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TikTok’s Roman Empire Trend is… Misogyny?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USFSP chapter.

I think by now we have all seen the TikTok trend where a woman asks their male partner, friends, family, or coworkers how often they think about the Roman Empire, and to the surprise of many, there is a good deal of men that think about it on the daily. You might be asking yourself why this is, and I am asking the same thing! I read an article from Teen Vogue; “The Quiet Misogyny of TikTok’s Roman Empire Trend” and it got me thinking…do TikTok trends slide misogynistic ideals under our noses?

Now don’t get me wrong, when looking at America and its ideals, there is misogyny deep at the core of our values, which is utterly disgusting personally. However, I think sometimes these ideas get taken to a level that does not even make sense in context. When looking at the surface, this is just a harmless trend…right? There are people who believe this trend harbors misogynistic ideals because women have tried coming up with what their Roman Empire ranging from The Titanic, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, to the Romanovs, and Greek mythology. Now this could be seen as women being pushed to think about and study certain more feminine, less violent, bloodbath-type areas, which in no way am I disagreeing with this idea. Due to the fact it is ingrained in our society that women are to stick to certain professions such as teaching, nursing, etc.; whereas men should be in the “manly/leadership” professions of doctors, CEOs, engineers, etc. I do think that this is a correct statement to an extent. Although, there have been improvements to this idea. More women are starting to enter the workforce into the male-dominated professions. So, while I agree that women being pushed to think about more “feminine” topics is an issue, it does not make sense to bring it up in this context since this whole discussion started as a trend on TikTok that was supposed to be a silly joke. And to be quite honest, everyone and their mom have seen other trends that have been more harmful.  This seems like we have once again fallen into the “what about me” effect. Yes, it is important to note that masculine and feminine interests are curated by society, but sometimes, a trend or joke is meant to be just that, a trend or joke. 

There is also the idea floating around with this trend that perceptions of the Roman Empire are harmful and strengthen white male supremacy. While male supremacy is a concern, it has nothing to do with this trend. The world has never seen women as equals to men, let alone people of color, but that is an issue with the world, not this trend. This is a not-so-quite misogynistic ideal; that the best rulers have been historically white men, but can we just remind ourselves that the ancient Romans were not white, at least in the modern sense? Yes, we as Americans think of them as white, but they were not. So, I think the issue is more with the world and how we perceive masculinity vs. femininity (which is beginning to change in recent years, especially with the growing LGBTQ+ community redefining it) rather than a trend on TikTok that is supposed to be fun.

Hello! My name is Dorian, I am a writer for Her Campus at USFSP and this is my second year as a college student but have junior standing. I am a psychology major with a criminology minor. I am from Goshen, New York; no I am not from New York City! I was a lifeguard and swim lesson instructor for many years which came from my nine years of competitive swimming. I love working with the kids and seeing them and their skills grow and flourish. My career goal is to do behavior research on children with disabilities. I am highly interested in how the brain works and how it works differently in different people. In my free time, I LOVE to hammock and soak up the sun in my photosynthesizing time. I usually bring a silly little book with me or just chill with my friends. One of my favorite activities is going on random adventures with my friends and just letting the wind blow us wherever it may go. I have also recently begun to learn how to long-board. I also enjoy going to the gym with my friends to get those big muscles. Another one of my favorite activities is getting tattoos; my goal is to cover myself in art.