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Looking Back: Top 10 Memes of 2012

As we enter the New Year, it is time to take a look back to some of the most notable memes of 2012. Memes that have left us in stitches, memes that have brought us through our dreaded projects and exams, and memes that have inspired us to create our own memes. From “Binders Full of Women” to “Gangnam Style”, here are the top 10 memes of 2012:

10. Binders Full of Women

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Lesson learnt from the second United States (U.S.) presidential debate of 2012: if you want to be taken seriously, never ever describe women as belonging in binders. Republican candidate Mitt Romney certainly found out the hard way when he used the phrase “binders full of women” in response to a question on pay inequality for women. His remark sparked the circulation of image macros captioned with the phrase, the creation of novelty Twitter account @RomneyBinders, as well as the launch of parody blog “Binders Full of Women” on Tumblr.

9. What People Think I Do

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Consisting of a series of pictures depicting a range of steoreotypes about an occupation, the “What People Think I Do/ What I Actually Do” meme struck like wildfire, with almost every Tom, Dick and Harry jumping onto its

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bandwagon. Its secret for success? Its innate ability to strike a chord with many individuals eager to poke fun at themselves, and its easy-to-follow template.

8. Overly Attached Girlfriend

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Twenty year old Laina Morris became the face of the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” meme when she uploaded her parody video of Justin Bieber’s single “Boyfriend” on YouTube. Her self-composed clingy, stalker-like lyrics led to her instant Internet fame, even leading to spin-offs like her counterpart, the “Overly Attached Boyfriend”. Since then, she has made use of her new celebrity to promote charitable events.

7. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

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An exceptionally handsome man running a marathon led to the birth of “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy”. Zeddie Little was innocently participating in the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run when a photo of him mid-run led to his online fame. Little did he know that his boyish good looks and charming smile would make him an instant Internet celeb! Guess this shows that exercise is good for you.

6. Grumpy Cat

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Meow! “Grumpy Cat”, also known as “Tard” (short for Tardar Sauce), became one of the most loved animals worldwide when a photo of its scornful face was posted on Reddit. Probably the only cat in the world with its own merchandise, “Grumpy Cat” also has its own hashtag (#grumpycat), website ( and Twitter account (@GrumpyCatTard). Now, how’s that for fame?

5. McKayla Is Not Impressed

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Who would have thought that winning a silver medal in the vault finals for the 2012 London Olympics would also lead to your very own meme? A photo of American gymnast McKayla Maroney’s unimpressed scowl when she mounted the metal podium went viral, and the 17 year old found herself Photoshopped into various “unimpressive” places and situations (like the Great Wall of China) with her trademark expression. Along with inspiring the creation of Tumblr blog “McKayla is Not Impressed”, McKayla’s latest feat involves getting U.S. President Barack Obama to join her in her signature pose.

4. Linsanity

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Anyone who watched Jeremy Lin’s breakout game against the New Jersey Nets in February 2012 would agree that the 24 year old is indeed Linsane. Breaking the record for most points scored in first five starts, the ex-New York Knicks’ backup point guard became a hot topic among the NBA community, leading to a series of Lin-related puns and rap tributes. He has since been traded to the Houston Rockets, but anxious fans are still eagerly anticipating the comeback of the Lin this NBA season.

3. Angelina Jolie’s Leg

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When you’re but a single body part on a beautiful and talented actress, what do you do to make yourself known? Put your best foot forward of course! The appearance of “Lara Croft” star Angelina Jolie’s right leg on the red carpet at the 84th Academy Awards created an instant uproar. A Twitter account @AngiesRightLeg was launched instantaneously, and Photoshopped images of the 37 year old’s leg-revealing pose popped out all over the Internet. This later led to the fads of Joliening, the imitation of Jolie’s infamous pose, and Legbombing, where her now infamous right leg was placed in various iconic images.

2. Call Me Maybe

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“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.” While this dance pop single was recorded in 2011 by Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, it only started gaining popularity in early 2012 (rendering it eligible for this list!). The catchy song gained popularity through lip dub videos on YouTube, the most memorable covers being those by the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders and Abercrombie & Fitch shop assistants. In addition to spawning a series of parodies and image macros, the popular ditty also inspired audio-splice mashups with soundbites from a variety of individuals, ranging from fictional characters in Star Wars to U.S. President Barack Obama.

1. Gangnam Style

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Gangnam Style fever has descended and is here to stay! South Korean singer Psy’s hit single “Gangnam Style” became the most popular song in 2012, with more than one billion views on YouTube. Its signature horse-riding dance and catchy chorus “Oppan Gangnam Style” have been featured in numerous parody videos (Singaporean style, anyone?), dance mobs worldwide and awkward dancing on club floors. From winning Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards to rumours that it is the harbinger of

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the purported December 21 apocalypse in 2012, this classic done it all. Fans are now wondering: what will Psy’s next single bring?

By: Charlotte Lim

Editor: Cherie Anne Lian

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