From Siren Eyes to The Whisper Method: Why WitchTok is Giving Me the “Ick”

The Siren Eye TikTok trend
Getty/Jerrit Clark/Getty/Gerrit Hill/TikTok: @hothighpriestess @daniellemarcan

Siren eyes are popping off on TikTok currently, garnering hundreds of thousands of views across the platform over the last few months. It’s all part of a trend called “sirenmaxxing,” in which women are encouraged to harness their “feminine gaze” to hypnotise (male) lovers.

As a beauty trend, there is nothing groundbreaking about “siren eyes.” Flick through “siren” beauty tutorials and you’ll see elongated smokey eyes, and simple liquid liner flicks, as demoed by Tiktokers like Danielle Marcan, whose tutorial has eight million views. For makeup artists, whether it’s a cat eye or a smokey eye, extending the outer third of the eye is considered flattering on most eye shapes.

@daniellemarcan you asked, i receive &lt3 #sireneyes #makeup #beauty #smokey ♬ original sound – DANIELLE

Indeed, several Twitter users have pointed out that the “Siren Eye” is kind of just a rebranded “Fox Eye.” That is, the look was heavily criticised in 2020 when Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner accentuated their almond eye shapes with “fox eye” surgical procedures, resulting in some pretty unfortunate online beauty tutorials.

Related: Why the Fox Eye Makeup Trend Is Cultural Appropriation

How is “Siren Eye” Different To Any Other Beauty Trend?

TikTok influencers are packaging the elongated eye with “Lilith” energy. 

Lilith is a mythological figure in Judaic mythology. According to this mythology, she was the first wife of Adam and was banished from the Garden of Eden for her delinquent disobedience of her husband. God stepped in and made another wife for Adam out of his rib — but Eve was also kind of a dilettante when it came to fruit-picking. Clearly, Adam had a type. 

Lilith is currently best known as an astrological house and typically represents sexual and destructive personality traits. For example, if your Lilith is in Capricorn, you could be turned on by power imbalances — the kind of person likely to have an affair with your boss. If your Lilith is in Libra, your insatiable thirst for love might mean you’re never satisfied with your partners’ demonstrations of affection. 

It’s all sounding pretty sexy so far. So why is it giving me — a lover of spooky women and eye makeup trends — the ick? 

The siren eye is being promoted by “WitchTok,” creators who form a TikTok subculture popularising everything from manifestations to crystal work.

The “siren” trend is also about more than super-slay smokey eyes. One creator instructs hopeful sirens to “raise your eyebrows, narrow your eyes and open your mouth to mimic the face you make before an orgasm.” 

Related: The Problem With TikTok’s “That Girl” Beauty Aesthetic

The Siren Eye TikTok trend
Image: TikTok @secretstofasiren

Trending “Witchtokers” like @secretsofasiren promote the siren trend with swathes of text layered over images of Bella Hadid and Alexa Demi. The captions are… kind of unhinged. One reads: “Use your heartbreak to enter your siren maneater era <3 Instead of shedding tears, you invest in yourself and now you have the skills to hold men in the palm of your hand.”

There are a few logical leaps here, did your heartbreak teach you skills to hold men in the palm of your hand? Has the “investing in yourself” happened while applying eyeliner and walking around making your best “O” face?  

Another caption reads: “Show him you’re an innocent girl, but show him a hint of your dark side…” She goes on to explain that this helps you encapsulate “the ultimate male fantasy.” Before leaping to: “To connect with this version of yourself you need to embrace yourself completely.” 

This is where #witchtok loses me completely. Witchtok is aggressively white and heterosexual and when it’s not promoting questionable courting techniques, it’s providing hacks… making more money and buying property.

@valeriafune It 100% works #whispermethod #manifestingtips #manifestinghim #manifestingqueen #manifestingadvice #makehimobsessed #manifestingsp ♬ оригинальный звук – speed songs

One #Witchtok beauty hack with 536k views involves chucking a piece of rose quartz in your makeup bag. Megan Dowling the creator explains: “you’re going to want to do it because it brings beauty, love, self-love and healing energy into your life, so by putting it near your makeup, which is something we use to make ourselves feel more beautiful, it brings all that energy to your makeup.” Megan Dowling incidentally runs a “Witches Pharmacy” where she sells — amongst other things — crystals.

Related: Everything to Know About Moon Water (the Wellness Product You Won’t Find at a Supermarket

Is WitchTok the New “That Girl”?

@hothighpriestess espousing the "Whisper Method"
Image: @hothighpriestess

In my mind, if WitchTok was a person they would be a, “I’m not like the other trends, I’m much, much worse” type.

Witchcraft has a long history, as both a spiritual practice and a method of by which women and the LGBTQI+ community have been vilified. As described by Laura Strokes, accusations of witchcraft were used in early legal systems to justify the elimination of “individuals believed to be in league with Satan and corrupting society.” These individuals spanned from Protestant Queen of England Anne Boleyn to individuals on the fringes of society. Often witchcraft was simply a shorthand for queer sexuality.

In recent times, witchcraft and associated practices have been reclaimed by LGBTQI+ community and women, as a form of alternative therapy, self-care and community bonding.

So while TikTok trends like “That Girl” and the wellness culture it represents have been critiqued for blending notions of self-care and mental wellbeing with aestheticised whiteness, thinness and wealth, I can’t help but feel more grossed out by “Witchtok”, which seems to be co-opting alternative spaces to monetise insecurities around sex, relationships and attractiveness, and making a buck while doing it.

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