Feminism and Meme Culture

As we discussed in class memes and their usage are becoming more and more popular with the rise of technology and media culture. Originally in Patrick Davidson’s article “The Language of internet Memes”, Richard Dawkins determines memes were a behavior of an organism and furthermore cultural ideas or behavior that is passed along. Due to the rise of the Internet the term meme is a division of the original meaning, these memes are ones that are spread virally via the Web and often are replicated, changed and passed on. As stated in the reading, “an Internet meme is a piece of culture, typically a joke, which gains influence through online transmission”. Memes take on many forms and express ideas, opinions, and creativity, often communicated through a picture short video or words that are frequently humorous. Internet memes are unique in the sense that they spread virally and often times do not identify their original creator due to their ever-changing form. This sense of anonymity is what allows the freedom to create and express concepts without any backlash. Furthermore the use of memes has become so inherently popular that today we use them as a form of discourse to express how we feel about a certain topic, or to express what we would life to say.

Internet memes provide a means of cultural expression we utilize these to share thoughts and ideas. The most commonly used form of a meme is the emoji, which are utilized in conversation to express emotions towards a topic. We discussed in class how memes have become a form of rhetoric in the upcoming presidential election. These memes have given people a way to feel involved in something they may otherwise not have much connection to. Often times we use them to illustrate political, social and economic issues going on. One example that seems to get a lot of attention from memes is feminism. Feminism is both a political and social situation that is always under a microscope; through memes people can express their feelings with out being overly involved. During the current presidential election I believe that these types of media have spiked due to the candidates. The article written by Nathan Jurgenson explains that memes allow us to keep an “ironic distance” from the issues at hand. When he said this he meant that memes offer a component of humor to an otherwise serious situation and permit us to speak more openly without a great deal of criticism. With the use of these online phenomenon’s people are able to bring up topics in a way that is easily understood while at the same time not be taken too seriously. By using memes individuals can identify with different ideals and feel like they are a part of a community or group. Regarding the topic of feminism, which is a very serious topic, memes allow for differing opinions to be shared. The images, videos and short phrases offer a lighter side to the topic. Rather then ranting on Facebook or tumbler about a topic we are able to share their views briefly with their followers. The fact is that memes regarding feminism have been around long before the Internet, with the rise of the Internet meme we have seen a spike in sharing, altering, and reposting and therefore more and more ideas are surfacing.


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