a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a primitive Sims style cgi image of a grey skinned woman with stringy black hair over her face

@nternetdressed

‘Why are you dressed like that?’ became the perfect holiday meme

An homage to your cousin's curious makeovers.

 

Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Published Dec 28, 2020   Updated Dec 28, 2020, 4:16 pm CST

Even though most of us didn’t get the experience in person this year thanks to COVID-19, the “Why are you dressed like that?” meme perfectly captured the iconic holiday experience of a cousin you rarely see turning up dressed like that for dinner.

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"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and  a photograph of a woman in a Christmas tree costume, holding a tinsel star next to a keyboard and beneath a red star shaped balloon that had "merry Christmas" written on it
@loeyhi
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"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and  a dark haired pale skinned woman in a yellow anime eye mask with an odd black bowling skittle like device on top of her head
@cyngapra
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‘Why are you dressed like that’ meme: Origins

The meme got started all the way back on Dec. 15 when Twitter user @nternetgirl tweeted a photograph of a large white family at a festive dining table, staring at the camera in surprise, side-by-side with a low-resolution CGI image of a grey-skinned black-eyed woman with stringy black hair covering her face. They captioned the photos “why are you dressed like that?” and “like what” respectively and the Christmas meme of 2020 was born.

why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a primitive Sims style cgi image of a grey skinned woman with stringy black hair over her face
@nternetgirl

There were a lot of fandom references, from Cruella Deville vs. Miranda Priestly to Darth Vader being accosted by the Jedi order in his new suit.

"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a still from The Devil Wears Prada featuring Miranda Priestly looking shocked and wearing large sunglasses and a muted leopard print blouse beside a still from 101 Dalmatians featuring Cruella DeVille in her iconic low cut black and white dress with swooping sleeves and a fur trim
@__wuquw__
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"Why are you dressed like that?" “Like what?” a still of the Jedi councillor from one of the Star Wars prequels with Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, wearing cream robed and with short brown hair and a beard, front and centre, next to a still of Darth Vader
@Caviarparadigm
"why are you dressed like that? like what?" Still of Hades from the Disney movie Hercules, a tall blue toned figure dressed in black with blue flame on his head next to a red round demon wearing Hercules brand sneakers
@Caviarparadigm
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And some amazing cosplay got featured, including a realistic alien queen costume and Hellboy.

why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a photo of a person wearing a detailed alien queen from the movie aliens costume dress including a realistic head
@YoooltsO
"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a man in well done Hellboy cosplay, with red painted skin, prosthetic horns and a grey trench coat
@YoooltsO
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"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a person in a Sylveon Pokemon fur suit, a predominantly white with pink patches coat with long thin pointed ears, holding a poke ball and lounging in a chair
@VivariesUwO

Others chose to share their favorite celebrities dressed up to the nines, imagining them showing up for Christmas dinner in all their finery.

"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a photograph of three members of the band KISS wearing their iconic black and white makeup and tight black, red and purple clothes with spikes
@_psycho_circus_
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"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions and a photograph of Rihanna in her transparent gem encrusted Met Gala dress
@MEENAVOGUEE
"why are you dressed like that? like what?" a photograph of Sia in her usual blonde wig with a big pink bow on top and a patchwork dress in front of a giant pink fire hydrants and a photograph of a white family around a Christmas dinner table all looking at the camera with surprised expressions
@MEENAVOGUEE

Hopefully next year you’ll all be able to get the experience in person but for now, this should tide you all over.

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*First Published: Dec 28, 2020, 4:15 pm CST