If you’ve ever spent time on the internet, or if you grew up on it like I did, you know what a meme is. From innocent cats doing things to Vine (RIP) compilations to the the far right co-opting a cartoon frog, there is no doubt that they are central to much of our lives without anyone really paying much attention.
At this year’s Woman With A Movie Camera summit at the BFI, Associate Editor at Little White Lies Hannah Woodhead led one of the more lighthearted and funnier talks about feminism, memes and cinema.
Originally coined by Richard Dawkins (aka “the edgelord of atheism” to quote Woodhead) back in 1976, the meme was defined as a “unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” It is something that can connect us across countries, borders and identities, that highlight aspects of culture and society. They are also hilarious.
Memes are a way we absorb and understand art. Think of the hundreds of ‘no context’ accounts on Twitter. From Louis Theroux to The Phantom Thread or First Reformed, we use these screenshots of memorable lines, or facial expressions to both show our love and appreciation for cinema and TV.