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Boy math doomer collage
Illustration Günseli Yalcinkaya

Stop freaking out about boy math, it’s not that deep

‘Boy math is thinking the answer to ‘did you cum?’ is yes’

Boy math is wanting zero kids but having zero condoms on hand. Boy math is how 5’10” measures 6’. Boy math is thinking the answer to ‘did you cum?’ is yes. This is what I see when I scrolled my feed this morning. The gender-coded answer to the ‘girl math’ TikTok reels dominating social media feeds over the past months, boy math is the next trend in the memeplex, poking fun at the backwards logic deployed by men on a daily basis. It’s gone so viral in fact that even AOC is posting about it.

To refresh your memory, girl math is the trend that saw women everywhere justify their indulgent purchases: want to spend hundreds on a state-of-the-art, face-sculpting kit you saw on Instagram? Do the girl math. What about returning a £50 top in exchange for a forever bag on Vestiare? What a discount! A near-relative to the humble girl dinner or TikTok trends ‘strawberry girl’, ‘vanilla girl’, ‘tomato girl’, ‘clean girl’ (the list goes on), girl math proved that a woman’s self-bargaining power has no limits. It adds to a long lineage of girl-coded rhetoric online (also included are angels, bimbos and NPC influencers).

As a recent Wired article pointed out, Everyone is a Girl Online – just look at the recontextualising of pop culture daddies as baby girls like Kendall Roy from Succession and Walter White from Breaking Bad. The ‘girl’ codex has become shorthand for our terminally online condition, a way of expressing our collective political ambivalence and consumer-driven online habits.

In contrast, boy math is a little more… pointed. “Boy math is when YOU cannot cook or clean but it’s the women who refuse to do it for you who are ‘lazy and dirty’,” reads one tweet. “Having a 70 inch TV but a floor mattress,” says another. “Women woke up and chose violence,” says a post by Diet Prada.

By now, it’s commonly accepted that masculinity is in crisis – or at least that’s what countless thinkpieces appear to suggest. Whether they’re thinking about the Roman Empire every day or identifying with Ken from Barbie, men – like ‘girls’ – have also been in the spotlight in recent months. The ‘Is the Cure to Male Loneliness’ meme went viral, with variations spreading in their hundreds and thousands across the infinite scroll.

While these trends are arguably healthier than manosphere-adjacent stereotypes like sigma males, the mental gymnastics undergone by men on a daily basis that justify their strange habits is literally just real talk, however ridiculous it sounds. Perhaps women are just better at roasting, or maybe ‘boy math’ memes were an inevitable response to growing misogyny online – but it’s all harmless fun, right?