What does 'hot rodent men' mean and why is it controversial?

What does 'hot rodent men' mean and why is it controversial?
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'Hot rodent men' is the new phrase circling the internet for fawning Gen Zers – but what does it actually mean?

Social media and various media birthed the term, with Dazed describing hot rodent men as "usually more svelte than muscular, with more pinched, angular features."

Essentially – and to put it more bluntly – it's men who resemble features of a certain animal group. And yep, you guessed it: rodents.

Hot rodent men are getting all the attention right now, good and bad. On the Today Show, panellists described it as being "the sexy rat man."

Understandably, many people are calling it "cruel" to unsolicitedly label A-listers such as Barry Keoghan, Josh O'Connor, Mike Faist and Jeremy Allen White as "hot rodents."

All the while, others have called it "white mediocrity" given that all of the men are white.

Model, actor and Down the Drain author Julia Fox also highlighted that she wished "women were afforded the same luxury," which opened up another can of worms about the double standards of body image – online, in the media and in society.

Another person reiterated this sentiment, writing: "If this is hot, can we stop body/age shaming women now then!? Cause wtf."

Meanwhile, a third called it out for simply being "male privilege."

"'Dad bods,' 'rodent men,' and other ways we elevate mediocrity or plain old normalcy in men while still holding women to unrealistic standards and perpetuating female body dysmorphia," they wrote.

Over on X/Twitter, commentary also flooded the timeline:

This isn't the first time men have been compared to animals, with partners being compared to golden retrievers on TikTok.

In a more positive spin that doesn't rely on physical appearance, the 'golden retriever boyfriend' describes someone who is loyal, openly affectionate and supportive.

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