Former horse girls, southern leftists and members of the LGBTQ community on TikTok are reclaiming country music and are also showing that, obviously, people in rural areas contain multitudes. The "y'allternative" hashtag is for everyone who's ever wondered if a country boy can love an emo girl.
There is nothing wrong with country music, and a lot of it is very good. But the country music industry is still woefully behind the times, and there is still a stereotype that people who like country music are conservative. Broadly speaking, the southern culture that mainstream country music celebrates is alienating to marginalized people in the south. If you've grown up listening to this music but are alienated by the culture, the TikTok hashtag "y'allternative" is here for you.
In the y'allternative tag, southern leftists, southern members of the LGBTQ community, and everyone who grew up riding horses and working on the farm but went goth somewhere along the way are celebrating the music they grew up with. This includes making playlists for each other, telling Republicans to fuck off, and playing the banjo on the back of a pickup truck:
It's one part appreciation of where you grew up, and one part reclaiming something that rejected you. Many of these TikToks are directed towards people who stereotype the south or rural areas, or think of them as a monolith. These TikToks explain that associating a southern accent with being dumb is just classism. More than that, country music doesn't belong to a particular group of people, no matter how badly the country music industry wants to believe otherwise. I don't care who you are, Maddie and Tae's "Girl in a Country Song" slaps. Shania Twain whips.
It's not like people who live in the south aren't also marginalized, or that there aren't southerners that have leftist politics, or, god forbid, like to wear black lipstick. These kinds of people are everywhere, and this TikTok hashtag is giving them the opportunity to meet each other and make elaborate inside jokes.