The Very Speedy Life Cycle of the #SorryFeminists Meme

Dashiell Bennett

Here's a 21st Century story about the speed with which an innocent joke becomes a roaring Twitter meme and just as quickly dies in the GIF wastelands of Tumblr.

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8:50 a.m.: Deborah Needleman, editor of T Magazine, tweets about an upcoming appearance by (occasionally rage-inducing) author Katie Rophie:

The sexy (sorry, feminists), smart, sassy Katie Roiphe live on stage @nypl on Wednesday night.

— deborah needleman (@debbieneedles) October 8, 2012

8:55 a.m.: Confusion sets in.

Why the "sorry, feminists"? MT @debbieneedles: The sexy (sorry, feminists), smart, sassy Katie Roiphe on stage Weds.

— Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) October 8, 2012

8:59 a.m.: Followed by mockery...

@debbieneedles Did you wrote that tweet from 1963? Impressive.

— emilynussbaum (@emilynussbaum) October 8, 2012

9:06 a.m.: ... then Anger...

.@annaholmes @debbieneedles it is written in the feminist statutes that a woman should not be sexy & smart. That is too heretical.

— Roxane Gay (@rgay) October 8, 2012

Gosh, @debbieneedles—can't wait till you take @tmagazine back to a pre-Friedan state of innocence. Because feminism is SO unsexy. UGH.

— sarah liss (@lisstless) October 8, 2012

10:34 a.m.: The hash tag begins.

Just came back from a Pilates class #sorryfeminists

— Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) October 8, 2012

What a cute baby. #sorryfeminists

— Irin Carmon (@irincarmon) October 8, 2012

I like makeup. And shoes. #sorryfeminists

— Gina G. Simpson (@evafortuna) October 8, 2012

Just watched a Nicholas Sparks movie. #sorryfeminists

— Angie Blanken (@AngelaBlanken) October 8, 2012

I forgot to blame the patriarchy.#sorryfeminists

— Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) October 8, 2012

I did three loads of laundry yesterday. #sorryfeminists

— Stacey Burns (@WentRogue) October 8, 2012

Fully intending to soak in the tub at some point this evening. #sorryfeminists

— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) October 8, 2012

11:01 a.m.: A guy pitches in with a BJ joke.

I really like blow jobs. #sorryfeminists

— Rob Tannenbaum (@tannenbaumr) October 8, 2012

11:07 a.m.: Things get confessional

I cried during The Notebook #sorryfeminists

— amaeryllis (@amaeryllis) October 8, 2012

Sometimes when I have my period I don't contemplate my glorious place in the lifecycle of mother earth. #sorryfeminists

— Jen Deaderick (@jendeaderick) October 8, 2012

11:11 a.m: Another guy tires to help. Doesn't get it.

I put my women on a pedestal cause its easier to peek up their skirts. #sorryfeminists

— RMatthewSonger (@RMatthewSonger) October 8, 2012

11:13 a.m.: As the tag spreads, the confusion returns.

I can no longer separate the tweets that get the joke from the ones that suck and/or derail #sorryfeminists

— Jackie A. (@colorlessblue) October 8, 2012

The #sorryfeminists hashtag has me confused. I just think it's perpetuating stereotypes. @leahjosephson @andreactually @leestorrow

— Annie E. Clark (@aelizabethclark) October 8, 2012

11:19 a.m.: Things start getting absurd:

Baby's gotten too big to fit in my attaché case. #sorryfeminists

— Andi Zeisler (@andizeisler) October 8, 2012

Beach volleyball is a totally legitimate sport. #sorryfeminists

— Lindsay Beyerstein (@Beyerstein) October 8, 2012

haven't called anything hegemonic this year. #sorryfeminists

— Sarah Lipton-Lubet (@LiptonLubet) October 8, 2012

11:44 a.m.: 2 hours and 54 minutes after Needleman's tweet, the Reaction GIF Tumblr is born.

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12:17 p.m.: And 23 minutes later, the Tumblr birth announcement goes out on Twitter.

Had to be done.

— ann friedman (@annfriedman) October 8, 2012

The end.

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