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What is the "Feminine Urge" Meme?

A meme turned potent example of femmes defining femininity for themselves

Often, on social media, new phrases come and go without you ever knowing from whence they came.


For a brief, confusing moment, they pop up in every tweet, every TikTok, and a baffling spew of memes emerges … only to disappear forever.

One of the most recent phrases to enter the fickle and ephemeral land of internet language, is the "feminine urge."

So What's All This Talk About The Feminine Urge?

From all outposts of the internets, posts are cropping up about ubiquitous "feminine urges."

"The feminine urge to cause chaos." "The feminine urge to play Taylor Swift." "The feminine urge for an iced coffee every time you leave the house."

This new genre groups small, daily habits alongside more intangible compulsions all under the category of femininity.

The Feminine Urge to Call Things a Feminine Urge … in a Feminist Way

Like all great things, the phrase has been popularized through several reiterations until one caught traction.

According to Know Your Meme: "The Feminine Urge refers to a concept and catchphrase used in memes to ironically describe female tendencies and traits. Although the earliest known usage of the phrase was posted in 2009 on Twitter, the phrase received its most amount of usage in 2021 started from an April 2021 Tumblr post."

The first instances were ironic juxtapositions of femininity with violent behaviors like "stabbing" and "biting."

While those posts received tons of individual attention, the trend really took off once it was applied to behaviors actually relatable to many femmes, especially those made necessary by living under the patriarchy.

Know Your Meme states: "However, October, 2021 is when the catchphrase saw its most usage, sparked from a tweet sent on October 5th, 2021, from Twitter user @9wacie. The tweet received roughly 154,100 likes over the course of 20 days and reads "the feminine urge to play dumb (strategically)"."

This example of the Feminine Urge hits at women and femmes core expectation to be "dumb" or inferior intellectually, which has resulted in a subversive trope of women using said expectation for their own gain.

It's within this niche that the avalanche began, and femmes started pointing out other subversive "feminine" behaviors that are shared and understood but often not verbalized.

The Memeification of the Feminine Urge

While this earnest — though tongue-and-cheek — community-building was fun while it lasted, such things don't survive on Gen Z's internet.

Soon, the catchphrase spawned a cornucopia of memes, many of which took morbid or ironic turns — some versions playing on tragic femmes in history, some playing on contemporary pop culture.

What's Left?

While the trend hasn't completely died, it's probably reached its peak. As it dies down, we remember it fondly, knowing that — no matter how absurdist it was or . . . may get — it was a potent example of femmes defining femininity for themselves, in valid, personal ways.

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