Why are people talking about Chet Hanks and his ‘white boy summer’? | Arwa Mahdawi

In a clumsy attempt to create a new trend, the son of Tom Hanks has created a range of merchandise and laid out his ‘rules and regs’. But no one actually knows what he means

First there was hot girl summer, then there was Christian girl autumn, now we’ve been cursed with white boy summer.

If you found that sentence completely incomprehensible then allow me to congratulate you on being a member of the exclusive “brain not yet completely broken by the internet” club. Those of us not in that club will immediately know that hot girl summer was a 2019 meme started by the rapper Megan Thee Stallion about having a carefree summer. This was followed by Christian girl autumn, a meme poking fun at “basic” women who like pumpkin spice lattes and Instagramming themselves apple-picking. Meme-based seasons were cancelled during the pandemic when days blurred into one another and time ceased to have any meaning. Now that there’s hope, the worst could be over. However, Chet Hanks, the 30-year-old son of Hollywood actor Tom, is clumsily trying to revive the trend. “I just got this feeling man … it’s about to be a white boy summer,” Chet Hanks told his Instagram followers a couple of weeks ago. Not in a racist kinda way, he clarified. But in a white male rapper sort of way. “You know what I mean?”

Nobody had the foggiest idea what he meant, so Hanks has been helpfully dishing out “rules and regs” for white boy summer. There’s “no calling girls ‘smokeshows’” apparently. And guys should stop getting “drunk and sweaty” and getting in people’s personal space with booze breath. “Bottom line here, gentlemen, is it’s time for us to evolve, OK,” Hanks said. “It’s time for us to go from a Pikachu to a Raichu.” I don’t know what that means, but apparently evolving Hanks-style involves avoiding plaid shirts or anything salmon-coloured. Instead you should wear clothes from his White Boy Summer merchandise collection; these, rather awkwardly, have been criticised for utilising a Gothic-style font that many on social media are saying is close to one white supremacists are fond of.

After four years of Donald Trump emboldening white supremacists, I don’t think now is the time to be calling for a white boy summer. However, I can heartily endorse a hot boy summer. I think it’s important, in the name of equality, that men get a season of their own to strut their stuff. Particularly as lockdown has apparently got men experimenting with micro shorts and skirts. Let those legs be free, boys! In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my cranky woman spring.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

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Arwa Mahdawi

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