“Oh, that’s the VSCO girl thing,” explains my friend Francis, a secondary school head of year and geography teacher. “Yeah, that’s all over TikTok at the moment.”
Francis is not a cool teacher – it’s not as if he goes out to find the latest thing kids are into and he definitely isn’t on trend. Francis wears Crocs.
But as head of Year 7, he has every new craze forced upon him and, right now, it is VSCO girls that are the talk of his year group.
What is a VSCO girl?
VSCO girl is a social media trend centred mainly around Instagram and video sharing platform TikTok (which will remind the older among you very much of Vine).
It’s about fashion – a stripped-back casual style to contrast with the glam of some Instagram trends: scrunchies and oversized t-shirts are very much VSCO girl staples.
It’s also a language – "sksksk" is used when the person is shocked or amazed, while "I…oop" (see video below) is used when… a person is shocked or amazed. Never let it be said that the youth are unimaginative.
And finally, it’s an editing app popular among those who like to filter what the world sees of them online.
Francis tells me that the first he knew of all this was the reports he was sent of his year group flouting uniform rules by donning the scrunchies.
A few incidents of TikTok video bullying that included the phrases later, and he was a VSCO pro.
What does 'sksksk' mean?
He has yet to experience being part of a conversation where ‘I oop’ is mentioned, but he believes it is a matter of time.
“And when it happens, I will ‘sksksk’ in return,” he says.
I am not sure if he is joking or not.
Because of the way these things tend to spread in schools, it is as likely this movement has been and gone in your school as it is that it has not even started yet.
For those where it is yet to be a thing, Francis has a single piece of advice: “Don’t try and understand it, just enforce the rules and hope it goes away”
And it will go away, eventually. All these memes do.
But they all leave their mark in some way. Perhaps, in a staff meeting far, far away, the news that a new marking policy will be introduced will be met with an “I oop” and no-one will remember quite how that phrase came into being…