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How to know if you’re ‘cheugy’, the latest insult from Generation Z

Britney Spears and Taylor Swift are the latest celebrities to be labelled "cheugy". Photo: TND/Getty
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If you still wear Ugg boots, use the phrase “girl boss” or display inspirational quotes around your home, you better sit down.

There’s a very high chance you’re “cheugy”.

Popularised on social media site TikTok, the new term is Generation Z’s latest attack on millennials.

First, they made fun of the older generation for persisting with skinny jeans and for styling their hair in a side part (apparently, those things are so 2010).

Now, the term “cheugy” (pronounced chew-ghee) has been coined to succinctly describe a millennial – usually a white woman – who thinks they’re on trend while being blissfully unaware of how uncool they are.

Even pop stars Britney Spears and Taylor Swift have been caught in the firing line after Instagram page ‘@cheuglife’ joked about their fashion choices and interests.

The ultimate ‘Horse Girl’ Taylor Swift has been branded a “major cheug”. Photo: Instagram
Britney Spears is a certified cheug, apparently. Photo: Instagram

Coined by America woman Gaby Rasson, 23, in 2013, the term eventually made its way to TikTok in March and was recently legitimatised by an article in The New York Times. 

Cheuginess comes in many forms.

It’s not quite “basic”, nor is it nerdy or carelessly uncool.

Cheugy fashion items are generally clothes, home decor or accessories that used to be very on trend, but went out of style years ago.

Unlike the self-aware “daggy dad” aesthetic comprising of New Balance sneakers and ironic Hawaiian shirts, cheugs don’t see themselves as unfashionable.

Think knee-high boots, framed cursive text saying “Live, Laugh, Love” and corny Instagram captions, like “Wine flies when you’re having fun”.

Pandora jewellery, bath bombs, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Harry Potter quotes and Starbucks are cheugy.

Cheugy couples own matching his-and-hers towels, and post social media captions like “Five years with this one, “My partner in crime” or “My favourite human”.

Cringe.

The following phrases are 100 per cent, certified cheugy:

  • “All the feels”
  • “Doggo”
  • “Adulting”
  • “But first, coffee”
  • “Girl crush” or “girl boss”
  • “I did a thing”
  • “Rosé all day”.

Pillows brandishing the words “Keep calm and carry on” and overly decorated bedrooms fall into the same category.

 

Women in their 30s obsessed with horse riding and dream of having their wedding at Disneyland? Cheugy.

Marketing “girlies” who rave about podcasts, as well as the autumn Christian Girl aesthetic are unforgivably cheugy.

The Christian Girl look includes knee-high boots, skinny leg jeans and of course, an engagement ring. Photo: Instagram

Although many people have embraced the new term, others have slammed it as the latest way to make fun of women and stereotypically feminine interests.

For every person that calls themselves a proud cheug, there is another who cries misogyny or classism.

But Abby Siegel, a friend of the term’s creator, told The New York Times it didn’t have malicious intent.

Part of the joke is that everyone is likely a bit cheugy in one way or another.

After all, the heart wants what it wants.

Perhaps the naysayers need to live, laugh, love a little more.

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