Vocab Lesson

What is “mistwinkifying,” and why is it a problem?

Ever since the word “twink” made its way into mainstream culture, it’s been thrown around left and right. Last year, there was heated debate over whether or not it’s a slur — and now, the topic is who counts as a twink and who doesn’t.

This time, the discourse comes in part thanks to a post on X pointing out “twink fights” in movies from 2024. The two fights they pointed to were Mike Faist versus Josh O’Connor in Challengers and Timothée Chalamet versus Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two. But of those four actors, how many can reasonably be called twinks?

First, let’s redefine the term. In traditional usage among queer men, a twink is a young, skinny, hairless man. He’s not too muscular, he’s not too old, and he’s not too scruffy. Of course, language evolves — but taking “twink” literally, only Chalamet really fits the bill, with the other three actors being too built or too hairy.

Misidentifying someone as a twink has been coined “mistwinkifying,” courtesy of popular X account @computer_gay, who quoted the “twink fight” post and wrote, “Mistwinkifying people might be the most successful engagement hack of all time.”

The original poster even acknowledged that they used the term to get attention. “Call it poetic license,” they wrote. “The phrase would lose impact if I said ‘young men fighting in 2024.’”

Beyond the obvious annoyance of clickbait, misusing the word “twink” does play a part in erasing queer culture. Though they may seem silly, words like twink are genuine parts of queer culture and history, and seeing them appropriated without respect for their origins can read as belittling — a sentiment folks across the internet were quick to express.

Moral of the story? Think before you twink.

Don't forget to share:

Read More in Culture
The Latest on INTO