I have a 12-year-old daughter, which means I have a TikTok devotee. For a while, that just meant we all got exposed to new dances, as she’d scurry downstairs, command our attention to demonstrate said new dance as TiKTok blasted music from her phone, then scurry back up. Good times!
Then the coronavirus hit, and everything got a little crazier. She would come downstairs and tell me some wonderful new fact she had learned, and whenever it edged into bonkersland, I would ask her, “Um… where did you hear that?” The answer, invariably, was “I saw it on TikTok.”
So here are some of the fun new “facts” my daughter (and sometimes her friends) picked up on TikTok, the spyware that masquerades as a social media platform.
1. Coronavirus testing just got a lot easier
“They can point something at your head now that tells you if you have coronavirus!” my daughter announced one day, no doubt happy to hear of a testing option that didn’t involve having something long and pointy shoved up your nose as far as it’ll go. When I said that wasn’t true, she insisted I was wrong—until I told her they can take your temperature by pointing something at your forehead. “Oh,” was her unimpressed, toneless response, and off she went back up the stairs.
2. Trump is reversing same-sex marriage.
I confess I didn’t dismiss this one entirely, as it didn’t seem off-brand for him. New policies gobsmack me daily: You can kill baby bears and wolves while they’re sleeping in their dens! Companies can pour toxic chemicals into the rivers! Medical professionals can refuse treatment to transgender people! In addition to trampling on very, very hard-won human rights, this policy, if it were true, would get very personal: My father has a husband, and one of my sisters will soon have a wife, although the wedding’s been postponed due to the pandemic. But again… TikTok. There are many (so many) awful things Trump is doing, but so far, this isn’t one of them.
3. The police are putting tear gas in milk jugs
There’s a lot of brutality out there, and those of us who had the luxury of being less aware of it have had our rose-colored glasses removed, if they existed at all. But no, the police are not putting tear gas in milk jugs, because honestly, what would that even do?
Sadly, we have seen the videos of police emptying out water bottles that were stashed for protestors, which was disturbing on so many levels that it would be a whole separate article, and already has been. But tear gas inside milk jugs? No.
4. Women have to get their mini-penises cut off at age 15
Yes, I saved this one for last, and to be fair, this came from a friend of my daughter’s, who told her that “there’s something on TikTok that’s really confusing to me.” So my daughter brought it to me. According to TikTok, at age 15, women get their mini-penises cut off. Not only that, one poor girl on TikTok was crying because she waited too long!
After reassuring my daughter (and by proxy, her friend) that this was not a real thing, I started wondering about the phrase “mini-penis,” which was clearly an expression created by a man. Should we start calling a penis an oversized clitoris?
Maybe we can start THAT rumor on TikTok.
A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.