Catholic Memes, that interwebs institution, posted this on October 23rd:
That’s the blessed Mother and Madonna…these are an obvious reference to this campaign:
“This is not okay” is a photo-campaign designed to decry Halloween costumes that depict various ethnic, national, sexuality and even some religious groups (there are Islam and Sikh ones for example) as racist and unfunny.
The fact that this meme is so obviously a reflection of the fact that Catholics are going down as the last group one can attack publicly through pregnant nun and slutty Catholic school girl uniform costumes, they just picked the wrong spokesperson, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. But as we all know, it’s never the full story.
This meme has been mistaken as a wholesale criticism of Madonna which is not going to work. Sure she’s hardly the public example of who we want portraying Catholics, but so is the Vice President.
The meme author used the BVM and Madonna in an attempt to contrast the name. This is flawed because Madonna was given her name by her parents. She was named after her mother and born just after the feast day of the Assumption into a devout Catholic family of Italian and French-Canadian descent. So, because she is named after the Blessed Mother and is a public figure, we can make this comparison? My name derives from Christ, yeah let me tell you how I live up to that name on the daily. And our vice president is named for the foster father of our Lord and Savior and yeah…about that…
It is also flawed because of the entire idea of the campaign the creator chose to adopt for this meme is to stop people looking from dressing like stereotypes out of respect for a culture or religion or lifestyle, not to attack one person with one name in the world. If the creator wanted to do something deriding Madonna, she missed the mark.
And let’s not forget this is 2015 not 1985…not a lot of little girls dressing up like Madonna for Halloween and even if they were, not playing up the “Catholic” aspect at all.
There is also the idea that this meme is simply to make fun of people who create the “this is not okay” campaign as people who take Halloween too seriously and can’t take a joke. If that’s the case, almost no one on the original post got it which means it definitely failed on that level.
On the flip side, if the creator had wanted to make an impactful statement, how about a nun in habit holding a picture of a girl in the “pregnant nun” costume? Or a group of actual little girls in Catholic school with a pic of a “slutty Catholic schoolgirl” pic? Or an actual priest holding up a pic of Jon Cryer in Two and a Half Men in his pants-less priest costume? I will admit to being a pansy who is offended by the cultural view that it is okay to wear those costumes that impugn many good people I love and care about.
There was a lot of potential lost in this meme.The ambiguity has made it an epic fail. If we truly want to be critical of how we are treated in the secular world, we need precision. If we just want to make fun of Madonna, we can do that anywhere.