Intercultural Extraneity

Spreading Positivity Through Memes

This post explores how meaning is negotiated and created. To do so, it examines a meme and includes at least one alternative interpretation. It also reflects on the cognitive bias that can affect how we generate and disseminate meaning in our own social networks.

For this week’s assignment our group chose this meme:

The meme was found on the website Reddit and what interested us about it is the fact that unfortunately there are societal norms and stereotypes that define how a woman should look like and if she looks a certain way some characteristics will automatically be attached to her even though they might not be true at all.

It responds to system of politics and is connected to women’s rights movement. Furthermore, a woman should not be judged by how she looks, and it is her right to dress how she likes. If society tries to establish how a woman should dress it could quickly escalate to a much bigger problem. By saying how a woman should look like and what a woman should do in order to be accepted by the society, women’s rights are limited and their freedom endangered. What is more dangerous is the fact that all women are different, and by emphasizing that a certain type of a woman is more desirable and that others should be scorned creates a very toxic environment for all women. In addition, what is important is to unite all women and also women should not look down upon other women for their looks or interests.

What is the message?
This meme successfully shows that all women are equal and that one should not assume the interests of someone based on how they look/dress and that all women should be united, because they are stronger that way. The first part of the meme uses “the evolution process of a woman” to show that women that read and dress in a certain way are more evolved and that the woman on the left is primitive and not sophisticated like the girl on the right is. The second part of the meme creates a wholesome twist that shows that all these women were headed to their book club and that all of them share the same interests, and that societal norms imposed on the woman on the left proved groundless.

What goes without saying?
That eduaction is important, but women should not look down upon other women because of how they look since a person’s appearance has nothing to do with their interests.

How can its symbolic content be interpreted in a different way, through a different lens?
If we focus only on the first part of the meme we could consider that the person who made it wanted to draw attention to the fact that, although, women are now able to go to school, and they have more access to higher education for the first time in history, some women still choose to rely solely on their appearance and they don’t quite understand the importance of education. *Taking this one step further, this meme could be viewed through the lens of third-wave feminism, according to which “women should embrace their sexuality to take back their power” (source).

This meme responds to a larger issue concerning Female Empowerment, you can learn more about it here Five Types of Female Empowerment

Comment on the article Biases make people vulnerable to misinformation spread by social media

Social media provide us a wide range of information that can be very useful for us, but we are all aware (or at least we should be) of the fact that there are also information that can be completely misleading, and do more harm than good, such as fake news, conspiracy theories, online frauds etc. That is exactly what this article tells us more about. It introduces us three types of biases that can cause us being misinformed: bias in the brain, bias in the society and bias in the machine. The authors also explain the manipulative strategies social media uses to influence our opinion and to misinform us. Not only can they manipulate us as individuals, but also they can manipulate the whole societies. Probably many of us aren’t even aware of it.

Having all of this in mind, it is essential to remember we shouldn’t trust everything we see on Internet and that we should check the sources that provide the information. In order to help us distinguish the information from misinformation, the authors of the article invented some tools which we can use while trying to cope with this harmful side of social media.

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