What is an Eshay and Why Are Our Kids Obsessed with Them?

What is an Eshay???

If you are anything like me you are shaking your head right now saying, “What the Fuck is an Eshay?”  Yep, I am hearing you. In my day I think they were the kids we referred to as stoners or maybe even a thug?

According to the Urban Dictionary an Eshay is usually a white skinny male who likes to think they are a “Gangster”.

They usually walk around in polo shirts or puffer jackets, baggy shorts or tracksuit pants, Nike TNs or similar air force shoes and usually wear brands such as Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas etc. Usually poor as fuck and waste their money on weed.

My kids tell me they usually wear bum bags too. WTF?! Now I can’t look at anyone wearing a bum bag anymore without wondering if they are an “Eshay”.

Eshays pick Fights and Cause Trouble

True Eshays like to pick fights and cause trouble, you know, real gangster style.

One Dad told A Current Affair that his understanding of Eshays was that they liked to instigate fights.

“And they wear designer clothing, carry bum bags, speak a certain way, some of them even carry knives,” he said.

David contacted A Current Affair after his child came home from school and showed him a video that appeared to show a violent attack on two innocent children by teens in their own age bracket.

“I’ve heard recent stories of Eshays at school pinning kids up against the wall and assaulting them, and out of view of CCTV,” David said.

There have been numerous videos and images posted online of their acts of violence, theft and drug use.

Other photos and videos show teens posing alongside smashed bus windows, with bottles of alcohol, and even riding on the backs of trains.

Bond University criminologist and former police officer Terry Goldsworthy said an Eshay was “just a little wannabe gangster”.

“They’re just bullies and just cowards and ultimately criminals, because they’re committing criminal acts,” he said.

What is an Eshay

Not all Eshays are Bad

I think most kids are just wanna be Eshays trying to go for the “2 cool kool for skewl” attitude. Hence why our kids think it’s so great. (Although “cool”, is definitely not a COOL thing to say HA!)

Picture a teenager wearing all black with TN’s and a bumbag to store their cigarette packets. (Or packets of bubble gum most likely.)

Normally, the type of lad to be classified as an Eshay are those ones who want to portray themselves as the outcast of society, toughened from a cruel and harsh childhood where they had to learn to survive on the streets.

But in reality, most of them come from an extremely privileged background, and the toughest thing they’ve done is probably graffiti a train station wall and get high on marijuana at a party.

The Habitat of the Eshay

Eshays have long been around Sydney and are now reportedly branching out into other areas across the nation. Eshays are said to have spread from Sydney’s inner-city graffiti scene in the 1980s through Housing Commission estates and out into the suburbs, which understandably is leaving parents worried their children want to emulate a dangerous subculture.

Where Eshays once predominantly came from disadvantaged backgrounds their ethos is now more mainstream and widely promoted on social media.

Dr Terry Goldsworthy, Associate Professor of Criminology at Bond University said eshays had become prominent in the past seven or so years.

‘Like any subculture there are influencers on social media,’ the one time detective inspector said. ‘It’s monkey see, monkey do.

‘A few years ago I’d never heard the term eshay, but I think social media has something to do with it.’

He says it will soon be replaced with another culture. ‘Like any subculture, today’s eshay will be tomorrow’s nerd,’ Dr Goldsworthy said.

But today’s Australia Eshay will be found in the following locations:

  • The local skate park
  • Train Stations
  • Public Parks
  • Shopping Centres
  • Hanging out in the main street
  • Rebel Sport or Sportspower

How To Spot An Eshay

Their Designer Wardrobe

Eschay’s have expensive taste when it comes to fashion.  Lookout for the striped shirts from Polo Ralph Lauren, Nautica, or Tommy Hilfiger; track pants or baggy sports shorts; and Nike TNs, Shox, or Airmaxes.

Think of the Eshay wardrobe as ‘Cashed up bogans’.

The Eschay Slang Language

Eshay’s have a way of talking. If you pass an Eshay you might overhear a conversation that sounds a little like the following:

Eshay 1: “Oi lad I stopped some lad down the train station yesterday.”

Eshay 2: “Oh nooo s**t brah! Ya roll him?”

Eshay 1: “Oh yeah brah of course, I swear I was like one second away from shanking him.”

Eshay 2: “Yeah brah same bro.”

They also use pig Latin to change words like sweet or chill to ‘eetsway’ or ‘illchay’.

Bum bag – Be alarmed if your child asks for a bum bag for their next birthday.

Red flags: Change in behaviour, aggressive manner/anger, change in friendship group, Sleep disturbances, Withdrawal, Self harm.

Don’t panic! Knowledge is key

As with anything, knowledge is power. Don’t panic if your kid wants a Ralph Lauren Polo next time you go shopping, but it might be a good idea to have a chat with them, familiarise yourself with the latest trend and be aware of a few of the red flags you should watch out for if you notice any changes in your child’s behaviour.

It is also a perfect time to chat to your kids about the dangers of drugs and peer pressure. Reachout.com has some great resources to help.

What is an Eshay and Why Are Our Kids Obsessed with Them? | Stay at Home Mum