The Poetics of Dating in WhatsApp Memes: Imagery of the Market
Dating involves feelings and words relating to sex which is considered a subject of social condemnation (taboo). Despite the shame associated with such a subject, human beings still devise ways to refer to them in a manner that is socially and ethically acceptable. Creativity is an essential aspect of language that has enabled human beings to use language in novelty. This paper analyses memes to determine how the market imagery has been used to demarcate dating, highlight the properties of the language in use, and portray markers of gender. This research was guided by the theory of meaning in use propounded by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1953). This paper showed that the market imagery had been used symbolically, enabling WhatsApp users to use indirect expressions to talk about dating and other obscene things. WhatsApp users have resorted to humour to release the tension associated with dating frustrations. Lastly, the names of foods, chauvinistic verbs and basic terms have been used as markers of gender. The data that has been utilised in this research has been collected from WhatsApp statuses. This paper has shown how memes manipulate language to reflect social-cultural realities in the 21st century, specifically in the context of dating in Kenya.
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