By: Katie Godfrey


I chose this meme because I found it extremely interesting that this type of meme is still on the internet.  When I was searching for something to do this project on, I looked through a ton of memes; but none quite as controversial as this.  And the sad part is, that there is not just one kind of meme like this.  If you Google Image “down syndrome meme” a ton of them come up with about 4 or 5 different peoples faces.  Although I have never seen this meme before, I was honestly shocked to see how common they were.

Greater Relevance:

This meme is so controversial is so many ways.  The issue of down syndrome in our society is very prevalant and affects many people.  For someone to make a play on words about someone else’s condition is very inappropriate.  The memes differ in sayings, yet all are hurtful.  People do not understand how much damage this can cause to a person.  That may not only hurt someone with down syndrome, but it will hurt the family and friends of that person as well.

On the other hand, this may be seen as a positive.  This could be a wa of promoting children with down syndrome.  This is in the sense that these children are being shown as individuals and that they are more powerful than people may think.

Semiotic Approach:

The people behind these meme’s I’m sure were not creating these to purposefully target the young girl or boy in the picture, or probably any other person with down syndrome.  Like I stated before, the word “retard” was a big problem in society.  People used to throw around the word “retard” like it was just another word.  Maybe the creators behind this were the same way? Maybe they thought that the play on the “down” word was funny; but they didn’t mean to personally offend anyone.

As I said above, this meme is very controversial.  It can really be seen from two completely different angles.  Helpful or hurtful?


4 thoughts on “Helpful or Hurtful?

  1. Corrections: I think you may want to look at this from another angle. I think these are actually empowering people with Down Syndrome. the “I’m Down” phrasing is actually similar to people with Asperger’s claiming the term “Aspie” as a positive term to describe themselves as different, but equal. I think there’s actually more positive things going on here then you think.

  2. No pun intended. But it is intriguing to see and think about the flip side of positively humorous memes based off of peoples seemingly normal everyday antics, like Bad Luck Brian or Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, versus ones like this one above. It’s disturbing that in 2013 people are still bullying disabled people beyond anything that may have existed in the past. Especially with the occurrence of down syndrome and autism rising every year in the United States. It really is disgusting when you think about other viral stories that pop up on social media that talk about how people have taken the meme bullying into real life, like the people who recently refused to sit in a restaurant next to a family with a down syndrom member.

  3. I agree that these memes should not still be up on the internet. This issue is very controversial and people who were born with disabilities such as these should not be degraded in a meme. So far, I feel that many memes that I have found are funny. However, this meme really disturbs me and I think that it is great that you brought it to peoples attention.

  4. I did some more research. While I think this particular example is somewhat ambiguous, the same image has been used in multiple memes in much more obviously hurtful ways. Overall, a good analysis.

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