You’ve probably seen memes floating around the internet talking about Marines and crayons. Surely it’s some kind of a joke but you have no idea what could be the connection. In fact, for anyone outside the military circle, it truly makes no sense.
Well, using some of the most popular crayon Marine meme choices, we’re attempting to explain what a US Marine has to do with a box of crayons? There are, essentially, two main catalysts for the stereotype which we’ll explore below. Read on.
“The instant realization that your child is gonna be a Marine.”
This first Marine crayon eater meme is a good place to start. In it, you see a young child eating crayons. The image isn’t all that surprising. After all, children will put almost anything in their mouths. It’s a very normal part of their development.
However, Marines seem to be compared to children due to a lack of intelligence. Logically, it’s not the most sensical thing to say since there’s actually nothing unintelligent about a young child developing in a natural way. But alas, this is a joke that’s not meant to be taken too literally.
So, why are the Marines seen as unintelligent? Essentially, the Marines are the gruntiest of the grunts and it’s considered more important to take action physically, not mentally.
It’s well known that the Air Force is the most difficult branch of the military to join in the educational sense. You need to do extremely well on the ASVAB test and many jobs in the Air Force require specialized skills.
On the other hand, becoming a Marine has more to do with physical fitness and pure grit in order to join. Marines are expected to follow orders and not ask questions. They’re put in the line of fire while relying on grunt force. In other words, Marines aren’t seen as whiz kids who strategize and make informed decisions based on intellect.
So, this stereotype – whether founded in truth or not – is what led to the Marines eat crayons joke and this meme capitalized on it. Only a child would eat crayons, right? Well, apparently the Marines are so daft that they’d also try them out. Look! Pretty colors!
Marine crayon meme #1: Shows us that people think Marines are no smarter than a small child.
“It’s not your fault guys. That crayon box did look like an MRE.”
This next Marine crayon meme shows a superior consoling his guys about eating crayons. The joke is that the Marines mistook their MRE (Meals Ready to Eat which are common in the military) for a box of crayons.
This meme relates more to the idea of brainwashing and “drinking the Kool-aid” and is the second part of the whole Marines eat crayons joke.
As we sort of mentioned above, Marines are expected to go headfirst into the line of fire, following orders and not asking questions. They’re considered to be hard-headed and susceptible to brainwashing which makes them ideal soldiers, but not the most rational.
But somebody’s gotta do it, right? Part of a Marine’s MO is that they’re willing to sacrifice their safety for the call of duty and they’ll put their country ahead of themselves if they’re doing their job as expected.
The thing is, this makes outsiders uncomfortable because they can get a little bit “rah-rah” about their title as a Marine. When they’re all “brainwashed” in the same way, they find a sense of community that others don’t really understand. Marines are then seen as having no thoughts of their own and easily drawn into the sheep mentality of falling in line.
But what does this have to do with eating crayons? Well, it goes back to the idea that they lack intelligence. Apparently, it’s assumed that you must have no brains at all if you don’t mind being “roped in” to a branch where all they need you to do follow orders and obey commands.
So, this Marine crayon meme exemplifies, in a very crude way, how leaders in the Marines aid in the stereotype that the Corps is full of brainwashed soldiers who blindly follow orders regardless of logic and rationale.
Marine Crayon Meme #2: Marines eat crayons because they’re not smart enough to think for themselves.
How a Marine Corps Crayon Meme Takes the Joke to New Level
As with anything on the internet, going viral only encourages the joke. The more people see it, the more people ask questions. Now, not only are people within the military getting in on the Marines eat crayons joke, thanks to these kinds of memes, non-military people are starting to take on the stereotype as truth.
Now, for the most part, Marines have a good sense of humor about it and aren’t easily offended by the joke, but when it comes from the wrong person (especially someone who hasn’t ever even served in the military) it could cause problems for something that is just meant to be a bit of good fun.
If you or anyone you know is in the military, you’d know that banter between people in your own branch and between other branches is all part of the deal. At the end of the day, a job in the military is one of the most stressful and demanding one can imagine. It makes sense that you’d find it necessary to blow off a little steam.
It seems that one of the healthiest ways to do that is by making jokes, even if they are at another group’s expense. So, when someone in the Navy or Army jokingly sends a box of crayons to a Marine’s table at an airport food court, they’re likely to shake hands by the end of it and both feel grateful that they were able to crack a smile today.
However, if random people on the internet who don’t really know what they’re talking about start anonymously ragging on the Marines, it’s safe to say that some might have a problem with it. And that seems like a fair response.
When memes and jokes start spreading online, there’s always the same problem. People are able to hide behind their computer screens and pretty much say whatever comes to mind. Most of these people reading the Marine crayon memes have no idea what a day in the life of a Marine is like, yet they’re commenting on why it’s funny that someone said they eat crayons.
It’s probable that the people creating a funny crayon Marine meme are military service members or even Marines themselves who don’t mind poking fun at their own stereotypes. But it’s possible that they don’t realize that these memes take the potentially harmful stereotype to the next level.
Now, people without the appropriate context are seeing these memes and making judgments of their own. Hopefully, Marines won’t pay much mind to the random internet trolls that fill online forums and countless comment sections. But, it could be detrimental to their overall image and might affect future recruits from wanting to join now that the joke is outside military walls.
Of course, all of this is speculation and simply a hypothesis based on how viral internet memes proliferate. Still, it’s worth considering. All one can hope for is that the Marines themselves know how appreciated they are for their brave contributions to the US Department of Defense.
And really – eating crayons? Is that the best anyone can do to try to insult the Marines? They definitely have better things to worry about.