I’m so glad someone has reported on this - I’ve been wondering what the ✨vibes✨ are from actual Ukrainians who are seeing Gen Z react (kinda understandably coz it’s all we know) to the invasion of their country with… memes and thirst trap edits of Zelenskyy. Screenshot
Olesia comes from Kharkiv, Ukraine, but her family relocated to the capital, Kyiv (she lives in the UK.)
“I’m really grateful that this is all happening in the social media age because the news spread quickly. I’m really happy to see most of the videos being about support for Ukraine, and a lot of the videos are actually describing the situation as it is. It’s been helping a lot to get the message out.”
“I do love memes and humour as a method of coping—we have to try and keep living and smiling. There are memes that are okay, that we understand and laugh at—they are mostly memes made by Ukrainians, for Ukrainians. My friends make lots of funny TikToks from the bomb shelters.” [luce note: isn’t that last line jarring??]
Olesia did make a good point - that if you have time to make memes and edits, you have time to help spread ways you can support Ukrainians efforts/ livelihoods.
“Please remember there are people suffering, and if you do want to thirst over Zelenskyy, try and do that in a respectful way. I am not sure how you can do that, but at least mention a charity [your followers] can donate to in the comments, or pin a comment saying that we should support Ukraine.”
Oly, who also lives in London, but whose entire family still lives in Ukraine, isn’t a fan:
“I hate war-related memes. I don’t find them funny.
People in the West make a mockery of my country and the comparison to WWIII is ridiculous to me. Yes, it’s very bad, but this is not WWIII—not everyone is being affected by the Ukrainian crisis, and countries like America and the UK don’t have many valid reasons to worry about themselves.”
We’ve all seen a lot of hot takes about this being the first ‘extremely online’ war, but there’s not been a lot of coverage about how actual Ukrainians feel about it (I guess they have bigger things to worry about.) But to put it into perspective - maybe next time you spend three hours editing your Zelenskyy fan cam, balance it out by spending the next three researching what’s really happening and ways you can help. That’s on ✨growth.✨