5 Times Internet Memes Acted as Social Commentary

Written By: Nina Monet Reynoso

I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last one to delve into the world of internet memes. Following the growth of internet memes and their relation to popular culture and current events, there seems to be an overt commentary about social issues that are often done in bad taste and sometimes outright disrespect. Here are 5 that seem particularly cringeworthy…


In late June, former NFL player  Aaron Hernandez was arrested for various gun charges and attempted murder. After his arrest, TMZ posted his arrest photo as well as an incriminating photo of Hernandez posing with a gun.

Naturally, the internet responds with various photos of young adults and teens posing with either real or fake guns with the hashtag #hernandezing. Personally, I think people have too much time on their hands and have no business posting such photos without realizing the possible implications of such a photo given what it did to Hernandez.


2. “Good Sport Plus Size Woman”

Given the fact that the most commonly worn size for women in America is a size 14, it would seem that the arrival of the “Good Sport Plus Size Woman” was intended for and made by men who continually uphold traditionally ideals of beauty and simultaneously must not know that many women, or like them at least. When other statistics show the overwhelming percentage of women and young girls who are dissatisfied with their bodies it’s a wonder that these types of memes exist.

3. Pepper Spraying Cop Meme

After the internet found a particularly upsetting video/photos of a police officer spraying college students peacefully protesting at UC Davis, many took to their photo editing applications to use classic art images as a way of expressing the unease about officers using excessive force. The effect? Although some might find it humorous, it displays a very real and increasingly disturbing trend of cops using excessive force without cause and receiving no substantial repercussions.

4. Smack Cam

The Smack Cam originates from the social media app Vine and involves people smacking unsuspecting people, usually with shaving cream, whipped cream, etc. There is no justification for this whatsoever and more often than not has resulted in someone suffering physical injuries as well as humiliation because of the viral nature of these videos. Not only do these videos condone violence but often times have racial and gendered implications when coupled with hashtags such as #BITCH and #blackguy. Looks like just another excuse for perpetuating violence.

5. “Trayvoning”

Following the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case, many young adults (mostly white teenage boys) took it upon themselves to pose in a similar fashion to that of Trayvon Martin’s body as a form of comedy. There are no words to describe the horror of this internet trend. While 87 percent of black people believe the shooting of Martin was unjustified, only 33 percent of white people agree; this could help explain the disproportionate number of white boys engaging in this trend. Regardless of how one feels about the verdict, a child died and to create such a disrespectful meme shows the lack of education that we have on race politics in America.


We often forget that although the internet is rich with resources for growth and education, it is also a tool for expressing and perpetuating stereotypes, highlighting systems of equality, etc. What do you use the internet for?


About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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