Internet Memes with Hateful Uses
Anton Chigurh is the antagonist in the 2007 film No Country for Old Men, portrayed by Javier Bardem who has become a meme character. Chigurh memes find use in hateful contexts, where they can be used to express disillusion with the current state of the world and to celebrate or encourage violence, reflecting the actions of the character in the film.
Art Hoe Wojak
Art Hoe Wojak is a meme character depicting a young woman, typically sporting red hair, round frame glasses, and a choker necklace. The character embodies a stereotypical, university-aged, politically progressive young woman, and it is sometimes used in dehumanizing and misogynistic memes that mock women who do not conform to traditional gendered expectations and roles.
Ay Tone/Paulie Gualitieri
"Ay Tone" is a meme format featuring the character Paulie Gualtieri from the TV show The Sopranos. The format has Gualtieri asking an unseen Tony Soprano, referred to as 'Tone', a question which is most often related to the background of the image. In recent years, neo-Nazis and other antisemites have co-opted the format in order to promote Holocaust denial. 'Ay Tone' memes often use covert references and dogwhistles alluding to aspects of Holocaust denial in order to circumvent the community guidelines of the platform on which they are posted.
Brainlet is a series of wojak images depicting a character with a small brain, which either protrudes from their face, or has been smashed in. The meme is often used to mock people who express differents points of view than those of the poster, in particular in the context of political discussions. Its use is also sometimes used to mock and dehumanized people with intellectual disabilities.
Chads and Stacies
"Chad" and "Stacy" (plural Stacies) are memetic archetypes popular in online communities and internet memes. Chad and Stacy represent heterosexual cisgender men and women, respectively, that are unintelligent but physically fit, and are defined primarily by their perceived sexual appeal. Both archetypes are representative of traits that are hated in Manosphere movements such as incels. However, "Stacy", was historically used as a lens to view all women who are sexually active, and such, was an outlet for especially extreme hatred.
Though Chads and Stacies were common early in their popularity in misogynist communities, they have been normalized in popular meme culture for years, including in memes that satirize and outright mock their meanings. As such, the uses of these tropes is not necessary hateful.
Coomer is a Wojak character, depicted as withered and sickly due to an unhealthy addiction to pornography. Though usage of this meme is not strictly hateful, it is often used as part of anti-masturbation and anti-pornography arguments by white nationalists and groups like the Proud Boys, as well as in the context of antisemitic conspiracy theories involving Jewish control of the pornography industry.
Day of the Rake/The Leaf
A meme referencing the Day of the Rope that originated on 4chan, where “leaf” is slang for a Canadian user. Day of the Rake memes are an ironic call for violence against Canadians, often invoking imagery of leaves being burned or scattered.
"Doomer" is a memetic term for people, most often teenagers and young adults, who have embraced a nihilistic view of the world as a result of the online information and content that they personally absorb. It is often represented by a sleep-deprived Wojak. Doomer is not a hateful term or a hateful meme, but the outlook and the visual representation of doomers can be used by hate movements to sympathize with disenfranchised youth.
Gigachad is a meme character based on a series of heavily modified greyscale photographs by Russian photographer Krista Sudmalis. Similar to Yes Chad, Gigachad is used to express support or praise for one’s politics or actions in some hateful memes. The Gigachad is also used in non-hateful contexts to satirize an “optimized”, or efficient and productive person.
The character often personifies a extreme perception of traditional masculinity. For example, within incel communities Gigachad can be used to represent genetic superiority and desirability. White supremacists sometimes use Gigachad as an avatar for themselves, their movement, or white men more generally.
Joker is a villain from the Batman franchise. The character is often depicted in various movies, television shows, and comics as a nihilistic, destructive, and violent figure. He is used as a meme character in hateful contexts to express discontent with the world, sometimes to celebrate or encourage acts of political violence. There are numerous meme formats that include the Joker character, not all of which are inherently hateful. Context and conveyed message need to be carefully considered when evaluating such memes.
An example of the Joker being used as a hateful meme character was when it was coopted by Gamers Rise Up, a movement that started as a satire of Gamergate that relied on using alt-right tropes and aesthetics, and which openly spread hate speech.
These lists are continually updated, and should not be considered comprehensive. Suggestions for future inclusions can be sent to info [at] thethm.org.