A chilling TikTok trend sees white women upload short clips of themselves crying. For the first few minutes of the video, the TikTokers pretend to be in a state of emotional distress, only to stop crying at the snap of a finger.
Prominent TikTokers to partake in the TikTok crying trend (which is also called Turn It Off Challenge and Turn It Off Acting Challenge) include @hannahstocking, @saracarstens, and @rose.arballo.
The TikTok crying trend drew a great deal of criticism.
The TikTok crying trend started gaining traction in the summer of 2021, drawing a significant number of contributions in a short time frame. Most TikTok clips feature the audio, "Turn it off," by Barbara (@Barbalas9296), but they vary greatly in terms of style and topic choice.
Arguably, the most alarming clips feature white women dramatically letting their tears roll down their faces while maintaining perfect eye contact with the camera, only to flash an ice-cold smile in the last few seconds.
The TikTok clips drew a great deal of criticism. As some argued, white women have a history of abusing their privilege, which makes the videos a poignant reminder of deeply flawed power structures. Currently, 64,200 videos have been posted on TikTok that use Barbara's (@Barbalas9296) soundtrack. Not all of these see white women cry crocodile tears, though there are plenty of clips of this kind.
Many oppose the TikTok crying trend.
One social media user named Alex Webster (@lexicon91) argued in a tweet posted on June 16, 2021, that the TikTok crying trend does have a coincidental advantage — namely, that it demonstrates the tendency whereby white women falsely position themselves as the sole victims of social inequality. As Alex wrote, the videos double as proof. As such, they can be used in real-life situations to back up an argument.
"Unpopular opinion, but I love to see white women giving one another a global platform to tell on themselves. Archive these videos and pull them out when a white woman tries to weaponize her tears," @lexicon91 tweeted.
The trend engendered a fast-evolving discussion about white women's abuse of privilege, which could potentially be described as a positive outcome as well.
As Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (@faridahlikestea) wrote, this habitual crying makes white women a threat to Black people.
"The way white women weaponize their tears is the scariest, most dangerous thing ever. I don't think a lot of white women understand* that a lot of Black people are most scared of them than anyone else," she tweeted. "**then again maybe there is an understanding, and that is also weaponized."
"White women exposing themselves as sociopathic manipulators who can play the victim and cry on command has to be my favorite trend on TikTok," summed up @JadeBurnam.
"This is not a trend, this is a thre@t," a TikToker named Crutches & Spice (@crutches_and_spice) captioned her TikTok video.
"We know under a system of white supremacy, who is the most dangerous. This is not a trend," Crutches & Spice said in the clip. "Look under the sound. This is not a trend. This is just our lives."