British Museum Issues Apology for Controversial Meme Linked to Roman Exhibition

The British Museum found itself in hot water over the weekend following a social media post promoting its exhibit on Roman military history, which seemingly suggested that single women could attract men by appearing confused at the show.

Posted on March 3, the meme encouraged female attendees to adopt a bewildered expression while visiting the “Legion: Life in the Roman Army” exhibition, implying that this would prompt a man to approach and explain the displays. The museum claimed that the post was inspired by a popular TikTok trend where women ask their male partners about their thoughts on the Roman Empire.

However, the British Museum’s attempt at humor fell flat. The now-deleted post read: “Girlies, if you’re single and looking for a man, this is your sign to go to the British Museum’s new exhibition, Life in the Roman Army, and walk around looking confused. You’re welcome x.”

Social media users, including academics based in London and Oxford, were quick to express their disapproval of the message. Alexandra Wilson, a professor of music and cultural history at Oxford Brookes University, criticized the museum’s marketing strategy as “misguided,” stating that it was presumptuous to assume that the audience would understand the TikTok reference.

In response to the backlash, the British Museum clarified that the post was intended to parody a meme where “mansplaining” is mocked. They emphasized that they did not genuinely believe women needed to feign ignorance or seek dates at the exhibition.

“We can assure you that we are not actually suggesting that women need to look for dates or pretend to be stupid,” the museum stated, offering apologies to anyone who may have been offended by the meme without understanding its broader context.