‘Florida Man’, ‘Florida Woman’: Arts potential crosses all genres

Florida oranges image Indie Art South

Five or six years ago I remember the meme “Florida Man” popping up on social media. There was a rebirth recently with ‘memesters’ recommending people input the term “Florida Man” into a search bar and add their birthday to see what popped up. The term is now part of the pop culture media canon, with the equivalent “Florida Woman” gaining ground as well. These themes have potential for all manner of art. There is, however, a serious equality problem with these memes.

Florida Beach photo; Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Florida Beach photo; Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

First, take a look at some of the stories editors slugged “Florida Man” or “Florida Woman”. Many are funny in a dark kind of way:

Florida man threatened to destroy town with army of turtles

Florida man stages fake DUI trial to propose to his girlfriend

‘Yeah, it was buzzed’: Watch a Florida woman rescue a snake from a beer can

Florida woman’s naked stroll through I-95 traffic is ‘epic moment in Florida history’

You could fill a book with stories about Florida Man or Florida woman. Or write a great, hopefully comic song. Or do a photo album. Or paint on canvas. Whatever.

Some of the stories you find are so tragic that there’s nothing to laugh about. Others are tragic but make you chuckle in spite of your better self, such as the story of the Florida woman who held up a mail carrier with a toy gun and then fled on a tricycle. You cannot make this stuff up.

Florida Man has etched his way into pop history with his very own entry at Wikipedia. Maybe there’s still some chivalry among the editors at the pop culture “encyclopedia,”—I couldn’t locate a page for “Florida Woman” there.

We should demand equality for Florida Woman! Urban Dictionary has entries for Florida Woman and Florida Man. This, my people, is enlightenment.

Artists, take heart. Write that song. Shoot that photo. Paint that canvas. Florida Man and Florida Woman could fuel a comic strip if the right creative talent tackled the subject. They’re practically begging to be immortalized in your creations.

As a Florida resident, I groan every time I hear something bizarre about my state in the news. I remember my mother’s comment when we told her we planned to move here:

“Florida? That’s where all those serial killers come from.”

For more fun, input “Florida Man” or “Florida Woman” into a social media search bar. Twitter has some good stuff tucked in between all the political rants. I’d caution people to refrain, though, from doing a search like that and including your real birthday. Giving up your birthday is giving up some serious personal property in the form of private information. It’s like all those quizzes you see on social media—the more info you put in a field, the more of your personal property you are sharing, and there are interests on the global Web only too happy to exploit you.

(Kay B. Day/April 10, 2019)






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