“Hey Mamas” Lesbians, Explained

Lots of you have been asking about what a “Hey Mamas” lesbian is, which tells me one of these things is true: You are kicking it with queer babes who are in their very early 20s, or you are spending copious amounts of time on TikTok. Both are fine and you’ll get zero judgement from me, but if you’re too embarrassed to drop a question in the comment section because you’re fearful of being roasted, I got you.

Ok so, wtf is a Hey Mamas lesbian?

The Shelli Definition:

Hey Mamas (ˈhā ma·​maz) — A cultural appropriating (usually non-black) wannabe fuck boi with access to wifi who was probably born after 1998.

slang //

synonyms: hotep cishet men, fuckboy(i)s, wasteman

“Hey mamas, I’m just sending you a voice note to let you know you looked mad beautiful in your IG stories this morning and I — (voice note gets cut off because a call comes through from one of the other girls they just sent this exact same voice note to and now they are panicking because they aren’t actually bout that life)”

I have my own theories on the origin story of the hey mamas archetype, which I will get into, but let’s start with where they first popped up — on TikTok.

Last year, a bunch of queer babes (who just so happen to fall into the Gen Z category) started using TikTok as thirst trap city. Boomerangs were no longer sufficient to grab the attention of whoever it was they were trying to kiss, or in some cases fuck — but with some VERY questionable finger movements they probably learned via the app. Anyway, in the crowd of other queer babes on the app under the then-popular “Gayngels” hashtag, there were the hey mamas. The creator in the video above, Emily Gracin, has mastered mocking the hey mamas on the social media platform and beyond. Clad in jerseys and licking their lips like they just discovered LL Cool J, lip syncing along to lyrics they have no business singing to while getting way too close to the camera. I believe they pulled from stereotypical cishet male POC mannerisms, gave it a dash of whatever this 🥺🥺 means, slapped on a bandana, and BOOM — Hey mamas was born!

If you end up on the hey mamas side of TikTok, take a look at all the hashtags they use, and a lot of the time you’ll see stud. It’s bothersome and worth pointing out because most of these Hey Mamas are white. Usually, I’m all for younger generations just living their life and being cringy on social media because I did — Shelli was a scene girl for a minute, y’all. But what I’m not for is queer youths (I been rewatching New Girl) feigning ignorance all in the name of a thirst trap.

We know that any non-black lesbians should not be in any way shape or form out here calling themselves studs. Right? Right. If you don’t (which first of all, what?) educate yourself, treat yourself to a JSTOR membership, and get to learning. Afterward, if any of your little cousins or siblings are out here doing this on the TikTok and are non-black, let them know how not okay that is. While you’re at it, maybe have a chat about the difference between cultural appropriation vs. appreciation? It’s very possible to set thirst traps and not be messy — I’ve seen it.

How to spot a Hey Mamas lesbian

  • First of all, lots of lip biting, and I mean lots.
  • Licking their lips like there ain’t a tube of chapstick left in the gotdamn world.
  • High messy buns all day. What’s that? No bun, no problem baby girl — just look for the person visiting snapback city BUT make sure it’s either barely sitting on their head or at least turned to the back.
  • Uses baby girl and hey mamas interchangeably — gotta mix it up my queen (insert quick open mouth chuckle here).
  • In their AirPods is any song that says “Nigga” at least three times, but don’t worry — 3/5 of them won’t say it.
  • Are they on FaceTime? If so, the head is on lean (the buns are heavy) and the half-smile is out to play.
  • Winks seven times in a four-minute conversation.
  • Makes more hand gestures than Ma$e and Puffy during the BadBoy era combined.
  • Style icons include any rapper from the years 2003-2007.

Final thoughts

Maybe you’ve realized you already knew what a Hey Mamas was, you just had another name for it in your group of homies.

Can it be cringe, yeah? But honestly, some of the shit we all did was. The difference here is that there is queerness involved, and although I do think the hey mamas lesbian is another queer stereotype to add to the ever-growing list, I don’t want us to be quick to attach the word “phase” to the people who are taking part in it — when that word meets any element of queerness things can get messy quickly. Also, It might not even be a phase, these people could level up in the next few years and become your run-of-the-mill dyke who can’t communicate and makes accessories their whole personality – WHO KNOWS!

I go in between hating it and not giving a fuck because guess what — it is not meant for me. I am grown, and the demographic to be or want a hey mamas lesbian is not one I fit in, they are like 10 years younger than me and mostly white so, in the end, I do not care.

So, let these hey mamas live and just keep laughing at their TikToks at 3 am. Also, most of them are probably sweet little simps anyway but, that’s a whole other article now isn’t it?

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Shelli Nicole

Shelli Nicole is a Detroit-raised, Chicago-based writer. Her work has appeared in Bustle, HelloGiggles & Marie Claire. She is terrified of mermaids and teenagers equally.

Shelli has written 260 articles for us.


  1. A few years back I met a woman from Tinder was very much into doing this, but on Snap & FB(this was when Tik Tok just changed its name). She wasn’t white, so she’d speak in two languages(Spanish & English) trying to impress the girls she was sending it to. She was doing this while still stuck on her ex.

  2. Wow. I’m just glad that was a parody video. Hoping not to encounter it in the wild, although I’m afraid I may have played rugby with the 2004 non tiktok version of a hey mamas lesbian.

  3. OK, so the one thing I’m not clear on is if these young lesbians self identify as Hey Mamas lesbians or if it’s something other people call them.

    Like I know men who are dude bros but none of them would call themselves that.

  4. As someone on the ASS spectrum (and a non-native English speaker): I have no clue what a fuckboy is. Or hotep. Or wastemen. And a lot of the other terminology I frequently encounter here. All of the descriptions are always so vague to me. Is there any chance of an article explaining slang for beginners? That would be super helpful for me and much appreciated.

  5. this whole article and the comment section are an absolute treasure. thank you for the deep belly chuckles and the education!

    (signed a millennial queer who has no idea what’s happening anymore)

  6. Loved this, the humor and education. Didn’t love seeing that all end using “simp” as an insult… another word that’s a but problematic, no? And also something discussed as misappropriation of AAVE and problematic.

  7. This was hilarious and educational at the same time. I didn’t like how it all ended with “simp” being used as a slur… Isn’t there another word that’s a little problematic? Also, something that has been addressed as a misappropriation of AAVE and an issue.

  8. As a Mexican who grew up with younger nieces and nephews, we call the younger kiddos (by the older people) mamas (meaning little mommy, for the girls) and papas (meaning little daddy, for the boys). However, mamá and papá are the correct spellings to mean mommy and daddy, respectively. Papuchón means pimp daddy, kind of like mamacita means hot mommy, all terms of endearment, of course. Tatas is another term of endearment, for grandfather, but perhaps we could use this for our non-binary/genderqueer family members.

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