Meme Queens: Topical Tulane Instagrams parody student life, stereotypes

We are in the midst of a “Meme Renaissance.” As many of the “the greats” came out of the High Renaissance of Italy — Donatello, Da Vinci and the like, so, too come the genius artists of Tulane. Across Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram, Tulane-centric accounts have popped up, poking fun at campus food, keeping followers up to date on the status of local bars and reporting on overheard campus conversations.

Since the start of the semester, two Instagram meme accounts, @tulanememes and @tulane.repulicans, have emerged to tackle Tulane-related topics like rejection from The Boot Bar and Grill and key identifiers of the stereotypical Tulane sorority girl. @Tulanememes was the first to hit Instagram, with its first post on Jan. 12. It did not monopolize the meme scene for long, as @Tulane.repulicans popped up shortly after on Jan. 27.

Both accounts consider the Tulane experience from many angles. @Tulanememe’s page offers posts that resonate with the general Tulane student body, while @tulane.repulicans combines topical humor with a greater emphasis on campus activism. After the passing of contracted worker Tiffany Thomas, @tulane.repulicans posted about the tragedy and included the link to the supporting GoFundMe page in its bio. The account also appealed to its sizable following, encouraging students to take part in the Tulane Climate Survey.

Playing off popular tropes like Dat Boi, starter packs and commonly used reaction pictures, @tulanememes relies more on traditional meme style, while localizing it to campus and the issues— both real and imagined — that students face.

Despite differences in approach, both accounts present humorous, exaggerated notions of Tulane students, which begs the question — is there enough room in the topical Tulane meme niche for both accounts? The question has prompted something of a war between the two competing accounts. The two accounts have made a few digs at one another, but so far have stuck more to producing content than launching a meme war. Students, however, are more divided on which account is superior.

“[I prefer @tulane.repulicans] because a lot of my friends are like the ones displayed in those memes and I am, too, to an extent so … I just understood it better …,” freshman Ashray Gautam said.

Some disagree, feeling that @tulane.repulicans is less relatable.

“[@Tulane.repulicans] was more confusing. It had some stuff that was just irrelevant,” freshman Justyna Przytula said. “… Just some of the memes and what they’re trying to say is kind of a stretch.”

While the final call on which account reigns supreme remains up for debate, most students are happy just enjoying them for what they are.

“I felt like [the memes pages are] just Tulane kids making fun of themselves and [they aren’t] something to take seriously,” Gautam said.

Whether you love them or hate them, memes have established an identity on campus and create another outlet for Tulane students to flex their funny bones.

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