Move over “duckface,” there is a new selfie pose that has taken over Instagram in 2023. Featuring squinted eyes, a crumpled-up nose, and a furrowed expression that looks like you smelt something bad: meet the “scrunch face.”
For years, “duckface” was the signature, go-to expression favored by millennial selfie-takers.
The signature “duckface” pose saw millennials icons, like Kim Kardashian, suck in their cheeks and purse their lips to create a playful pout for the camera. The pose became so ubiquitous that the word duckface was added to English dictionaries in 2014.
However, according to TikToker @strawberrymilkmob, “scrunch face” is now Generation Z’s most popular pose in 2023 and has replaced the comparatively outdated millennial duckface.
In a TikTok video, that has amassed over 1.1 million views and 123,000 likes, @strawberrymilkmob says: “You know how we always go through the phases of the faces every girl makes?” She then shows how selfie-takers used to do the duckface pout for the camera.
TikToker @strawberrymilkmob then shows Generation Z users pose like in photographs now and then proceeds to do the latest selfie trend: the scrunch face.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) December 21, 2022
“This is what it is right now,” she explains.
The TikToker then shows how the “scrunch face” — which involves a person scrunching their nose, and squinting their eyes, while flashing a playful cartoonish grin for the camera.
The expression emulates the same “cute” face a person makes if they smell something bad but are also “having so much fun” at the same time.
‘You’re So Right’
Viewers overwhelmingly agreed with @strawberrymilkmob’s assessment of the scrunch face usurping duckface in terms of popularity as a selfie pose.
“You’re so right,” a viewer comments.
Another stunned social media user writes: “I didn’t even realize I was buying into this trend.”
Indeed, browsing through social media, it is clear that the scrunch face pose has become a go-to pose for Generation Z icons. The expression has been popularized by celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo, Kylie Jenner, and most unmistakeably TikTok star Addison Rae whose selfies have made her the poster girl of the scrunch face trend.
In 2020, Vox discussed the scrunch face pose in a piece about the different examples of “TikTok face” that are commonly seen in videos on the platform. The publication described the facial expression as one of many “tiny performances for the sake of comedy or cuteness, meant to add some extra flavor to a video.”
The recent popularity of the scrunch face in photography however can be linked to the trends that see Generation Z reject the highly-edited, picture-perfect visuals that they grew up seeing from their millennial counterparts.
The scrunch face trend is part of Generation Z’s shift away from taking flawless and traditionally attractive photos in favor of a more ironic and “casual Instagram” aesthetic. Younger users are more drawn towards photos that seem more candid, spontaneous, and lighthearted.
But, while Generation Z’s selfie may appear to be far more casual, their photography is no less curated than their millennial predecessors.