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Group Name Misinterpretations refers to a series of memes which interpret names of various groups such as pansexuals, asexuals, Millennials, accelerationists, capitalists in literal or incorrect ways, such as assuming that pansexuals would have a sexual preference for pans, or that capitalists would be preoccupied with caps or country capitals. The trope is best known for the Pansexuals Are Attracted to Pans joke.
On August 3rd, 2012, Twitter user @ramones_shirt made the earliest known joke based on the misinterpretation of the word "pansexual" as a person who would be attracted to pans (post shown below, top left). I the following years, multiple users made the same joke on Twitter and other online platforms (examples shown below, top right and bottom left), with multiple users recognizing the joke as being overused (post shown below, bottom right).
On May 8th, 2017, Twitter user @thememesconnect posted the first viral meme based on the joke, with the tweet gaining over 800 retweets and 1,600 likes (screenshot shown below). In the following years. the screenshot of the tweet was reposted multiple times on Reddit, Instagram and other online platforms.
In the following years, more memes based on the joke were posted by users online. For example, a May 19th, 2018, post by an unknown Redditor received over 670 upvotes (shown below, left). A June 16th, 2019, 60's Spiderman post by Redditor SofrhorDragon received over 1,500 upvotes (shown below, center). An August 25th, 2019, Anthony Adams Rubbing Hands meme by Redditor raggedyman11 gained over 40,100 upvotes in /r/dankmemes in three months (shown below, right).
Starting in Summer 2019, memes based on the incorrect interpretation of names of various sociopolitical groups such as contrarians, centrists and accelerationists gained significant popularity in GIF captions on iFunny. For example, an August 27th, 2019, K's Scream post by iFunny user Dronom imagining accelerationists as people who would be disappointed about their metabolism slowing down gained over 580 smiles in four months (shown below, right). A post by iFunny user YeahBuoy made on the same day received over 1,500 smiles in the same period (shown below, right).
The trend gained more pronounced spread on the iFunny in early November 2019. For example, a November 7th, 2019, post by iFunny user xmas received over 320 smiles in two weeks (shown below, left). A same day post by user flonp received over 600 smiles in the same period (shown below, right).
On November 7th, 2019, Redditor Mottly24 posted a meme based on the Spanish version of the joke to /r/dankmemes, receiving over 19,900 upvotes (shown below, left). On November 12th, Redditor kayneshaw posted another meme about pansexuals to /r/dankmemes, receiving over 24,900 upvotes (shown below, center). On November 13th, 2019, Redditor zenothethot posted a GIF caption meme about asexuals to /r/okbuddyretard, with the post receiving over 33,000 upvotes in nine days (shown below, right).
Starting in mid-November 2019, the format gained a significant presence on major meme communities on Reddit, also spreading to Twitter and Instagram.