Here’s what the ‘previous owners’ trend on TikTok actually means
Wait, how many miles am I supposed to have done?
When buying a car, it’s very important to know all the details, after all, you need to make sure you’re getting good value for money. But surely this is true for all aspects of life. Obviously, I want to know I’m utilising every aspect of the degree I’m paying for, that I’m getting drunk as cheaply as possible, or that I have the best meal deal combination in all the land. Getting a bargain is not an uncommon desire, especially for students. The newest TikTok trend has taken this further, encouraging Gen-Z to sell themselves via quirky 30-second videos. This is the “previous owners” trend that’s all over TikTok right now.
What is the ‘previous owners’ trend on TikTok?
Although keeping with the mechanical terminology, the savvy creators of this trend have found a way to covertly share what might’ve once been hidden secrets about their sex lives. Even better, they publicise these details whilst Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind and Fire plays in the background.
You look confused, and you should be. If you’ve been thinking that a bunch of teens on the internet have been innocently trying to sell their automobiles, you couldn’t be further from the truth. So, what do all the different categories mean? Of course, there’s some slight variation, and some are more creative than others, but there are definitely some staples.
@annaarcherfitnessjumping on the trend
Previous owners: Previous owners are how many exes a person has. Those currently in a relationship have even gone as far as to list their car as “sold.”
Miles: This roughly equates to how many sexual partners a person has had. Many have also included half miles (but we’ll leave that up to your imagination…).
Tickets: How many people you’ve kissed.
Year: An easy one here, the year someone was born.
Make & Model: These are usually their body type and ethnicity. Sometimes, people with plastic surgery list their make and model as “fake.”
Stickers: Tattoos, both are equally colourful and difficult to remove.
Condition: The “condition” a person is in is determined by their mental state – however, the level of detail provided can vary, and some just choose to call themselves “broken.”
Fuel: What keeps you going (spoiler – it’s usually alcohol).
But people are saying the ‘previous owners’ trend is problematic
Despite this trend, including participants who identify as all sexualities and genders, it is female-dominated and was popularised by women. This has led to the criticism by many that this trend is guilty of encouraging women to objectify themselves for male approval. While being a fun trend on the surface, even the implication that our partners have some ownership over us feels worrisome at the very least.
Perhaps the sexist undertones of this trend are most obviously seen when looking at the TikTok comments. Many have pointed out that the level of stick a man might get for having 15+ “miles” seems mild compared to the reaction given to a female with two or three.
There’s a TikTok trend going around with girls describing themselves with stats as if they were cars with one being their amount of exes described as “previous owners”🤮🤮 I get it’s just a trend format but I’m sorry, our partners don’t own us and it shouldn’t even be implied
— Charli Clement (@charliclement_) August 24, 2021
Obviously, the majority of creators on TikTok are not intentionally perpetuating dated and sexist ideas suggesting that women (or anybody for that matter) are objects to be owned. However, this trend goes at least some way to show how we still treat promiscuity differently depending on gender.