British Museum attempts Roman Empire TikTok trend, fails miserably and gets called sexist

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Mar 7, 2024 at 03:16 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

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I never thought the British Museum would give me the ick, but surprise surprise, it’s managed to pull it off. Seemingly in an attempt to attract Gen Z audiences, one of the UK’s most prominent museums decided to share a video on its TikTok account encouraging single women to visit the museum’s new Roman exhibition and “walk around looking confused” in order to attract men. A lot of people have been calling this move “sexist,” but as far as I can see, it’s less sexist and more plain dumb. 

The video, which has now been deleted and removed from the museum’s page, was titled: “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.”

@hrhgeorgiana

trust me

♬ queen of disaster with sparkles - ˚ ˚。° ⋆♡˚🎀 ꒰ ྀི ◞ ˕ ก ꒱ ⭐️

The caption below also allegedly read: “Come for the Romans, stay for romance.” I know, I’m also physically cringing at this one.

While it’s evident that the museum was simply trying to ride the coattails of the Roman Empire TikTok trend that dominated everyone’s FYPs back in September 2023—only six months late but, you know, that’s okay—the video felt awkward and it was very much giving ‘try-hard’.

@screenshothq

How often do YOU think about the Roman Empire?🥴🏛️ This trend has gone viral as women have been asking the men in their lives how often they think about the Roman Empire, with the answers taking everyone by surprise. Welcome back to On The Spot, where trending topics meet next generation voices #romanempire #romanempirememes #romanempiretrend #streetinterview #london

♬ romans revenge x 1991 - normanrockwellvintage
@ambarrail

This trend is incredible. Some of the best ones #romanempire #romanempirecompilation

♬ original sound - Alexia B.

Some netizens even found the video offensive and misogynistic. One social media user, named Vixen Science told The Independent: “I got the reference; I still thought the post was crap. The last thing we need is more stereotyping of history as belonging to men, whether tongue-in-cheek or not.”

Moreover, as reported by the publication, Oxford Brookes University Professor Alexandra Wilson wrote on X: “Really misguided marketing approach, British Museum—really alienating to your (very broad) audience to presume they would ‘get’ the intertextual reference to something on TikTok. This ‘irony’ was bound to go wrong.”

Naturally there were also a lot of conservatives who deemed the outage another classic case of “woke gone wild”:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about sourcing new locations for scouting out men, but this lame attempt seriously fell flat. Although, that being said, who would ever expect a museum to bash out actual humour?

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