Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen the meme of Bernie Sanders sitting down at Joe Biden’s inauguration wearing mittens.

In case you missed it, the Vermont senator has gone viral after he was seen at Biden’s inauguration looking less than thrilled, wearing a jacket and knitted gloves. Sanders’ attire was a contrast to the glamorous looks sported by other attendees and he generally looked a bit out of place.

The image of him sitting alone quickly became a meme, with people photoshopping him into random situations. For a moment, it was uncomplicated and hilarious fun for everyone who partook in the memery.

But then, as the cycle goes, the discourse began.

Some people posted on Twitter and suggested that the reaction to the picture and the popularity of the meme is a sign of wider misogyny in society. The crux of the argument seems to be that if a woman had turned up to an event like this wearing similar clothing, supposedly looking disgruntled and unenthusiastic, then people wouldn’t have had the same jubilant and positive reaction.

This thread sums up the general school of thought.

To be clear: there isn’t a suggestion that the people sharing the memes are sexist or misogynistic simply because they’re sharing the meme. The argument seems to be that the existence of the meme and the reaction to it is partly influenced by these factors.

Regardless, lots of people don’t agree with this viewpoint.

It’s certainly true that woman politicians are intensely scrutinised on how they look. But to be fair on Bernie, it was freezing cold and he is almost 80 years old, so it seems understandable why he might be wrapped up warm and not look so smiley. Also, Michelle Obama was seen looking less than happy at Trump’s inauguration (and later spoke about how she “stopped trying” smile during the event) and it became a meme way back in 2017. 

Some people think we should just let people enjoy things without having to create edgy discourse about every meme or online trend.

Just another wild day of discourse on the internet.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)