Offensive or Funny? Where Do We Draw The Line?



Today, social media acts as the respected informal medium for communication. A popular new way to engage and spread ideology on social media is through memes. An internet meme is usually a simple photo accompanied by a caption explaining the context of the photo. The caption usually reflects a current world event, or a shared thought/feeling many people could relate to. Meme’s are created to catch people’s attention and have them relate to the ‘joke’ the meme is portraying. However, an important question to ask ourselves is if meme’s really are just jokes, or if they are reflecting a serious issue/concern in our current society.

There are hundreds of memes that make jokes about anxiety and depression in young adolescences today. The first meme shows an animated character being surrounded and laughed at by others, labelled: “anxiety”, “depression”, “overthinking”. In a world where mental health is at an all time high, this meme catches the attention of many due to its relatableness. It may make you chuckle at first glance, but behind its meaning is a darker issue that our society is struggling with. Secondly, when Trump issued the execution of an Iran commander, people went to social media to express their concerns and opinions. Eventually, content such as memes began to be created. The second meme ties together the topic of WW3, and the Corona virus that has killed and tragically affected hundreds of people. Issues our society are having to deal with were created into memes because the creator knew many would relate, and therefore engage. Like the mental health one, this meme is created as a comedy, however its deeper meaning touches on serious issues society is currently living through. Meme’s can be extremely humorous, but the difference between humorous and offensive can be a fine line.

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