Often large enough to cover an entire wall, mandala tapestries are multi-colored patterned cloths that feature various types of “sacred geometry” shapes. While they have ancient religious roots, they’ve become aligned with a sort of hippie-washed, pseudo-spiritual form of consumerism — especially among the kind of woman who’d hang a mandala tapestry on her wall in the first place.
Who is the woman who has this type of fabric hanging on her wall, though? She probably smokes weed, watches The Office and generally identifies as a liberal. She might be a little bit toxic or promiscuous, but she means well. Her choice of lighting for her bedroom is Christmas lights strung to accent the tapestry, which she got for $15 at a local head shop and/or Tibetan store in the town where she attends college (though she has zero connection or claim to the Buddhist or Hindu origins of the designs). All this is to say, she’s kind of mid.
At least, this is what the endless supply of memes about mandala tapestries would have you believe. For years now, the internet has been awash with accusations and descriptions of what kind of woman has this all-too-familiar decor. She’s become the female version of the guy who doesn’t have a bed frame, subjected to much of our projections about the ways certain types of people are. It’s fun to categorize people according to material possessions, and the mandala tapestry is a particularly rich source of this type of delineation.
Such is the case with our current “mid” moment, too. Over the weekend, @tinywienerbabe tweeted, “We need a pride flag for mid women,” referencing the current trend of labeling average, normal women as mediocre or “mid.” In response, @tillamundo posted a picture of a mandala tapestry. Elsewhere on Twitter, there are dozens of tweets that label it as a red flag or say things like, “If she has a tapestry on her wall, just focus on yourself, king.”
Toxicity and sexuality are common themes with mandala tapestry memes, with some citing such tapestries as a sign that a woman might be crazy, but great in bed. Others say it means that she’s a freak or down to have sex right away. Several TikToks play out a scenario where a guy comes over to a girl’s place for the first time, but she suggests she’s not going to hook up with him. He then turns and sees the tapestry, and knows that she’s lying because the tapestry is common ho decor.
The mandala tapestry is the most common target of these types of jokes, but nearly any tapestry that could be sold at Urban Outfitters can also serve as a punchline. If it’s at all astrology-related or otherwise “witchy” or “hippie,” it counts.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a cheap piece of fabric used to make a room feel a bit more home-y. While she might get treated like the guy without a bedframe, a tired trope in its own right, the girl with the mandala tapestry is at least putting some effort into making her room look nice, even if she’s misguided in her attempt.
In fact, her commitment to unoriginality is almost commendable. In a world where we’re all trying to be different, the tapestry girl seems perfectly content to be, well, mid.