Fighting for equality, one meme at a time

Facebook users are appropriating the ubiquitous HRC equal-sign logo, using everyone from Mark Rothko to John Cusack

Topics: Hyperallergic, LGBT Rights, Marriage equality, Facebook, internet memes, Design, , , ,

Fighting for equality, one meme at a time (Credit: Via Hyperallergic)
This article originally appeared on Hyperallergic.

Unless, somehow, you miraculously haven’t accessed your Facebook or Twitter in the last two days, you’ve probably noticed a proliferation of crimson tiles with superimposed pink equal signs popping up in avatars and profile pics. The instantaneously ubiquitous logo, a riff by the Human Rights Campaign on its own original design, was posted in response to the two landmark Marriage Equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Indeed, a report by the Chicago Tribune estimated that, within hours of its original posting, the image had been shared over 20,000 times. By Wednesday, the original design had transitioned into a fully-fledged internet meme, altered and hastily reconfigured much like last years pervasive image of Hillary Clinton texting from the belly of military plane cargo hold.
Hyperallergic

Many users took to Photoshop to personalize the logo, appropriating a diversity of imagery, often tongue and cheek, in the process of expressing their support – a pair of tilted popper bottles; Mark Rothko’s carmine color fields; John Cusack from Say Anything hoisting the logo in the air; a slice of red velvet cake. For others, such as the group Against Equality, it was a chance to voice critical dissent over paradigmatic notions of assimilation and heteronormativity. Meanwhile, organizations such as New York-based Visual AIDS were quick to draw historical corollaries between the meme and works by General Idea and Gran Fury during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

LGBT flag (Image via wikipedia.org)

LGBT flag (Image via wikipedia.org)

The Atlantic has a fascinating history of the role of color in LGBTQ rights symbols. Green carnations once identitified gay men to each other, while in the early 20th century the code switched to red ties or cravats. The rainbow flag was created by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, following Harvey Milk’s assassination. In 1995, HRC launched its iconic logo made up of a pair of yellow stripes on a blue ground as an “international symbol for the gay-rights movement.” It’s that simple composition that became the meme we’re seeing online.

Not surprisingly, large corporations — always quick to capitalize on a demographic — were posting branded equality memes (Budweiser, HBO, Absolute Vodka, and Expeida, among them). Indeed, speaking earlier this year, the enlightened Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was quoted as saying, “America’s corporations learned long ago that equality is just good business.” And yet, as much as one might indignantly recoil, a marriage between the free market and the freedom to wed is not an impecunious union. As with the case brought against DOMA, even marriage equality has it own dowry — the $363,000 indisputed taxes that it took for Obama to change his position.

You Might Also Like

Below, I collected a slew of examples of the pink HRC logo meme, both corporate and simply user-generated.

Mark Rothko HRC meme

Mark Rothko HRC meme

John Cusack HRC meme

John Cusack HRC meme

Bert and Ernie HRC meme

Bert and Ernie HRC meme

Red velvet cake HRC meme

Red velvet cake HRC meme

Budweiser HRC memeBudweiser HRC meme

HRC meme

Phallus HRC meme

Fab.com HRC memeFab.com HRC meme

Against Equality HRC meme

Against Equality HRC meme

Tilda Swinton sleeping HRC meme

Tilda Swinton sleeping HRC meme

Lion King HRC meme

Lion King HRC meme

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>