Be sure to read reviews before buying into this disturbing trend.
Yet another eyebrow-raising TikTok fad has been unleashed on couples: this time, it’s the “boyfriend haul” — and critics who liken the viral trend to “slavery auction blocks” are calling it problematic.
Content creators are using the hashtag #boyfriendhaul, which has over 27 million views, to showcase their beauty and highlight their best “features.”
Although it started as a joke, the trend took a turn for the worst when the videos were called out as problematic instead of lovingly showing significant others. Comparing them to slavery “auction blocks” – which were used to sell enslaved people in the 19th century, critics say the so-called “boyfriend halls” resemble slave auctions because of the language used about black partners.
TikTok user @sunshinelively @cadyebs – who has more than 286,000 followers on the app – posted a clip in which she calls her husband “dusty, musty and crusty” and says she “brought him on clearance”. “
User @sunshinelively didn’t stop there, either, calling out other TikTokers — user Zareefa Arije — who used the terms “crossbreeding” and “purebred” to describe her non-white husband.
“One of these lovers is not like the other,” he captioned the TikTok, followed by the hashtag #racism.
“‘I got him on clearance because he’s a bit experienced’ what girl???!!!!!!!” A shocked viewer quoted the video and wrote in the comments.
“The fact he allows it,” said another.
Meanwhile, others said the trend was “just a joke” or not their problem.
“Can’t be mad at him … he just stood there and laughed,” one person said. “I’m afraid this is not our fight,” wrote another. “It’s a joke calm down,” someone else commented.
Other creators have also spoken out against the trend, with many TikTokers reacting to a clip hosted by @haiandcrew, a creator named Hailey. In the video – which was duet by another user – Haley, who presents in white, touts her shirtless black boyfriend, saying she finally “bought” him when he was “on the market”.
Since getting Flack online, the user’s profile has been set to private, but the footage lives on as Duets.
“Bought!? Uhhhhhh,” one user criticized.
“Giving off ‘Get Out’ vibes,” joked someone else who compared the clip to the acclaimed 2017 film.
Creator Zarifa Arije has apologized for her clip, which showed her describing her husband as a “chocolate” and a “purebred”.
“I’m very disappointed in myself for not being educated enough about the slave trade and slave auctions and slave breeding,” she said in the video. “It was never my intention to make light of this situation or make fun of it.”
After reading the comments and doing her own research, she said she couldn’t believe she put it on the Internet.
“I can’t believe I’m talking about something I know nothing about,” she continued. “This is completely unacceptable.”
@sunshinelively wrote in response, “Whether you accept her apology or not, I’m not invested in it. “This is just more proof that full black history needs to be taught.”
Model Iskra Lawrence, who has 12 million followers, also hopped on the TikTok trend, but with @sunshinelively’s approach. In her “anti-racist version,” she drags her partner, who is black, into the video, which was captioned with the hashtags #dontdoit and #dobetter.
Leaning into the camera, she says, “I got the idea to say that you need to do your research, and if you’re dating a black man, it’s your responsibility to understand the history and the trauma of slavery.”
Not everyone condemned the trend, however, with some users asking if it was only acceptable for people with white partners to #boyfriendhaul – to which people responded with a resounding “yes”.
One such video that didn’t receive flak online was by user @olivia.antongiovanni.
“I first saw it when I was 13, and then I was convinced to get it when I was 14, so it’s actually 10 years old,” she said of her boyfriend in the clip, which has 1.7 million views. “There’s been a little wear and tear, but honestly, I think it’s gotten better over the years.”
She says her boyfriend — who’s great if “you’re looking for something long-term” — is athletic, so “he has really good features,” and points to his leg muscles as she spins him in circles.
“What’s great about it is that it cleans everything, it writes love letters and plans dates,” she jokes. “I’d say it’s not as good for cooking, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d get a different model.”
“He’s standing there happy to be so happy and he’s so cute smiling,” wrote one amused commenter. “You got that on Amazon?” Made fun of someone else.
But for TikToker @sunshinelively, the “boyfriend haul” trend is no laughing matter, doubling down on how unacceptable the videos are given the history of human trafficking.
“It doesn’t matter if one person is okay with it, it’s not about the person,” she explains in a follow-up clip. “If you shed light on what my people have been through…then I will examine you.”
“I don’t care how black you are. I don’t care if your black mother-in-law says it’s okay. I don’t care if your black grandchild says it’s okay,” she continues. “It’s not right.”