The Story Behind That Viral Hillary Clinton Emoji Meme Is Actually Kind of Ironic

Lauren Tuck
News Editor
Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee on Tuesday night. She will become the first woman in U.S. history to secure the presidential nomination of one of the country’s two major political parties. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first female Democratic nominee for president. “To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want — even president. Tonight is for you,” she shared on social media, where the politician celebrated the momentous occasion along with her supporters. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more platforms saw trending hashtags such as #ImWithHer, #ShesWithUs, #HistoryMade, #HillYes as well as photos and memes.


One of the most popular Internet reactions came courtesy of Laura Olin who made emoji art consisting of 43 old white men, one middle-aged black guy, and a blonde woman. Inspired by an illustration Patrick Moberg composed in November 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president, she decided to update it for the emoji generation. 

“I’m a digital strategist by profession, so I thought it had a decent chance of getting some pick-up given how big the moment was and the fact that a lot of people would likely be watching the news last night,” she tells Yahoo Style.

Olin, who’s a digital strategist working on Democratic campaigns, received 4,870 retweets and 5,940 likes on her initial post. Soon after, she saw celebrities, influencers, and media companies “pull a Fat Jewish” and share the image without credit. While she recognizes that “this is just what the Internet is like now,” Olin found it particularly ironic that men, attempting to praise a woman, appropriated another woman’s work.



“A male friend of mine recently apologized for thinking ill of me for talking so much about getting credit for things after he saw women he works with have their work appropriated again and again,” she wrote. “I’m still not completely over the fact that so many white men took credit for a year and a half of the hardest work of my life. I wish I could. So if you see a woman going a tiny bit crazy about credit, please give her the benefit of the doubt that there’s a real reason for it. And if you’re a white man, don’t be a part of the problem: Give people credit. Believe your friends. Apologize to them if you get it wrong.” 


This isn’t Olin’s first viral hit. Having previously worked as the social media director for President Obama’s re-election campaign, she says that making clickable stuff is basically her job. Remember the “Four more years” tweet that was the most retweeted post ever for a while? Her team conceived that. 

As for her latest success though, she admits that the emoji art was just to amuse herself. “Sometimes emoji express things words just can’t.”

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