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Visual Humor through Internet Memes (II) From harmless humour to the discriminatory potential of (anti) memes. Case Study: “The Transgender Bathroom Debate”

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Visual Humor through Internet Memes (II) From harmless humour to the discriminatory potential of (anti)memes. Case Study: “The Transgender Bathroom Debate”

Abstract: After pointing out – in the first part of this study – the persuasive quality of memes, once they are created, re-mixed and shared publicly, we attempt to further analyze and discuss the social and ethical implications of this type of humour, meant for mainstream entertainment and specific to the digital era, while insisting on the relevance of its reception; when the derision hides, in fact, hostility, the use of humour can affect the image of vulnerable groups and can contribute to the exclusion of their members. The attached case study presents and analyses anti-trans memes created and shared during a notorious legislative episode in the United States, referring to the use of gender-inclusive public restrooms. This episode has provoked controversies in the American public space and has served as a new reason for discriminatory manifestations online, using internet memes.

Keywords: meme(s), humour, visual, discours, social media, vulnerable groups, racism, anti-trans, ethics, responsibilitie(s)

Citation suggestion: Sălcudean, Minodora. “Visual Humor through Internet Memes (II) From harmless humour to the discriminatory potential of (anti)memes. Case Study: ‘The Transgender Bathroom Debate’.” Transilvania, no. 11-12 (2020): 94-100. https://doi.org/10.51391/trva.2020.12.12.

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