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What 'cheugy' means—and 5 cheugy Austin things

Mural photos, like those taken at the I Love You So Much wall on South Congress, are cheugy, according to the @CheugLife Instagram account. (Instagram)

Are you cheugy? The term, which has been covered by the New York Times, The Cut and even Parade, refers to someone who is out of date or trying too hard to be cool. (Think of it as the new basic.)


Coined by Gaby Rasson, 23, in 2013, while she was attending Beverly Hills High School, and popularized by Hallie Cain, 24, in a viral TikTok posted March 30, the term has faced backlash, including from millennials who feel skewered by the Gen Z barb. "The Word Cheugy Is Already Cheugy," read a recent headline.

Gripes aside, cheugy (pronounced "chew-gee") may be here to stay—and has already been associated with some popular Austin activities.

1. Mural photos 

The Times explainer included a grid of examples, culled from the @CheugLife Instagram account, that included The Office-themed apparel, Pinterest and slogan mugs. Austin's "I Love You So Much" mural, located at Jo's Coffee on South Congress, was also featured.

Mural photos, according to cheugy experts, are out.

2. Certain Instagram captions

Even Instagram captions can be cheugy. (Randall Chancellor/Flickr Creative Commons)

Planning a visit to Mount Bonnell or the 360 Bridge? Taking a photo of such vistas and captioning it "views" is cheugy.

3. The millennial girlboss aesthetic 

The term girlboss emerged around 2014; seven years later, it's cheugy, according to Refinery29. What was once branded as the future of female empowerment has since been associated with failures of corporate feminism.

Austin has a number of celebrated women entrepreneurs, including Kendra Scott and Whitney Wolfe Herd, who transcend the girlboss era. Scott founded her company in 2002, long before the term entered the vernacular. Wolfe Herd left Tinder in 2014 after experiencing sexual harassment and later founded Bumble, which successfully went public earlier this year and has ambitious, post-pandemic plans.

4. Subscribing to Joe Rogan's podcast

The Austinite and extremely successful podcast host is also implicated, according to a recent Vice article explaining the various tiers of cheuginess.

The term has received pushback from some, who argue that it is misogynistic, attacking things women enjoy. But plenty of stereotypically guy things—including wall flags, tank tops and promposals—have also received the label. As Rolling Stone put it: "Misogyny is insidious and takes many forms in our culture, but making fun of someone for posting Minion memes is not one of them."

5. Golden Goose sneakers, Gucci belts and New Yorker tote bags 

Although not comprehensive, this list touches on some of the once-trendy, now-cheugy accessories one might see around town, from $500 sneakers at West Austin lunch spots, flashy designer logos on Rainey Street and the ubiquitous literary status symbol at East Austin coffee shops.

Tell us: what does cheugy mean to you? 

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A big announcement from Austonia

Howdy, and happy holidays.

I have some big news for you.

Austonia is now part of 6AM City, a fast-growing network of hyper-local newsletters across the country.

I’m proud to be telling you this, because 6AM City’s mission is very much like Austonia’s — a daily morning update on events, things-to-do and news, with an underlying mission of community building in the cities they serve.

If you’re not already subscribed, 6AM City’s Austin newsletter is called ATXtoday. One of its city editors is Laura Figi, who you’ll remember for her previous great work on Austonia’s newsletter.

I’ve been reading ATXtoday every day since it launched last year.

Starting this week, you’ll receive ATXtoday every morning and I’m confident it will become part of your daily wake up routine. Be sure to add hello@theatxtoday.com to your contact list (how to do that here).

Meantime let me thank you for your readership and support of Austonia, and convey my wishes for a great holiday season for you and those close to you.


Thank you,

Mark Dewey

Austonia CEO

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.