'Getting by’ on 4chan: Feminine self-presentation and capital-claiming in antifeminist Web space

Keywords: 4chan, gender, anonymity, subcultural capital

Abstract

The Internet imageboard 4chan is often believed to be a hub of fascism, white supremacism, and violent misogyny. The popular press associates 4chan with ‘incels’ (involuntarily celibate men), using the site to vent their rage at women. Yet a significant minority of posters on the site are female, and/or present themselves as such. These posters use various strategies to negotiate a space for identity-construction and to build subcultural capital within an antifeminist Web space, a striking development in what Amy Shields Dobson calls the process of ‘getting by’ in postfeminist neoliberal culture. By quantifying and analysing these strategies, whilst restraining the rush to ethical judgement typical to discussion of 4chan, this study aims to resituate 4chan’s feminine users from passive objects of violence to active participants in the site’s culture and influence.

Author Biography

Judith May Fathallah, Lancaster University Management School

Outreach and Research Associate in the Lancaster University Management School. Her interests are digital and new media, fan cultures, gender, online cultures, and media convergence. She is the author of Fanfiction and the author: How fanfic changes popular cultural texts (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and Emo: How fans defined a subculture (University of Iowa Press, 2020).

Published
2021-05-19
How to Cite
Fathallah, J. M. (2021). ’Getting by’ on 4chan: Feminine self-presentation and capital-claiming in antifeminist Web space. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.10449