Culture

Why Are Aussies On TikTok So Obsessed With Eshays? And What Is An Eshay?

If you're older than 25, you're probably wondering what an eshay is -- but everyone's seen them around.

TikTok eshays meme

There are a few things in the world that are inherently Australian: fairy bread, using “Never Eat Soggy Weetbix” to remember your directions, and the collective fear of eshays.

Over the past few months, the major role that eshays have played in Australian TikTok culture has become more apparent. But if you’re older than 25, you’re probably wondering what an eshay is.

Why have the youth become obsessed with them? Is this a meme?

What Is An Eshay?

Reddit: u/YummehBurek

Well, according to the most-popular (and most angrily-worded) Urban Dictionary entry, eshays are “those small dickheads whom seem to think they are top shit.”

Also known as lads or HKs, eshays are characterised by the Aussie hiphop they listen to, the Nike TNs they rock and the bad boy facade they project. Anyone wearing brandname sportswear, Nautica-branded clothing, bumbags and Nikes are often stereotyped to be eshays.

They are somewhat feared in society, albeit jokingly, for their reputation for unnecessary violence, stealing and staunching. News.com.au goes so far as to call them “wannabe child gangsters”.

Essentially they’re the Australian version of the British roadman or chav, but an eshay by any other name is still an eshay.

So What’s So Special About Eshays Exactly?

In the past few months there has been a real influx of Australian teens on TikTok making videos with a focus on eshays in some way.

Like with most TikTok users, Australians are adapting current video trends and inserting their own jokes and stories accordingly, and it’s proving successful.

The hashtags #eshay, #eshays and #eshayz have garnered over 31 million views collectively. That’s quite an impressive number for a relatively niche topic, one that’s definitely not fully understood by older generations.

But the success isn’t all that surprising. Even if you have no prior knowledge on what eshays are, once you’ve watched a few videos you start to understand what they are and the stereotypes that surround them. Whatever you called them in your time, you start to recognise that eshays are a common part of Australian culture which everyone has encountered at least once before.

As a result of TikToks search function, which orders searches by popularity, other Australian content creators have been inspired to leverage the popularity of the trend. Through hashtagging their unrelated videos with #eshay, Aussie TikTok users are able to amplify their reach beyond their own followers.

Like with anything, once you find a formula that works, you stick with it. For Australian teens, eshays are just that — the formula that works.

The videos can be as simple as playing off the fear of eshays.

Or they can delve deeper into topics like wanting to be one.

And they have the nerve to say Australians have no culture.