Meme Characters with Hateful Uses
Anton Chigurh - (Meme)
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 - (Meme)
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.
Gigachad - (Meme)
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 - (Meme)
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 satirization of Gamergate that relied on using alt-right tropes and aesthetics, and which openly spread hate speech.
Mommy E-Thot - (Meme)
Mommy E-Thot is a meme character that is often depicted with a frustrated face and dressed in a tank top adorned with her name. Her likeness suggests a condemnation of perceived promiscuity, and is used in hateful memes to promote misogyny, particularly against sex workers.
NPC - (Meme)
NPC (Non-Playable Character) memes emerged in 2016 on 4Chan. In video games, an NPC is a character that the player interacts with, but cannot play as. NPCs often have limited vocabularies, and exist for the main character to interact with and forward their story. Calling someone an NPCs is an insult used to dehumanize people by representing them as unimportant, irrelevant, and unoriginal. In hate speech, this intentionally dehumanizes the target. In far-right online spaces, NPCs are used to depict people who embrace progressive political beliefs or those uninitiated into online culture.
Patrick Bateman - (Meme)
Patrick Bateman is the protagonist in the 2001 film American Psycho, portrayed by Christian Bale, who has become a meme character. Unlike the movie, which portrays Bateman as thin skinned, shallow and unduly violent, some online subcultures venerate his displays of male aggression, and use his likeness to symbolize praise for one’s extreme politics, in some cases to promote political violence. Due to the character’s expressed misogyny, he is sometimes used in memes to promote gendered violence.
Soyjack - (Meme)
Also appears as: Nu-Male Mouth or Cuckface
Soyjak is a version of a Wojak meme, often used to mock participants in niche subcultures. In far-right hate memes, soyjaks represent men that are portrayed as less masculine than they are, including “soyboys” and “white knights”. In the collection of websites, blogs, and forums promoting toxic masculinity and misogyny known as the manosphere, this often means “beta” or “omega” males, who they believe are inferior to “alpha” and “sigma” males.
Soyjaks, along with the “soy boy” stereotype they represent in web comics, are a fictitious and theoretical lower class of men. Rather than traditionally masculine tropes like “Chads,” soy boys are often negatively associated with femininity, homosexuality, and gender fluidity. In far-right online spaces the caricature is used to represent the emotional expression of men made to be emasculated. There are variations of the Soyjak meme with different facial expressions, such as variations of an open-mouthed smile known as “soy face.”
Tradwife - (Meme)
Also appears as: Tradgirl
Tradwife is a meme character exemplifying the concept of a woman with a preference for traditional gender roles. Though the concept itself is not hateful, it is a central trope for many hateful ideologies which promote a strict adherence to traditionalism. In hateful memes, Tradwife is often used to provide a positive contrast to Mommy E-Thot characters, which are more often than not depicted as promiscuous and immoral.
Wojak - (Meme)
Also appears as: Feels Guy
Wojak is a meme character portraying a bald man with a sad facial expression. It is often used to represent negative or melancholy feelings. The simple template of Wojak has resulted in numerous variations and iterations, and the character has numerous non-hateful uses, but it does also regularly appear in hateful spaces.
Yes Chad - (Meme)
Also appears as: Nordic Gamer
Yes Chad is a meme comic character used to represent “Chads” in web comics and is most often representative of a stubborn, hypermasculine indifference or evasion in response to criticism. In hateful memes, this criticism is usually moral opposition to bigotry. Traditionally, Yes Chad responds to long text blocks from other characters, including NPCs, Wojaks, and Soyjaks, by saying “yes”. He is usually blond-haired and blue-eyed and in a specific context can represent white men specifically. Variations are sometimes used to represent specific ethnicities, and often serve to reinforce and promote existing stereotypes or racial hierarchies.
These lists are continually updated, and should not be considered comprehensive. Suggestions for future inclusions can be sent to neuberger [at] ujafed.org
French translations of each symbol will be available in November 2022.