When you have the most recognizable name in the world, people will always come up with new ways to recognize you. This year, more and more people are creating memes and online communities around your name than ever before. It’s almost like you can’t go anywhere these days without seeing someone or something referencing your name in some way.

Perhaps the most well-known example of this phenomenon is the meme known as ‘Bitch Slap.’ The first reference to this image was actually spotted last year, but it didn’t become an ‘it’ until late 2017, when everyone in the know began using it.

What is ‘Bitch Slap’?

It is, in fact, a very specific meme. In order to understand the appeal of this image, you have to understand the history of Trump’s wife, Melania.

As we mentioned above, much like her husband, Melania is an extremely famous woman. However, unlike Trump, she holds a very successful modeling career. This, in turn, has made her something of a polarizing figure. For some, she is the perfect wife and, as a result, a very capable woman. For others, she is a symbol of ‘fake news’ and an example of how successful ‘tricking’ the media can be.

Regardless, in the weeks leading up to the 2018 elections, we began to see references to Melania almost everywhere. People were joking that her modelling career was actually a ‘career’ since she was always with her husband, and they were referencing her fashion choices, among other things.

So, when she decided to speak at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, many people were curious to see what she would say. Would she attack her husband and his policies? Would she praise or defend him? Would she even offer some fashion advice?

Instead, what she said was something completely different, but it was certainly an unexpected turn of events. During her speech, she attacked all the other women in the room, telling the story of how she overcame her shyness to become an incredibly successful and independent woman.

“When I was 18, I walked in front of a mirror for the first time and gasped. I looked at myself and said, ‘Mommy, that girl does not look like me.’ I remember feeling incredibly insecure about my body. I felt like a fraud because I didn’t look like the pretty little princess I was born to be. I didn’t look like the sexy, powerful woman that men and women alike said I could be, one day.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of Melania’s speech was the suggestion that she had once considered becoming a professional wrestler. It was a joke, of course, but also a suggestion that she could have easily made good on. After all, she has the perfect body for the job, and she certainly knows how to work hard.

Whatever issues you have with the Trumps, this meme illustrates an important fact: no matter what, they will always have your attention. This is because, as we mentioned above, they are extremely famous. Even now, as we’re just shy of a year removed from that speech, Melania’s story continues to be told in headlines around the world. So, for the sake of those who still don’t know, here’s a primer on why ‘Bitch Slap’ is so popular and what it means for the future of meme-making.

It’s Popular Because It’s Subtle

Unlike most memes about famous people, ‘Bitch Slap’ does not directly target Donald Trump or his administration. Instead, it uses his famous status to create a situation where the focus is on someone else. In this way, the Trumps have successfully avoided the backlash they have faced from other memes, like the ‘#MuteRage’ and ‘#ShhhHim’ memes.

The first reference to ‘Bitch Slap’ was actually spotted last year, but it didn’t really become an ‘it’ until later in the year. While social media platforms like Twitter have always been home to memes about famous people, the sudden wave of popularity that ‘Bitch Slap’ experienced last year was especially surprising, given that it is a bit more subtle than other memes.

As one Twitter user observed, “In an age where we are overloaded with memes featuring angry black men, ‘Bitch Slap’ calmly stands its ground.” You wouldn’t normally put it together, a white woman yelling at a black man, but the joke is on us: Donald Trump is, in fact, the original ‘angry white man.’

It’s Popular Because It’s Different

Last year, ‘Bitch Slap’ became an ‘it’ because it was unlike anything we had seen before. While other memes were focused on simply having fun at the expense of the Trumps, ‘Bitch Slap’ took itself seriously, but not seriously enough that it didn’t have fun. As a result, many people, myself included, were won over by its unique combination of humor and sentiment.

For those who consider themselves ‘alternative’ or ‘comedy’ fans, ‘Bitch Slap’ is a breath of fresh air. While other memes are often nothing more than fart jokes or dog memes, ‘Bitch Slap’ is an important and positive addition to the genre.

It’s Popular Because It’s Art

If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time, you’ll know that memes, and the internet as a whole, were initially created as a joke. However, over the years, the artistry that goes into many memes has become so good that it often rivals the work of professionals. While most people may consider a meme to be a simple and, often, humorous image, there is a lot of care that is put into them. For example, if you’ve ever seen the ‘Logan’ movie, where Will Smith’s character has a stroke, you’ll know exactly what kind of artistry is involved in the making of a stroke-inducing meme.

Many famous people, like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, have even admitted to being inspired by memes. Keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling low about the state of our country.

It’s Popular Because It’s Protest

If you pay attention to politics at all, you’ll know exactly what kind of impact the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are having on our culture. Thanks to social media, these movements have quickly become a force to be reckoned with, bringing about much needed change and speaking truth to power. While it’s still not perfect, it’s certainly an important step in the right direction.

The subject of women’s rights and equality is one that has long been considered off-limits in Hollywood. Unless you count the ‘Wonder Woman’ film, which is arguably the most feminist mainstream movie of all time, Hollywood has rarely been interested in reflecting feminist viewpoints in their work. However, with a few notable exceptions, that is beginning to change. As more and more people, myself included, refuse to let this issue be swept under the rug, I think we can surmise that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have made their way to Hollywood, too.

When the Golden Globes host, Sandra Bullock, introduced Melania, she pointed out that her speech was “quite a departure from the usual golden globes fare,” adding that “this year, we’re breaking with tradition, and the speeches will be quite different.” Indeed, Melania’s speech was unique not only because it focused on a different subject matter, but also because it was delivered in a different way. While most famous persons’ speeches at the Golden Globes are given in a traditional way, Melania spoke from the heart.

Sandra Bullock also predicted that the format would be “challenging.” Perhaps, challenging is an understatement. While it would be wonderful to simply sit back and laugh at the mayhem that is the Golden Globes, it would be even more wonderful if we were able to use these occasions to have a serious conversation about social issues. So, while we’re breaking with tradition, it might be safer to say that the Golden Globes are now our chance to have that conversation.