The rise of ‘Big Dick Energy’
Through the ebbs and flows of viral meme culture, sometimes the internet strikes gold. And so goes the story of “big dick energy,” a term I will now never be able to remove from my vocabulary.
The true definition of “big dick energy” is not as explicit as the name might suggest. To have BDE is a sort of confidence without the cockiness (pun kind of intended). Big dick energy is an essence one gives off effortlessly and honestly and has nothing to do with what’s going on between someone’s legs — you don’t even need a penis to exude BDE.
Alex Abad-Santos and Constance Grady published a piece for Vox in June outlining the timeline of BDE and explained, that contrary to what the name suggests, when it comes to BDE, size doesn’t matter.
“BDE is not about brandishing large, flapping genitalia when someone insults you, or constantly proving to people that you possess a BD. BDE is the complete opposite. It’s the self-confidence to know that a colossal endowment isn’t a measurement of one’s value. BDE might stem from having a literal BD, but it’s not dependent upon any sort of genitalia,” wrote Abad-Santos and Grady.
The entire trend started with a Twitter meme, as do many of the lasting cultural milestones we’ve been seeing more and more these days. So much of our language has originated through its exposure on social media. Terms like “that’s the tea, sis” that started as phrases used just in POC and queer communities have become a larger part of popular culture throughout the years due to online circulation. Twitter is the perfect breeding grounds for funny, trending phrases, which is how BDE came to be.
For those well versed in the history of big dick energy, they’d attribute the saying to none other than Pete Davidson. Unless you live under a rock, you know that Davidson is engaged to Ariana Grande… a relationship that left the entertainment industry shocked and celebrity news media outlets with evergreen content. The couple has become notorious for their overt affection on social media.
One day, when Grande was answering fan questions after the release of her Sweetener album tracklist, a fan asked an innocuous question about the length of the album’s interlude which just so happens to be named “pete davidson.”
The fan tweeted her asking “How long is pete?” and then clarified this question with a second tweet: “OH AS IN THE INTERLUDE NOT AS IN… ANYWAY.” Grande took this as her chance to joke around with her fans as she often does during these Twitter sprees. She responded: “like 10 inches ? ….oh fuck…. i mean ….like a lil over a minute,” in the now deleted tweet. This started not only as an enthusiastic uproar in her fandom of “Arianators” but also started one of the biggest trends of the summer.
People found themselves analyzing Pete Davidson’s aesthetic and behavior to justify this (probably exaggerated) factoid Grande chose to share. One Twitter user, @babyvietcong posted, “Pete davidson is 6’3 with dark circles, exudes big dick energy, looks evil but apparently is an angel, and loves his girl publicly the only thing wrong w him is that he’s a scorpio but anyway…..id married him within a month too,” a tweet that gained immense traction across the platform. Davidson’s self-deprecating humor, laid back style, and the shameless love for Grande are all aspects that allude to his own essence of BDE, although his astrological sign psychoanalysis is a conversation for another day.
There’s no way to know who exactly first coined the term “big dick energy,” but what I do know is that I can’t stop saying it. I find that this trend doesn’t discriminate, and even though the term itself could lead some to think otherwise, BDE redefines the meaning of masculinity. A term that seems like it relates an anatomical feature to power is actually proving that power comes in the way one carries themself. What I love most about this term is the surprising inclusivity that exists within it. Women, men, and humans of any gender can have big dick energy. BDE all goes back to confidence and self-awareness, qualities that everyone from all backgrounds and identities can benefit from and should be praised for.
Alexis Morillo is a senior Journalism major who, according to a Buzzfeed quiz she took during her 8 a.m., has 85% big dick energy.