To Meme or not to Meme

To Meme or Not to Meme is an article written by Maya Walker, a young woman who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. Walker expresses her struggle with depression in relation to the internet phenomena of memes. Memes, in recent years, have become one of the most popular forms of comedy shared throughout the internet on multiple social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. While memes concern a wide range of topics, Walker touches specifically on memes that joke about suicide and depression. Walker begins her essay by diving into the darkest time of her life. She explains how she fought daily suicidal thoughts, her only support system being a local parking lot that she would spend hours, parked in her car and crying in. When Walker made efforts to reach out to her friends to seek support for her depression, her friends gave her battle very little recognition, for the simple reason that depression and suicidal tendencies had come to be normalized by internet memes. Walker explains how the internet is flooded with depression memes, all of which paint the brutal mental illness in a comedic light, making it seem as though everyone wakes up everyday wanting to kill themselves. “This is indicative of our society’s tendency to use humor as a coping mechanism, but the widespread nature of the internet and the many platforms within it means that people that do not consider the potential emotional and psychological effects their words may have on an unknown audience.” Walker writes, establishing the notion that these memes are used as a form of comedic relief as well as a bonding method amongst those who struggle with these illnesses and those who don’t understand the repercussions of stigmatizing mental illness. 

Walker’s argument for the implementation of better mental health support across social media resonated deeply with me. Her use of pathos and ethos provided me with an understanding of both the subject matter at hand and the urgency Walker is broadcasting in her essay. My one issue with the flow of the essay is that Walker is slightly repetitive with her arguments. Although she builds her argument confidently in a manner that strengthens the message she is trying to relay, Walker restates the same points in the essay multiple times which causes it to feel a little drawn own towards the end.

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