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A recent ELL question contains a catchphrase which is utterly novel to me.

Boys rule, girls drool

Wanting to know more, I searched online and found a female variant.

Girls rule and boys drool

The meaning here, interestingly, appears to be quite different. Girls who are physically attractive make boys drool because their mouths, figuratively speaking, are open in admiration.

Not being American and not remembering if this slogan was used in the UK during the 1970s or 80s, I posted a comment asking @James K which version was the older: the boys rule or girls rule.

Unfortunately, I never got a reply, all the comments were swiftly deleted, so here I am asking on EL&U.

The original slogan, from what I could gather, appears to be the "girls rule". The earliest instance in print I found was October 1997 from the magazine American Motorcyclist Oct 1997

Fifteen-year-old Stephanie “Stevie” Welch is waiting while her father readies her Yamaha YZ125. A large banner spanning the front of her family's race transporter takes a good-natured jab at her male competition: “#43, Stevie Welch–Girls Rule, Boys Drool.”

  1. Which slogan came first: "Girls rule, the boys drool" or "Boys rule, the girls drool"? What is its origins?
  2. Does inverting the gender change the meaning significantly?
  3. Is either one used in the UK or in Australia?
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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Sep 15, 2019 at 1:37
  • Any evidence that this is a common phrase? I searched Google ngram with wildcars but it didn't really turn up anything resembling the boys / girls drool, let alone the whole phrase.
    – JJJ
    Sep 15, 2019 at 17:59
  • @JJJ I've not heard it used myself, but if it's commonly heard and used in schoolyards it doesn't surprise me that its appearance is comparatively rare in books. But the simple fact that no one has said the slogan is unfamiliar, see ELL's relevant post, and no one else on EL&U is pretty telling. I also note that it appears on a Reddit page (reddit.com/r/unpopularopinion/comments/9zsx44/…) and also note the info about Amazon selling merchandise with that slogan.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 16, 2019 at 7:32
  • @JJJ By the way, what difference would it have made if the slogan was comparatively rare? is asking a question about an uncommon catchphrase off-topic? Is that why you voted to close it? A question that shows effort, research and is about contemporary English. What is unclear about it? Could you please explain?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 16, 2019 at 7:34
  • 1
    And should you have spent more time on Politics.SE you may have been more familiar with former school pupils inventing things about their time at school to further their interests now. Ranging from the fields of wheat to erotic encounters with pigs, or as they say in politics (Y,PM) "It is characteristic of committee decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member's recollection differs from every other member's.", alas, we have no minutes.
    – JJJ
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:19

1 Answer 1

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Which slogan came first: "Girls rule the boys drool" or "Boys rule the girls drool"?

From Google Books:

Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul: Doubleday, 1994 - Social Science

Found inside - Page 11 ... I watched an enthusiastic little boy leap out of the swimming pool and run shrieking around its perimeter, shouting “Boys rule, girls drool!”

And again from Google Books:

American Motorcyclist - Oct 1997 (your citation)

Found inside - Page 36 Fifteen-year-old Stephanie "Stevie" Welch is waiting while her father readies her Yamaha YZ125. A large banner span- ning the front of her family's race transporter takes a good-natured jab at her male competition: "#43, Stevie Welch - Girls Rule, Boys Drool."

So technically ( by a couple of years), boys rule girls drool wins in earliest usage, acknowledging the limitations of simple google book searches.

Are their meanings different? Am I right in surmising that both catchphrases are politically incorrect nowadays?

Yes they are different in that in one saying, boys rule the roost and in the other saying the girls rule. Depending on one's position in life, vulnerability ( say a politician v. a comic ) etc ... one would use with caution.

Is either one used in the UK or in Australia?

As a native speaker of AmE, I cannot answer this question

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  • See also Bulletin, volume 57 (1995): "As Nick writes, 'we've taken advice from the famous Prescott (“81, but good enough to have been '83 if he only waited a bit) family motto—boys drool—girls rule.' With the two beautiful daughters, Maria & Nick must feel like the king and queen."
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 14, 2019 at 23:56
  • I've modified the second question, it doesn't begatively affect your answer, only the quotation you cited.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 15, 2019 at 6:44

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