Self-love Valentines Memes
After a cameo appearance in my installation Money. Pussy. Future. I decided to lend my bunny avatar the spotlight once again. This time the medium was a series of anti-Valentines memes created for release on my Instagram page the week of the 14th February.
The result of a tutorial with Diann Bauer was the conclusion that the character is ‘cotton candy fluff’, and that she needs another side to her- one with more weight- in order for her to fulfill her potential. Diann referenced the cartoon character Pepe the Frog, a character that featured heavily in innumerable memes on online forums and on social media until it was co-opted by neo-Nazis including Richard Spencer (the one that got punched in the face, leading to him attaining meme status himself), became too risky to use and was subsequently disowned by its creator. Pepe in neo-Nazi form was shorthand for a message- and I was encouraged to use my bunny for similar, albeit less fascist purposes.
I designed a series of four memes featuring my character to disseminate simple feminist messages: “Prioritise your pleasure”, “Enjoy being single”, “Don’t shave if you don’t want to” and “Dump him, he doesn’t deserve you”. I used a standard meme format of a square image, with the character posing and the text written in various mismatched fonts. I posted one per day onto Instagram from the 11th until the 14th of February.
Memes provide a lighthearted, succinct, easy to digest and easy to share method of expressing an idea or message, no matter the seriousness of the content. Meme content creators such as Blackpowerbottomtext target issues around race, gender and imperialism, and lampoon those upholding the status quo.
I feel the feminist messages I shared to be urgent and necessary statements, facilitated by the recurring image of the pink bunny mascot providing a kind of relatability to the viewer or approval of the message. In this way the function of the character has been transformed into that of the carrier of a message, figurehead of an idea, and given her the weight and value she deserves.