Is Gender-Flipping The Most Important Meme Ever? There’s an old analogy about boiling a frog alive.
If you drop poor Froggy into a pot full of hot water he’ll jump right out again, the story goes; but start with cool water and heat it slowly, and the temperature will rise so gradually that he won’t notice until it’s too late. He got used to 29 degrees, and so didn’t register when it turned into 30 degrees; he got used to 30, and then it was 31, and so on. (This is not science, by the way. Do not try to boil any frogs to make a point.) Now, imagine Monsieur Grenouille had a friend, waiting in a pot full of cold water next to the stove.
Monsieur brushes her off with typically Gallic dismissiveness: “Mon oeil! In the wise words of Community’s Dean Pelton, sometimes we don’t see our own patterns until they’re laid out in front of us. That’s what Dustin Hoffman is talking about in that clip that did the rounds last week. “That was never a comedy for me,” says a very teary Hoffman at the end of the clip. Gender-Flip The Images. Idiot Nerd Girl Has A Posse: Taking Back The Meme. Meet Idiot Nerd Girl.
Occasionally, Idiot Nerd Girl makes a stupid beginner’s error, or gets caught in a lie about the extent of her involvement in geek (I’m using the terms “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably here – we can fight this one out later) culture. More often, she makes the mistake of professing enthusiasm for something without being intimately familiar with or expertly skilled at it, or while approaching it from a nonstandard angle, or just flat-out liking the wrong thing.
Her defenders will tell you that she is a response to “popular kids” who adopt nerd semiotics and styles in an attempt to ride along the geek chic trend without the thumb calluses to back up their Mega Man t-shirts. They’ll insist that the “girl” part is incidental, even when the characteristics and media they’re mocking are blatantly gendered, even when someone inevitably mentions the looming Fake Geek Girl menace. There is no Idiot Nerd Boy meme. I hate the Idiot Nerd Girl meme. Good Girl Gina Loves Anal, Cooking Pot Roasts, and Watching Her Man Play Video Games. We should flood quickmeme and memebase with actually hilarious, non-humiliating Good Girl Gina memes - some femme, some neutral.
Good guy Greg gets a lot of neutral stuff like "Borrows $5. Actually pays you back" which is totally something Good Girl Gina could do. But fine, I'll take on womanly funny issues. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Ran out of shampoo Doesn't "borrow" from roommates for weeks on end* Sees a sign at public bathroom asking customers not to flush tampons down toilets Gets Drunk. Meet Your New Privilege-Denying Dude. The Day Privilege Denying Dude Crowdsourced Our Rage. Ah, Privilege Denying Dude.
Never has a meme captivated my heart so! Never have I figured out how to generate a meme before, Privilege Denying Dude! And yet, it is done. I am yours! All yours! Because I am a sucker for food-snobbery jokes, Privilege Denying Dude. Some were witty! Some were very literal and specific! Some stuck to the eternal verities! And then, the Others came. And it became impossible to tell the real Privilege Denying Dudes from their parody counterparts!
They came to insist that everybody who made a Privilege Denying Dude meme was white, despite the fact that several people of color were actually visibly credited for their work! And they just kept coming. People keep talking about how The Next Wave Of Feminism Is Online Feminism, and honestly, if that is the case? No. And from this fact springs Privilege Denying Dude. Home of the LOL-Feminist. Manarchist Explosion: Barely a day goes by that I don’t visit the Tumblr Manarchist Ryan Gosling.
The site features photos of actor Ryan Gosling with reader submitted quips—captions often derived from personal experience—such as my favorite: “Hey Girl, I conflate feminism with fascism because both threaten me.” The humor of Manarchist Ryan Gosling is that, anarchist or not, most activists know the type. He could be a Bro-gressive, a Mactivist or a member of the Manguard. The problem isn’t the ideology, but rather the contradiction embodied by a person claiming to fight for liberation, yet perpetuating sexism, heteronormativity and cis-sexism so overtly he resembles a cartoon. And, though I giggle every time I see a new MRG submission, something is missing. Meetings are often a great bastion of subtle manarchism, particularly in regards to space. Manarchism also rears its head when someone—typically not a dude—calls out patriarchal behavior only to be met with resistance. First make space. The Crisis of Authenticity: Symbolic Violence, Memes, Identity.
We are currently facing a cultural crisis of authenticity.
Since the early 2000s, we have seen the concept “authenticity” slowly move from margins to mainstream (Reynolds, 2011), encapsulated by feverish celebrity gossip surrounding breakout stars like Lana Del Rey, personified through the rise of the urban hipster as folk devil (those self-professed taste arbiters of cool who ride “fixies” through the urban landscape, collect obscure records, and wear vintage clothes), and exemplified in Web 2.0 and the rise of social media (especially curatorial media like LastFM and more recently, Pintrest), where we are all now encouraged to share, like, and make public pronouncements of our personal tastes. In the contemporary zeitgeist, it seems that we are all “grasping for authenticity” in an attempt to make our lives seem more important, substantial, and relevant (Jurgenson, 2011). Conflicts of taste become conflicts of status in the digital commons, with individuals acting as taste arbiters.