Content creator inspires discussion through nostalgic memes
Lydia B., known online as “Klit Klittredge”, takes inspiration for her content from American Girl, a popular doll and toy brand known well by 90s and 2000s kids. Photo courtesy of Thomas Howard / Flickr
Humorous phenomena taking the form of pictures, videos, and sounds, known as “memes,” have been taking the world by storm for as long as most of us can remember. They spark joy, help us to cope or distract us from life’s troubles, and even inspire discussion about the world around us. Many know what it is like to scroll through one’s phone looking at these memes, but few understand what it is like to be the brains behind the screen. Lydia B., a humble 24-year-old from Kentucky, ranks among these individuals.
Living a Hannah Montana-esque double life, Lydia navigates work and life as any young woman in her 20s would, but when she wants to escape or express herself, she takes to the internet as her own online persona – Klit Klittredge.
Just over a year old, @Klit.Klittredge has been inspiring fans and making them laugh through nostalgic and off-beat memes, referred to affectionately as “shitposts.” Her page currently amasses more than 50,000 followers on Instagram and 30,000 followers on Twitter. Her content, which takes the aesthetic of American Girl, a brand well known to millennials and “zoomers,” utilizes an ironic, out-of-context sense of humor to intrigue viewers seeking to find the absurd on the internet. Whether it be references to history, pop culture, or politics, Klit Klittedge’s memes inspire not only giggles but also thoughtful discussion and debate over relevant topics and issues affecting the real world. An influencer who is always open to communicating with supporting her college-aged fans, Lydia was ecstatic to sit down for a Zoom interview with us here at the Snapper.
In reality a bright, bespectacled sweetheart, Lydia B. earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Louisville before moving to Washington DC, where she now works in the non-profit sector. It was during this time when she gained inspiration to start the now popular meme page.
“It was the Summer of 2021, and I would be talking to my friends from work about the memes and ‘shitposts’ that were circulating the internet at the time,” said Lydia, “I had started up meme pages before, but none of They accumulated more than 1,000 or so followers. Once I started, I began posting content on my personal account before creating a separate page once they started taking off.”
Aiming for an initial goal of 10,000 followers, Lydia B. quickly became known for her online content and persona as Klit Klittredge, inspired by the name of Kit Kittredge, a character in the American Girl franchise, whose story takes place during the Great Depression and follows themes of friendship, classism, and the growing middle-working class of the period. Adding the “L’”s in the name, as a potential reference to the clitoris in homage to the women’s issues as the focal point of some of her content, Lydia formed the persona known to tens of thousands of fans today.
Inspired by her interest and thoughts regarding history and politics, she would post whatever came to her mind. A 2000s kid herself, Lydia thought that using American Girl dolls, as well as the references and aesthetic, for her posts would induce nuance and nostalgia, creating further interest from both the doll collecting community and people of her age group with similar interests. This unintentionally sparked a trend in meme culture, where other accounts began posting similarly themed content, inspired by the ironic historical and political humor that made Klit Klittredge so popular. Dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of copycat or similar meme pages now exist, producing a subgenre of its own.
Lydia also uses Klit Klittredge to navigate the internet as a personality unlike her own.
“She has a no-nonsense way about her, a sense of being bigger than herself,” says Lydia, “she is me in a lot of ways, but meaner, and blunt. She’s very wicked and uses irony, often jokingly shaming fans as a form of humor because she doesn’t seem to understand why people like her or why she has so many ‘fans’.”
Klit Klittredge does not just post about her account but also interacts with viewers as well. By posting to her Instagram story and conversing with fans in comment sections and direct messages, she gets the opportunity to get to know fans, understand their interests, and even make friends with people around the world.
Regarding her relationships with fans as an influencer, Lydia elaborates, “I have a very different relationship with content creators than I used to. I don’t think my personality has changed. However, managing an online page has certainly changed my perspective on parasocial relationships and interactions with social media personalities.”
While most of Klit Klittredge’s content is for the sake of humor, her page also brings to light a wide range of current and historic political and social issues, including but not limited to classism, abortion, religion, feminism, legalization of marijuana, and portrayals of women in the media. Lydia claims she takes inspiration from the leftist perspective of “commie” memes and forums to create the bold rhetoric commonly found in her posts. Using the American Girl brand aesthetic as a template for her work, the issues she discusses not only raises awareness but also spark enlightening debate and discussion. Viewers flood the comment section with talking points and ideas, while also sharing the posts on their own Instagram stories to spread awareness and inspire discussion from their own friends and followers. Although she turns down paid sponsorships and collaborations, she works with non-profit organizations, such as advocacy, to post about more specific social issues.
While discussing politics may seem exhausting to some, Lydia sees the discussion of political and social issues through jokes and jabs at the world and the government as something that comes naturally to her.
“I never want to take myself too seriously,” says Lydia, “but politics is important to me, and since I have a degree and am very fascinated with topics and issues in that field, it is often what I think about and therefore post to my page … I knew there was salient cultural conversation. The content that does the best is reflective of American culture and politics. Maybe it is because people see themselves in the meme. These are issues that affect people viewing my content in real life, and it creates a huge shift in how people view and react to these topics.”
Running a meme page can certainly be an exciting pastime, as Lydia points out, but there are also risks and challenges that come with it. Back in July, a New York Times article about Klit Klittredge exposed Lydia’s true identity and job, forcing her to lay low for some time to protect her privacy. The Klit Klittedge Instagram account temporarily went private to protect its owner from harassment online. Instead of letting her guard down, however, Lydia decided to make a positive out of the negative situation by getting clout from her now private account, hyping up those who were “worthy” for her to accept follow requests, and even accepting requests to block the ex-boyfriends and enemies of her loyal followers as part of an inside joke. The Klit Klittedge Instagram account has since been set back to public.
Many fans would expect an influencer to release merchandise, go on tour, or otherwise capitalize on their newfound popularity, but Klit Klittredge makes an exception to this rule. As a former college student herself, Lydia understands where many of her young adult followers are coming from, believing that “draining their finances” is unnecessary and goes against her personal values. Instead, she sees Klit Klittredge as an opportunity to connect with people through her humor and desire to raise awareness of topics that matter to her.
“I have a steady job, a 9 to 5 where I can work from home, I have what I need in terms of money,” Lydia states, “I consider myself anti-capitalist in a way that I avoid trying to make a profit out of my page or my fans. I understand that a lot of people who view my page are college students… I don’t want them to be dropping $40 on merch for me. I’m also against the unethical practices of many businesses and vendors that would want to sell my merchandise, which is also why I don’t plan to sell anything or try to make money out of this in the future. This is something I do as a hobby, because I enjoy it and making people happy, not because I want to turn a profit.”
After asking questions about her page and persona, the time came to close the formal interview. As a fellow political science major, Lydia asked to “pick my brain for a bit,” and we discussed local and state politics and our careers and adult life. This conversation, while seemingly meaningless to an outsider, proves that influencers, meme page admins, digital activists, or whatever you choose to call them, are genuine people with their own passions, interests, and offline personalities. Lydia B. is an example of why many people choose to become content creators – because they wish to raise awareness of topics dear to them through humor and amusement. We look forward to seeing how Lydia B. and Klit Klittredge grow and develop in terms of creating interesting content and bringing to light important topics and issues as she continues to inspire meme lovers around the world.