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People are tweeting descriptions of characters typically found in Hollywood movies. The point is to show how obviously predictable these characters are–and how they are often founded on harmful and offensive tropes.
“I’m a fat person in a movie. I’m the comic relief, usually entirely self-hating. My redemption comes in the form of before/after and weight loss storylines. I’m usually played by thin women in fat suits,” Meghan Tonjes tweeted.
👋🏻 I’m a fat person in a movie. I’m the comic relief, usually entirely self-hating. My redemption comes in the form of before/after and weight loss storylines. I’m usually played by thin women in fat suits. https://t.co/1wUeXSKHkx— Meghan Tonjes (@meghantonjes) September 2, 2019
Rory Turnbull, an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, kicked off the meme. Turnbull tweeted out the archetype of a Hollywood professor: only reaching the main point of their lecture as class ends and yelling at students to do their reading or homework as they leave. Very on point, Turnbull.
Hello, I'm a professor in a movie, I only reach the main point of my lecture right as class is ending. Then I yell at students about the reading / homework as they leave.— Rory Turnbull (@_roryturnbull) January 1, 2019
From there, people decided to jump in on the action.
‘Movie Tropes’ memes
“Hi, I’m a disabled woman in a movie. I rarely exist, AT ALL. But when I do, I’m almost never an actual character. I exist purely for the benefit of abled characters & to make audiences feel ‘inspired’. Most disabled ppl in movies are ‘fakers’ or make miraculous recoveries,” Kitty Kavanagh tweeted.
Hi, I'm a disabled woman in a movie. I rarely exist, AT ALL. But when I do, I'm almost never an actual character. I exist purely for the benefit of abled characters & to make audiences feel "inspired". Most disabled ppl in movies are "fakers" or make miraculous recoveries 🙄 https://t.co/iXlAmtx4yr— Kitty Kavanagh (@chronicfab) September 2, 2019
Another illustrated the trope of a mentally ill woman in movies, who is more often than not seen killing, haunting, or stalking the non-mentally ill protagonist.
Hi I’m a mentally ill woman in a movie. My mental illness will never be fully explained but it’ll always be the reason I kill / haunt / stalk your non-mentally ill protagonist xxx https://t.co/UbroQWgeEk— Maggy (@maggyvaneijk) September 1, 2019
“Hi I’m a woman in a movie. I have perfect hair and make up even when I’m in a perilous situation. I have amazing sex without looking ugly or removing my bra and the leading man’s shirt always fits me like haute couture in the morning,” Twitter user @goldilocksrocks wrote.
Hi I’m a woman in a movie. I have perfect hair and make up even when I’m in a perilous situation. I have amazing sex without looking ugly or removing my bra and the leading man’s shirt always fits me like haute couture in the morning https://t.co/rEHkhaFMTW— Morgers (@goldilocksrocks) August 31, 2019
Hi, I'm a bar manager in a movie. I inexplicably clean the bar counter with a glass cloth, I can always hear what the customer is ordering despite it being 5 deep and nobody ever orders a Guinness. https://t.co/wOu9Bszs7T— Emma Hardman (@EmuHp) August 31, 2019
Hi, I'm an N.Y.P.D. Firefighter in a movie. I don't need Breathing Apparatus when I go into an atmosphere that would kill with a couple of Breaths. We always rescue a dame, a puppy or our brother, while the skyline explodes behind us. https://t.co/MwFxKSbKDn— Robbie (@Robbiebox147) August 31, 2019
One user tweeted the several tropes often used for Black men in movies.
“If I’m not a gang member, drug dealer, drug-dealing gang member, or star athlete with a troubled background, then I’m a secondary character with street smarts, the comic relief with street smarts, or Will Smith. I’m very likely to die,” they wrote.
Hi, I'm a black guy in I movie. If I'm not a gang member, drug dealer, drug-dealing gang member, or star athlete with a troubled background, then I'm a secondary character with street smarts, the comic relief with street smarts, or Will Smith. I'm very likely to die. https://t.co/dquXtCUgKm— Dr Orville Rhythm (@DrJamesMasonry) January 4, 2019
Hello, I'm a scientist in a movie. All my experiments magically work first time and I get the correct results instantly. https://t.co/XSAD0DvHer— Tits McGee (@Scientits) January 3, 2019
While some of the tropes the memes highlighted are far less dangerous than others, the meme represents a need for Hollywood to stop relying on them for content. Tropes can do a lot to hurt the representation of people, many of whom are already underrepresented.
Take note, Hollywood.
Dominic-Madori Davis is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. She covers the internet, politics, and social issues.