Do internet memes spark awareness or belittle the issue? How about both?

We live in a generation of memes and their creation for the purpose of going viral. Oftentimes, people don’t care who the memes may trigger or affect as long as they think someone will find it funny or relatable enough to share. Internet memes do belittle issues and even dehumanize those in the public eye, like celebrities, but they also can spark awareness.

Like most people my age, I spend time on social media, where memes surface frequently. Body positivity and self-love have been an issue that I’ve had for the last few years. Khloe Kardashian, known to many, has recently become a meme that became viral that showcases a heavily photoshopped photo of herself she shared on her instagram account. This meme has allowed people to laugh at Khloe’s insecurities instead of trying to empower her for already being a beautiful woman. When people laugh and make comments about her unfiltered appearance, it only adds to her issues with body image and the need to be perfect.  Even so, memes can also spark awareness, especially in the uncertain times we are living in now. 

 Memes can be a great way of spreading information and awareness. These days, those kinds of memes consist of how to properly wear a mask, how to social distance and even spark awareness toward social injustices happening around the country today. It is simple to spark awareness when using memes because they can be shared within seconds on any social platform, allowing for instant information. The fast spread of memes can ensure that thousands of people are made aware of an important issue in a matter of minutes. An example of this could be the memes that showcase the proper way of wearing a face mask and ensuring that people know that the facial covering must cover the nose as well as the mouth to be made much more effective in the fight to end the spread of COVID-19. 

Just as memes can spark awareness, they can also belittle an issue or even a person — it all depends on how they are used. Most memes are made to facilitate laugher at someone else’s expense, but we can not shy away from the fact that they can be easily used to inform a mass majority of people on social media.  

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