Memes are a central part of internet culture. Many people are reliant on meme pages for their daily dose of dopamine. They provide humorous views on current events, celebrities, and everything in between. But, memes are much more than just a source of laughs for our day-to-day lives. Memes are a basis for cultural, political, and social aspects of society today, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock.
I mean our use of social media has definitely risen in the past few years. Compared to a decade ago, the use of social media and the internet is much more prominent, especially with Gen-Z. Most school assignments are done online, and continues to be the case with routines like chatting with friends and getting educated on real-world issues. As simple as it sounds, memes can create unity. The jokes resonate with the mass, which in turn brings them together.
Additionally, memes aid the spread of social trends. People now have a new way of communicating, which can share their opinions and vent emotions. They can get educated on the realities that different people share. By sharing our stories, we can even end the stigma surrounding racial inequalities. Now, memes are not seen as outlets for news and information (at least not yet). So, they can’t be credited for spreading “fake news”. It’s important to make a conscious effort to research on your own as well, but memes are a way to spread these issues and have fun at the same time.
As writer Ayesha Habib put it best, “This is the same sentiment Gen Z has adopted: embracing the absurdity of the times by making memes about it.” And it’s not hard to see how or why. Gen Z faces a lot of uncertain futures: climate change, mass shootings, and racial injustice, all just barely scratching the surface. Memes are a method of coping, which works well in relieving stress for most. Now, some people may argue that memes degrade the seriousness of issues. While it may be true, I argue that being able to turn the chaos we live in into a form of humor is something to applaud. I mean, when have we ever laughed about the negativity in our lives? Most people tend to focus on the negative more than the positive; it’s a universal truth. But, accepting these flaws and making jokes about them is something we could all learn from Gen Z.
In fact, UC Berkeley has established a course on “meme studies,” which is available to all students. The course is basically what you would expect; having discussions on memes, creating them, and explaining how impactful they are. Memes are quickly becoming the foundation of how students build relationships and learn about the world. In a few years, memes may possibly be how companies advertise their services.
Memes are a form of art. Art that can make people laugh, have fun, and destress. They help us understand information that may be too hard to read, and educate us on realities other people face. So instead of rejecting the idea of memes, making them to be a “bad influence” on kids, we can help their growth.
Ben Timm and Emma Meyers. "Gen Z Culture Defined by Memes." 08 Jan. 2021. Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
Habib, Ayesha. "The Philosophy of Meme Culture." 19 Mar. 2020. Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
Ledbetter, Caleb, and Caleb Ledbetter. "The Language of Gen Z: Memes." Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
Romano, Will. "Memes Are Popular and Increasingly Significant. But Why?" Medium. The Startup, 19 Nov. 2019. Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
Silva, Logan. "To Meme or Not to Meme? Using Memes to Teach Media Literacy Skills." 14 Mar. 2019. Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
Weiss, Suzannah. "This College Is Offering Classes About Memes." Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue, 28 Oct. 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2021.
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