But it gives a confusing message and is open to misinterpretation,” she said.
According to her, “it’s the most helpful place to start to make sure young peeps feel comfortable and safe talking about dia experiences and bodies in a universally understandable way.”
And she reminds everyone to remember that when you share on social media, you can’t control where the information goes.