Inane Celebrity 'Hand Heart' Gesture Explained

You may have noticed a new pose appearing in photos of celebrities. The "hand heart" is horning in on the peace sign's territory, but now the "demure, loving" gesture has sparked arguments over who created it.

The symbol has been around for quite some time, which of course means the New York Times Style Section is ready to declare it a hot new trend. The hand heart has been featured in everything from a LensCrafters ad to the opening credits of Ice Loves Coco. Celebrities including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Blake Lively, Jordin Sparks, Katy Perry, and Janet Jackson, have also flashed the sign. It's been popping up in even more stars' Twitter and Facebook accounts in recent weeks to due to the charity Show Your Hearts, which supports a family involved in a tragic fatal car crash.

Taylor Swift is credited with popularizing hand hearting, and she suggests to the Times that she may have invented it. She says she started doing it in pictures and out of car windows when she was in high school. She adds:

"At the end of my sophomore year, I left school and went out on a radio tour to play free show after free show ... I was an unknown act playing shows night after night, and I was constantly trying out all kinds of different moves to try and get a response from the audience."

The hand heart got a huge response, so Swift began doing it frequently, to the point that fans consider it hers alone. When Lady Gaga started making the sign in photos, and even her video for "Judas," fans on Swift message boards accused her of plagiarism. (According to her critics, Gaga is just an amalgamation of bits "stolen" from every artist on the planet.) The commenter Longlivetaylor explains that they were enraged because it was, "like a code word almost, special to us swifties and now everyone is going to start doing so it won't feel special anymore."

Swifties must be feeling profoundly unspecial now that the gesture has made it to the Times. It seems the world was crying out for what Swift says is a way to express, "something between ‘I love you' and ‘thank you.'" The move is a bit cloying, but in celebrities' defense, Jack Donaghy informed us that actors never know what to do with their arms. We'd imagine stars are similarly lost when 10,000 strangers are repeatedly screaming that they love them.

When Two Thumbs Down Are a Sign of Approval [NYT]