The What Nots Of Met Gala Memes And How They Unapologetically Backfired At Us

As Snappy As It Sounds, Impracticality Of Met Gala Memes Has Permanently Mutilated Camp Fashion

The requisite themes of “Camp: Notes on Fashion” are not supposed to make you feel comfortable and sombre within your outfit, the very essentials ”irony, humour, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality and exaggeration” concern themselves with artificiality and queerness bordering on flamboyance and the “unflattering”! For the lack of any viable short cut, one must step out of comfort zone to match up to Camp’s taste of unconventional and exuberance. Some of the prominent faces in Met Gala 2019 like Katy Perry, Jared Leto, Deepika Padukone, Lady Gaga and Priyanka Chopra adorned the exhibition by acknowledging what inherently is implicit in Camp Fashion- the frivolous and the artificial should be assimilated into costume in order to become a crowning glory of aesthetics forever defying traditional boundaries.

Recent memes that pivoted on Priyanka Chopra’s Met Gala look, fashioned after Mad Hatter from the universe of Alice in Wonderland, was an antithesis to writer Sontag’s conception of Camp Fashion itself.

“…rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness and the sexless saggy sackcloths that most men walk around in like zombies without the cinematic excitement of engorging flesh.”

What Happened To Social Media Preachers?

Instantly explicit comparisons were being made between Deepika Padukone’s  femininity and Priyanka Chopra’s gender fluidity- at once derogatory and mindless, oblivious to what embodies the Camp Fashion itself. Met Gala 2019 had nothing to do with gender conformity, accepted fashion standards, or monotony. If you are gutsy enough to parade in tacky, loud and artificial, you are heartily welcome to this rendezvous that started way back in 1948! Whenever memes went gaga over something that is trying to wriggle away free from claustrophobia, it undermined its own significance, rendering itself somewhat redundant.

Morphed images were quickly circulated on social media platforms, contorted in order to convert the event into a visual gag that users could consume within split seconds. Memes, as much as they disrepute a culture, at the same time they are also laughing stocks, a tool for harmless mockery however sexist and ignorant they might be. It remains a question of debate how far they should be criticized or if at all. Nowadays, anything can metamorphose into a meme- a philosophy, idea, culture, tradition, and “high art” that Camp theme was. Again, it was only through memes that Camp Fashion was brought into the mainstream, talked about and lambasted vocally for its audacity to be vivacious and daring to those who are unaware of Sontag’s celebrated essay on Camp Fashion.

The vulgar array of memes derailed the conversation on Met Gala’s Camp theme and instead found itself meddling into contemporary issues like feminism, fashion policing, ignorance, and downright sexism. It might sound a bit cynical to point out that sewing crass humor around celebrities and fashion is no more fun than it used to be a few years back. It appeared mildly offensive at times when everything was subjected to constant moral policing, and ridicule or scrutiny that it missed out on fundamental discussions like how self-parody is quintessential in Camp Couture.

Neither Memes Nor Fashion Polices Can Mock Met Gala

Camp’s sense of self-parody is however not deprived of aesthetics and that is precisely what popular cultural tropes like memes fail to recognize before trolling its subjects. Like the Camp theme, fashion world mostly remains dark to us, and there is no shame in admitting the same. However, whenever we try to mock something that has its essence in parody and love for the unnatural, the act turns itself into a fiasco and backfires at us. What are we indeed poking fun at? The Camp Couture is forever evading from the grasps of fashion critics and truly one cannot pin it down to one definition or shape. As memes kept rolling in a vicious frenzy, it glorified the famous statement- “You’re not making fun of it; you’re making fun out of it.” made by novelist Christopher Isherwood on Camp. In the end, as expected, the memes outshone the parade itself!

Besides the sheer folly with which the memes continued raining on Facebook’s wall, we let go of our ethics, by submerging into sexist rhetoric, flaunting a blissful ignorance towards an exhibition that made stars step out of the box while trying Sontag’s “Failed Seriousness”. Contrary to popular opinion that has pointed out Met Gala’s exorbitant entry fees, it is not about status quo that we are talking about, but the mediocrity into which meme culture has stepped- the way ridicule has become so easy that it has completely done away with the grandeur we once associated with it!