The accompanying text plays on a popular Siri command meme format: “Siri: show me fragile masculinity.”
As of publish time, the tweet, posted Saturday, has received more than 140,000 retweets and 400,000 likes.
What’s the context?
In the video of the interview, which occurred in 2017, Tennant, the reporter, starts by saying, “Kiké, it’s nice when you’re this tall. I appreciate you standing on a bucket for me,” and caps it with, “Get out of here, shorty.” The two appear to have a rapport.
Idk, the meme still seems pretty good
It is! At least in a vacuum, without knowing either party involved. Honestly, my initial reaction was, “lol that does look pretty funny, good meme.” It takes an image, removes some context, adds some new context to make a larger point, and boom.
This is why memes are funny. Or illuminating. Or poignant.
So why are people mad about this?
This is where it gets dicey. Out of context, the photo clearly appears to show a man using a prop to appear taller than the woman he is speaking with on TV.
its not about malice or intent it's about he has to be taller than she is. If you dont get it that's fine I can't make you. Maybe if you have a tall daughter you could tell her she didn't wear heel cause men don't like it. Not malicious.— mamu (@kristinelevine) July 9, 2018
But, among baseball fans, Hernández is seen as a sort of lovable goofball. He’s known for his clubhouse pranks, frosted tips, sincerely affectionate hugs with teammates, a banana suit, that other time he stood on a bucket and these engagement photos he recently posted.
Of course, none of these things on their own preclude a person from being a misogynist or insecure in their masculinity. But a vocal contingent of Baseball Twitter felt that the gesture, coming from Hernández, was more likely a sign of playfulness than of fear of emasculation. They took exception to the fact that a generally Good Baseball Dude was being held up as an example of something negative, no matter how laudable the message that men shouldn’t worry about needing to be taller than women.
There’s certainly a discussion to be had about toxic masculinity in sports. Lord knows I’ve been on the receiving end of a ton of it. But Kikè Hernandez is one of the last athletes who should be mocked for it. This meme sucks @Ishfery. https://t.co/hbnSyAiwBt— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) July 9, 2018
He shows vulnerability, laughs at himself, expresses emotion, publicly tells his teammates he loves them. He can take care of himself, but I saw that tweet making rounds. That kind of thing can be said about many many people, but Kiké ain’t one. Anyway vote for Trea Turner. Bye.— Roy Donk? (@EireannDolan) July 9, 2018
Has the meme spread?
The photo has received some signal boost.
“Queer Eye” cast member and Dodgers fan Karamo Brown posted a different angle of the moment to Instagram and criticized Hernández for using the bucket.
“No, No, No… men you’ve got to do better!” the caption reads. “I don’t care how fragile your masculinity is… this is unacceptable. Even if this was a ‘joke’ to you it’s still ridiculous & toxic on so many levels. #FragileMasculinity #ToxicMasculinity #ThisIsReal #NotMyDodgers #ILoveMyDodgers”
A quick scroll through the comments reveals the argument around this meme in micro: “Men, don’t do this!” “No, you misunderstood!” “The point still stands!” “Bad example!”
Tennant, the reporter, even hopped in to defend Hernández:
“@karamobrown i’ve mentioned this multiple times, but I will ya (sic) again, this was an inside joke between Kiké and I for years. I would wear heels, and he would run on to a couch or chair to do an interview. We are really good friends and this was just part of our thing. It is worth repeating that he has been an incredibly supportive friend, as well as many of the players, and saying anything derogatory about him based on something neither of us found negative or demeaning is pretty unfair. I hope you’ll rethink your comments now that you have context.”
So … uh … what should I think if I stumble across this meme?
It’s tough to say.
For most of the Internet encountering this meme, or any meme, context is irrelevant.
For many baseball fans, it’s a photo of two friends, having fun, that’s been spun out into something it’s not.
It’s a fine message that might have picked the wrong target.
Well, as far as Internet disagreements go, it seems like everyone got out of this without much damage to their dignity, right?
Reader, would you believe me if I told you that the creator of the meme has become the subject of some misogynistic abuse?
So this whole thing is kind of a bummer, huh?
Welcome to the Internet.