What do energy drinks, chicken nuggets, and inaccessible healthcare have in common? They’re all Americacore.
TikTok users are spoofing videos that romanticize other cultures by referring to day-to-day aspects of American life as “Americacore.” As of Sunday, the tags #americacore and #americancore each have over 30 million views on TikTok, and the tag #Americacoreuwu has about 140,000 views.
Under the guise of celebrating “Americacore,” TikTok users are recording their trips to Target and Walmart, eating snacks like Goldfish crackers and Funfetti cookies, and using paper plates. Paired with gentle music and soft filters, the video trend mimics the way many Americans fetishize East Asian culture, but misrepresent them in “aesthetic” content.
Lifestyle influencers have long made content from visiting “unique” Korean grocery stores, for example, but to any Korean or Korean-American person, buying chips at H-Mart is about as aesthetically pleasing as buying chips at Ralph’s.
Americacore is not to be confused with Americana, though. This is not a celebration of folk music and art, but a criticism of how Americans engage with other cultures.
In one video romanticizing “Americacore,” a TikTok user pours a can of Monster Energy into a teapot emblazoned with the American flag, and serves with a Twizzler, which they refer to as “rubber pocky.”
It’s reverse Orientalism at its finest.
Americacore videos parody “kawaii” videos fetishizing East Asian cultures.
Credit: tiktok / lavender_goat
The videos poke fun at the way Americans often woefully misrepresent other cultures.
Credit: tiktok / lavender_goat
The videos are as much of critique of American norms as they are of the way Americans tend to idealize and infantilize East Asian cultures. Videos by lifestyle influencers visiting Asian grocery stores, for example, have been criticized as crossing the line between cultural appreciation and fetishization. The trend pokes fun at the absurdity of white Americans’ fascination with arbitrary aspects of East Asian food, music, and traditions.
TikTok user kinokino1226 parodied lifestyle influencers who exalt common Asian snacks as exotic by visiting her local Safeway.
“Fun fact: Americans are very patriotic,” kinokino1226 captioned her video, posing for an “aesthetic photoshoot” with American flag-wrapped grocery store flowers.
Nothing more American than visiting Safeway
Credit: tiktok / kinokino1226
TikTok users made sure to “respect vegan culture.”
Credit: TIKTOK / KINOKINO1226
With the worldwide success of the K-pop and anime industries, Asian culture is often misrepresented as a monolith rather than a diverse set of rich, individual cultures. The distillation of Asian heritage into a palatable melting pot of cute packaging, exotic skincare routines, and popular music only perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Americacore, as Vice notes, turns the fetishization of East Asia back on itself.
Ironically, as some Twitter users pointed out, other countries do romanticize American products the way Americans romanticize East Asian ones.
Before you post pictures of the “exotic” snacks you may have scored from the Asian grocery store, consider whether you’d portray Oreos and red plastic cups the same way. Those, dear reader, are simply Americacore.