To Meme or Not to Meme | #socialmedia | #children

This, in turn, begs the question: Can crises be memed?

The majority of meme content has been fueled by teenagers whose coming-of-age has been accompanied by generation-defining events. As the digital media strategist Joshua Chapdelaine said in an article for Teen Vogue, memes create the “perfect vessels for high-anxiety moments when words may be difficult to find.” Processing emotions through unprecedented times can be complex, but memes alleviate that difficulty through their ability to transcend emotional boundaries.

Moreover, memes allow teenagers to openly participate in discussions regarding political and social developments. With their less intimidating nature, memes ease the process in which opinions are shared and formed. “As the memes and their narratives travel and spread, they help shape the larger cultural narrative … just as all memes, from toxic to wholesome, help create cultural narratives,” writes Aja Romano in Vox. Accessible by anyone, memes serve as the youth’s entry into becoming well-informed citizens. At a time of undeniably high sociopolitical tension, it is crucial that youth are aware of global issues; memes facilitate exactly that.

Despite seemingly lacking sophistication, memes are effectively raising awareness for a teenage audience. Just as the generation before had political cartoons, today’s youth have memes to engage in political discourse. Through this revolutionary method of communication, memes are shaping the way teens interact with the world.

Works Cited

Colombo, Charlotte. “Westerners, Please Stop With the Memes and Hot Takes on the Ukraine Crisis.” HuffPost, 7 March 2022.

Colombo, Charlotte. “Memes and War: Why People Turn to Jokes During Times of Crisis.” Teen Vogue, 3 March 2022.

Phelan, Hayley. “Elon Musk, Vladimir Putin and the Insidious Meme-Ification of War.” The New York Times, 26 March 2022.

Romano, Aja. “Reckoning With the War Meme in Wartime.” Vox, 25 Feb. 2022.

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