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‘Ohio-bashing’ is inescapable. Why are people bashing Ohio on TikTok?

Why does it feel like everyone on TikTok is suddenly talking about Ohio?

One of the most fascinating things about TikTok is how a trend can suddenly sneak up on you. One day you might not have heard of a meme, but the next, it’s all over your For You page. And it almost seems like the entire internet is just this one meme. 

This is very true about memes focused on the state of Ohio. Many people are discovering that their TikTok is suddenly covered with memes focused on and mocking the 7th most-populated American state. But what is “Ohio-Bashing,” and why did it become a meme? 

The origins of Ohio-Bashing

Interestingly, memes about Ohio are far from new. Anti-Ohio memes have their origins way back in 2016 when a Tumblr user named screenshotofdespair posted a picture of a bus station sign that read: “Ohio will be eliminated.”

This picture quickly went viral on the site, and people started building on the concept. The image got reposted on many other websites, further increasing its virality. In 2017, Reddit user chukotkaa edited a joke map titled “How far away is Ohio,” transforming it into “Danger Presented by Ohio.” And, like the previous image, this also went viral, with many users making their own version of this meme.

And after this, the Ohio memes continued. In 2018 an image of Garfield with the text “Time to nuke Ohio” became popular, being reposted on several subreddits and other image platforms. However, this whole thing reached its zenith in 2019, when someone posted an MS Paint version of the widespread “Its all America” meme with it changed so that the entire world is Ohio. (Incidentally, this meme would evolve into the more-viral “Two Astronauts” meme we know today.)

Soon after, two popular meme accounts were made. On Facebook, there was “Posting that one Ohio meme every single day,” and OhioHateMemes was set up on iFunny. Further spreading the concept of memes focused on hating Ohio. And this trend continued to grow, with many memes posting images of Ohio invading other states or taking over the entirety of America. 

This meme soon spread to TikTok, with people posting weird or odd videos with the caption “Only in Ohio,” or “Normal day in Ohio” implying the state is full of peculiar and confusing things, almost as if it’s the Twilight Zone of the USA. And these memes have also spread to other platforms, with many giving classic meme templates an Ohio-themed twist. 

@_s3m1h_

Normal day in Ohio 💀💀💀#fy

♬ Swag Like Ohio – Lil B
@slimreeper55

Ohio🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

♬ original sound – SlimReeper55

In June of 2022, this meme transformed again when the term “Ohio Syndrome” was coined. A play on the Japanese and Chinese concept of “Paris syndrome” (where people develop a deep sadness when they discover Paris isn’t as good as the romanticized version they’ve imagined), Ohio Syndrome is described as:

“The overwhelming sense of despair experienced by most individuals when visiting Ohio, who feel that the state is just as bad as they expected.”

So it seems that Ohio is one of those concepts that has just captured the internet’s imagination. Spawning loads of different meme trends just because the concept amuses the internet hivemind and its inherent surrealness allows it to be applied to many different meme formats.

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About the author

Jonathon Greenall

Jonathon Greenall is a news and SEO writer for We Got This Covered. Jonathon has been a freelance media writer for several years and has appeared on several sites, including CBR and Enbylife. They're also an experienced TTRPG designer, and their games have been featured on Gizmodo, TechRaptor, and other outlets. Jonathon is a lifelong fan of movies, comic books, and anime and has covered everything from the latest big hits to obscure forgotten media.