The Women of the Far Right
Social Media Influencers and Online Radicalization
by Eviane Leidig
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Pub Date 19 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 27 Dec 2023
On mainstream social media platforms, far-right women make extremism relatable. They share Instagram stories about organic foods that help pregnant women propagate the “pure” white race and post behind-the-scenes selfies at antivaccination rallies. These social media personalities model a feminine lifestyle, at once promoting their personal brands and radicalizing their followers. Amid discussions of issues like dating, marriage, and family life, they call on women to become housewives to counteract the corrosive effects of feminism and champion the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which motivated massacres in Christchurch, El Paso, and Buffalo.
Eviane Leidig offers an in-depth look into the world of far-right women influencers, exploring the digital lives they cultivate as they seek new recruits for white nationalism. Going beyond stereotypes of the typical male white supremacist, she uncovers how young, attractive women are playing key roles as propagandists, organizers, fundraisers, and entrepreneurs. Leidig argues that far-right women are marketing themselves as authentic and accessible in order to reach new followers and spread a hateful ideology. This insidious—and highly gendered—strategy takes advantage of the structure of social media platforms, where far-right women influencers’ content is shared with and promoted to mainstream audiences. Providing much-needed expertise on gender and the far right, this timely and accessible book also details online and offline approaches to countering extremism.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eviane Leidig is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at Tilburg University. She is affiliated with the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo, the Global Network on Extremism and Technology in London, and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. She has been featured in The Independent, Al Jazeera, BBC, Australia Broadcasting Corporation, and Bellingcat, among others.
"Women of the Far Right explores how female influencers shape the discourse, norms and practices of the far right and participate in the mobilization of new supporters. The book shapes how important the role of far-right women influencers is in the overall cultural polarization and social conflicts in Western societies, and thus how they are expanding the scope of what far-right ideology means and its social impact."
--Arie Perliger, author of America’s Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism