Roman Empire: Much More Than Just a Trend.

With a trend that has taken the internet by storm, have you considered what your Roman Empire is?
With a trend that has taken the internet by storm, have you considered what your “Roman Empire” is?
Kaylynn Crawford

What is the meaning behind the “Roman Empire” trend?

The Roman Empire trend started with an Instagram Reel posted by @gaiusflavius, saying that women would be surprised at how often men think about the Romans, but has escaped the ‘social media bubble’ and flooded into everyday conversation.

After the trend initially blew up on Instagram, it started to spill onto TikTok as people began asking their friends and significant others what their Roman Empire was. People have started to use the term “Roman Empire” to describe things that they find themselves thinking about very frequently.

Why is it that men seem to think about the Roman Empire more than women?

In an interview with TIME, Mary Beard, a historian, talks about how men have a “desire to rule and conquer,” which is why they have such a pull towards the empire since it is best known for battles and ruling.

Beard shares “Ancient Rome is a kind of safe place for macho fantasies. It’s where we can pretend to be macho men. This must be part of the appeal.” She also says that it brings joy for people to be interested in the same thing for extended periods of time. This is why when people are asked what they think their Roman Empire is, they are able to talk about the things that they have thought about for so long.

Why did this trend take off?

When you think of participating in social media trends, you have to feel like you can be a part of it. One of the main reasons the Roman Empire trend took off so easily was because anyone could participate in it. Even if you are just asking someone about their version of a Roman Empire, it always seems to spark a long, in-depth conversation about the topic. In order to partake in this trend, all you have to do is ask/answer the pressing question; “What is your Roman Empire?” Since it does not take much to be a part of this, it has spread out of social media onto television shows, radio stations, and the news.

What is West High School’s “Roman Empire?”

Students responded to a survey sent out by Insider Staff asking them what their Roman Empire was, and the answers varied all the way from “I think of ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’ all of the time.” to “Discrimination in the music industry.”

The majority of the students polled expressed concern about real-world problems. This includes “the capability of the human body as we can just run marathons and lift 500 pounds,” and even “The rise of mental illness and substance abuse in children.”

What does this tell us?

Students share that they think about heavy topics as well. Things like “genocide” and “what happens after death.” Having these deeper topics frequently on their minds can distract them from school and cause issues further down the road.

The expression of all these serious topics shows us that students have a lot more on their minds than people might think. They all have different ways of understanding and coping with the things going on in the world around them.

A third-year student at West High, who chose to remain anonymous out of fear she would be harmed, bravely shares that her Roman empire is “As a trans woman, I am afraid of going to school. I’m scared and always overanalyzing the way people are looking or even talking to me.” She sheds light on the difficulties she encounters in an environment of minimal understanding and empathy for transgender individuals.

She shares “I walk into school with my head down and keep it that way until I get home. I spend my time in school thinking about how people feel about the way that I am, rather than the assignments in front of me. When I think about school, which is quite frequent for most juniors in high school, all I can think about is how unsafe I am. I’m terrified to be who I am and the thought will not leave my head.”

The student shares that the pain and discomfort of always being misgendered is something they can not bear to think about longer than they have to, but she does not “have much of a choice given the cards I have been dealt.” She shares how uncomfortable it makes her having to constantly think about teachers organizing her into gender groups, making her feel “misplaced in my own skin.”

I’ve been out for 4 years. I am a woman. I’m as much of a woman as any other girl here. I shouldn’t still have to constantly think about my own safety in school.

— Anonymous, 11th-grade student

The student shares that using the bathrooms poses a large challenge. She fears potential confrontations and misunderstandings. She is reluctant to use restrooms at school because she does not “want people to think I am weird or a creep. I just want to use the restroom like any other woman.” This fear leads to a lack of water consumption in order to stay away from having to use high school bathrooms. She states “I have to stop and take a deep breath when even thinking about using the bathroom because in order to do so, I have to go all the way to the nurse’s office so that I don’t get harassed.”

She continues to share “I overheard students in one of my classes completely enraged that someone tried to convince them trans kids are just like any other kid. I had to physically run out of class to refrain from lashing out. How is a person finding who they really are affecting you as a person?”

The anonymous student reiterates that this is her Roman Empire because it is the one thing, without a doubt, she finds herself thinking about every day. She says “I’m supposed to feel safe in this building, but I feel far from that.”

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About the Contributor
Kaylynn Crawford, Opinion and Arts & Entertainment Editor
(she/her) Kaylynn Crawford is a junior at West High and this is her first year on Wahawk Insider. Outside of Wahawk Insider, you can always find Kaylynn on the West High stages performing Theater Arts and Music. When Kaylynn isn’t on the stage, reading, or writing, she loves to be around her friends playing games and relaxing.
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