Shieldmaidens of Whiteness: (Alt) Maternalism and Women Recruiting for the Far/Alt-Right
Keywords:Alt/Far Right, Gender, Recruitment, Extremism, Discourse
In this paper, I outline the narrative frameworks that Far/Alt-Right women use to negotiate their place within extremist ideologies. My analysis focuses on videos made by Lana Lokteff, who has been called the most prominent woman in the Alt-Right. Lokteff produces propaganda spanning the European and US contexts through her marriage and media partnership with Henrik Palmgren via their online outlets 3Fourteen Radio and Red Ice TV. Lokteff has produced hundreds of media products, many with hundreds of thousands of views. As such, her claims and arguments represent current strands of discourse used by women to support and participate in Far/Alt-Right ideology and groups as well as to recruit other women. In her talks and shows, Lokteff must simultaneously articulate women’s proper role – their unsuitability as “leaders” – and her call for women to rise in support of Far/Alt-Right defenses of White culture. To navigate between these two dictates, she returns to the figure of the Viking shieldmaiden to interconnect discursive strands that include: 1) women’s power rooted in gendered complementarity; 2) women’s roles as “life givers” of the Euro/White future, what I refer to as “alt-maternalism”; and 3) white men’s ultimate romantic gesture to white women, the building and defense of Western Civilization. I show how this set of women’s narratives connects to non-extremist women’s movements online to suggest sources of recruitment, to highlight populations available for radicalization, and to show how extremist ideologies using gendered stereotypes can be normalized into more mainstream cultures.
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