Someone was wrong in a small corner of the internet last night. Hannah Wheelwright writes about it here.
BYU Memes is somewhat notorious for proliferating somewhat (or really) offensive memes about Mormon culture. Recently, the following meme was posted:
It got over 100+ “like”s on Facebook, so the BYU Memes admins put it in their special sort of top hits album. I, along with many other feminists, think that this meme is offensive for the following reasons:
- It suggests that women in general are too dumb to put gas instead of water in their cars.
- It is no less sexist for being based off of an urban myth about sister missionaries not wanting to buy gas on Sunday.
- If it had been any other group (Blacks, Hispanics, etc), it would be obvious how offensive it is.
However, the BYU Memes creators claim that:
- It was not intended to be offensive.
- Some people have claimed that it really did happen in their missions.
- Not enough people stated that they found it offensive.
There were many, many comments on the original meme as many feminists (rallied from the Facebook groups of Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Feminists in Transition, and Young Mormon Feminists) attempted to have a civil discussion with one of the admins, Sir Jeff Meadows, about why it was offensive and should be taken down. But his response was consistently the claims above. Also he suggested that we feminists talk about it with him in person over dinner, followed by either a smiley face or a winky face (alas, I can’t remember exactly, and I didn’t catch screenshots of those comments in time).
So a couple of us from Young Mormon Feminists decided it was time for a little injection of feminism on BYU Memes.
Here are some of the memes we posted:
Around this time, some guy thought he could fix this whole developing situation by just “fixing” the original meme:
We were undeterred.
This was around 11pm/12am last night. Some commenters started to argue that we shouldn’t choose to be offended, that we were just riling up contention, and that they were startled that there was now a “gender flame war” going down on the BYU Memes page. A female admin began commenting that she was a female and she did not find the original meme offensive and she had served a mission and it was just the culture of missions that is like that. To which we responded:
Around this time, the BYU Memes admins began to lose their cool.
To which we responded:
It was around that time that the BYU Memes admins shut down the page:
To which we responded (by posting in the Young Mormon Feminists Facebook group):
In the morning, they deleted the original gas tank meme, claiming that it brought up too much contention. So that’s great.
Unfortunately though, there’s still work to do in promoting feminist dialogue at BYU. Because people are still saying things like this:
I guess a feminist’s work is never done, right?