LOS ANGELES — While TikTok is known for its goofy videos and fast-paced choreography, a group of unexpected stars have taken over the app: Latino dads.
What You Need To Know
- Latino dads are making appearances on TikTok showcasing their goofy side
- These TikTok videos defy stereotypes of the machista father
- Their growing presence on the app shows a cultural shift within immigrant families
- The content highlights the narrative of Latino men as the traditional breadwinners but honors them in a modern way
But, these Tik Tokers aren’t interested in their likes and views, their cameos are solely for their kids. LA Times reporting intern, Tomás Mier, who is Latino, felt inspired to write this article while searching the explore page on TikTok and because of an experience with his own dad.
“There was an issue with my bed and he was fixing the bed frame and I just started recording him doing his construction work and I acted like I was interviewing him. And he just started speaking in English, my dad isn’t a fluent speaker, so he was being funny with it. So I posted it and the likes skyrocketed and I realized that this is what people wanted to see,” Mier said.
From dads strutting in heels and a crop top to dads joining in on skits to dads jokingly swearing in their accented English, Latino dads are racking up likes and views from users who see their own families reflected in the short clips.
These TikTok dads defy the stereotype of the 'machista' Latino father, and their growing presence on the app shows a cultural shift with immigrant families, according to Alexandro Gradilla, a professor of Chicano Studies at Cal State Fullerton. Twenty-two-year-old Wendy Rangel of Santa Ana often films her father, a natural jokester originally from the Mexican state of Baja California, because he doesn’t mind making himself the butt of a joke on a social media app that he barely understands.
If it makes his daughter happy, he’ll do it.
TikToker Vicente Avila, a 46-year-old immigrant father of three known on the app as “Vinny the Twister,” has more than 1.5 million followers and is known for his signature phrases, “See you later, alligator!” “Pshht!” and “Check it out!” He was one of the first Latino dads to go viral on TikTok.
He often posts videos with his kids doing different skits. There’s one skit with his twins called “parents favorite kid,” and in that skit, the son gets preferential treatment over the daughter and people can relate to it.
“Sometimes Latino dads are expected to be machistas or very hyper-masculine and it really seems like they’re changing it up in order to relate with their kids and have fun,” Mier added.
For Avila, his videos have allowed him to have a close relationship with his children —something that he never has with his own father in his native town of Tala, Jalisco, in Mexico.
“My parents were always busy working and more worried about what they bring home for dinner,” Avila said. “I felt like I never had that connection when I was young,” Avila said.
The app had allowed him to break the barriers of raising kids the old fashion way and instead use social media to better connect with the youth.
There have been mixed reviews to Mier’s article, where some people say they don’t even picture their fathers doing these types of videos, while others feel inspired to record their dads to show off their funny side. Doing these types of videos literally lets dads catch a break and embrace their silly side without fear of being judged.
“There are some videos that pay tribute to the dad’s hard-working nature. Kids dress up as their dads going to work or mimic their dad’s work outfits. The dad comes home to see their kids wearing his outfit, after a long day with a special song in the background, tapping into the message that they work hard for their family. It’s a wonderful way for kids and dads to show that they love each other,” Mier said.