At their most basic, memes sample from myriad texts to create new meaning. By recalling and refiguring texts in ways that create new messages, memes become powerful storytelling devices; the tension in their multiplicity of meanings parallels the ideological tension feminists can experience when consuming media and popular culture.
I want to sit and immerse myself in a Hollywood period drama or the latest episode of Gossip Girl without worrying about the depictions of the female characters and the underrepresentation of women behind the camera. I want to go shopping without thinking about how the advertising industry influences my purchases. My goal in this project was, therefore, to recognize, illuminate, and confront those tensions using technology.
With this in mind, the memes below are intended to guide feminists through some common gendered tropes of popular culture.
I’m watching a movie . . .
I feel objectified by oversexualized representations of women.
I feel marginalized and underrepresented in a narrative that values male agency.
I feel infantilized by a story that suggests I have no mental maturity.
I’m watching sports . . .
I feel as though strong women aren’t valued for their talent.
I’m trying to look as tough as possible.
I feel like sports stars are not held accountable for their behavior.
I’m working out . . .
I feel like the men at the gym are objectifying me.
I feel like I’m becoming less feminine with every pound I add to the bar.
I’m shopping . . .
And I feel like anything I buy will objectify me.
And I don’t know why my clothes cost so much.
And I want to take you with me.
I’m using technology . . .
And I don’t know how it works.
And I want to make more connections.
And I am unexpectedly proficient.