What Does Gatekeeping Mean On TikTok?

In the age of the internet, the digital world has become its own virtual black hole of experiences that also comes with its language. We've come a long way from "LOL" and "wyd," basic computerized terminology that can be traced as far back as the 1980s (via BBC). The new generation of TikTok has created a language of their own that is nearly unrecognizable away from the screens IRL. If you've been scrolling through the Gen Z viral videos, you may find yourself repeating TikTok sounds back to your friends in person, hoping they've come across the same audios. The TikTok realm has truly become a rabbit hole of digital experiences with assigned meaning to words that can only exist in the virtual space.


Like all social media platforms, fashion influencers and creators have created their own sphere of influence on the app. Along with their lookbook stylings and OOTD also comes their trendy lingo. If your favorite influencer says she won't gatekeep, she's the one to follow, and we'll tell you why.

The influencer game is changing

Gatekeeping, not to be confused with gaslighting, is defined as a group or individual seizing control of information, goods, or services with a certain amount of power (via Sociology Dictionary). Traditionally this terminology has been used to describe political power or large organizations that distribute information, so it's ironic in a way that youngsters on Tiktok have taken back the word and rebranded it with an air of comedy for their benefit.


Up until recently, being an influencer meant living what seemed like an idealized and mysteriously perfect life. Rarely were the secrets to being a digital nomad, having a perfect wardrobe, or building a digital career ever fully explained. Somehow the very content creators we idolized for years had kept their online fame and lifestyles a secret with the occasional YouTube explanations and tutorials. Now, as viewers, we require them to tell all with TikTokers virtually screaming in the comments, "Don't gatekeep sis, where is the skirt from?" Non-gatekeeping is seen now as a massive asset to online creators and storytellers.

Be a trendsetter, not a gatekeeper

Though it may have come from fashion influencers giving all the tea on trendy outfits, other TikTokers are learning about the positives of not gatekeeping. Influencer Nicole Kauffman, with over 600k followers, dropped her video on how to make a Media Kit for others to learn how she makes money as an influencer. Her caption, "no gatekeeping here," prompted users to ask even more questions in the comments about how to become a money-making influencer.


Gone are the days of holding onto the digital secrets that made a video go viral, and here are the days of democratic information sharing. Could we be in the golden age of social media, where anyone can be an influencer? The Tiktok algorithm surely helps with its Russian roulette-style platform that can make anyone a star overnight. Creator @shutuptiara said it best when her video on the topic went viral after saying, "Why be a gatekeeper when you can be a trendsetter?" We totally agree, Tiara.