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Humorless, man-hating feminist unamused by misogynistic memes

By September 12, 2013 5 Comments

Misogynistic memes don’t just lurk in the terrifying depths of Reddit where Good Girl Gina and Overly Attached Girlfriend were born; they have permeated the Internet and have become an embarrassing element of contemporary pop culture.

Good Girl Gina Meme with text, "Catches you staring at her boobs, jiggles them for you."

According to the creators of Good Girl Gina, the perfect girlfriend is always willing to objectify herself according to her boyfriend’s whimsy.

Beyond the standard “make me a sandwich” jokes, sexist memes can go as far as to derogate rape and women’s service in the military.

In this particular instance, a commenter contested sexist memes in the comments, and was harshly ridiculed. Specifically, she was told the following by a commenter self-identified as the “The lone voice of reason”:

“Instead of bitching and moaning like a self rightious [sic] attention whore, try growing a damn sense of humor and make a funny poster about men if it bothers yu [sic] so much.”

In this way, the sexism doesn’t exist solely in the sphere of Internet memes; it is attaching itself to “real life” (these anonymous commenters are indeed real people) and the very real stereotype that plagues social rights advocates – our pursuit of equality is actually just humorlessness.

We can’t take a joke. If you don’t think this hilariously offensive image of a sloth whispering rapey comments into a woman’s ear is funny, then something is clearly wrong with you.

The charming anonymous commenter mentioned above adopts an eye-for-an-eye mentality. In doing so, the commenter completely misconstrues a central point of feminism, instead relying on another longstanding stereotype (feminists hate men). He justifies misogyny by suggesting women should simply retaliate. Suddenly, equality vanishes as a primary feminist goal, and we are subsequently reduced to humorless man-haters.

Bachelorette Frog Meme about unwashed hair.

Foul Bachelorette Frog is loving the single life.

So, what can we do to combat not only misogynistic memes, but also the hoards of anonymous commenters who are ready to defend them?

Foul Bachelorette Frog is a creative alternative to Foul Bachelor Frog, two unattached frogs enjoying their unhygienic bachelordom. While lady-frog might seem to be primarily interested in masturbating and avoiding laundry, her punch lines are clearly written by women, for women.

As with any meme, each individual image’s humor is hit or miss. But as a whole, Bachelorette Frog is a welcome alternative to and Rape Sloth and Good Girl Gina.

In another form of resistance to the misogynistic memes, Pinterest and Tumblr users have created feminist meme pages to fight the stereotypes being reinforced by misogynistic memes.

What are other forms of resistance can we adopt to ensure that in the future, misogynistic memes will be an embarrassing element of early Internet?

Ann Laudick is a recent graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Film and Media Studies. She is particularly interested in educating youth about the importance of media literacy to challenge problematic portrayals of women and sexuality.