Shieldmaidens of Whiteness: (Alt) Maternalism and Women Recruiting for the Far/Alt-Right


  • Ashley Mattheis Department of Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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.


"14 Words." ADL Hate Symbols Database. Anti-Defamation League, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Belew, Katherine. Bringing the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2018.

Blee, Kathleen M. Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement. Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2003. Print.

---. " Afterword: Next steps in the study of gender and education in the radical right." Journal of Education 29.2 (2017): 276-79. Web.

---. "Similarities/Differences in Gender and Far- Right Politics in Europe and the USA." Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe. Ed. Michaela Kottig, Renate Bitzan, and Andrea Peto. S.l.: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017. 191-204. Print.

Bloom, Mia. Bombshell: Women and Terrorism. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 2011. Print.

Bowman, Emma, and Ian Stewart. "The Women Behind The 'Alt-Right'." NPR. NPR, 20 Aug. 2017. Web. 07 Nov. 2018.

Burton, Tara Isabella. "Can Religious Submission in Marriage Foster a New Divinity? – Tara Isabella Burton | Aeon Essays." Aeon. Aeon Media Group, 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.

Darby, Seyward. "The Rise of the Valkyries." Harper's Magazine. Harper's Magazine Foundation, Sept. 2017. Web. 07 Nov. 2018.

Davenport, Cecelia. "The Women That Feminism Forgot.", 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2018.

Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. New York: Vintage, 1983. Print.

"Europe and Nationalism: A Country-by-country Guide." BBC News. BBC, 10 Sept. 2018. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

"Freyja." Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth, Kenneth McLeish, Bloomsbury, 1st edition, 1996. Credo Reference, Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.

Jackson, Wayne. "In What Sense Is Man the Head of Woman?" Christian Courier. Fortify Your Faith, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Jeansonne, Glen. Women of the Far Right: The Mothers' Movement and World War II. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1996. Print.

Kelly, Annie. “The Housewives of White Supremacy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 June 2018,

Kottig, Michaela, Renate Bitzan, and Andrea Peto, eds. Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe. S.l.: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017. Print.

Leah, Rachel. “Alt-Right Women Are Upset That Alt-Right Men Are Treating Them Terribly.” Salon,, 5 Dec. 2017,

Holleran, Max. "The Opportunistic Rise of Europe's Far Right." The New Republic. The New Republic, 16 Feb. 2018. Web. 11 Nov. 2018.

hooks, bell. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Routledge, 2015.

Lokteff, Lana. “How the Left Is Betraying Women.” YouTube, Red Ice TV, 9 Mar. 2017,

Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools.” Sister Outsider Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing, 1984. Print.

Marshall, S. E. (1986). In defense of separate spheres: Class and status politics in the antisuffrage movement. Social Forces, 65(2), 327. 2 Nov. 2018.

McRae, Elizabeth. Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy. New York, NY: Oxford UP, 2018. Print.

McRobbie, Angela. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. SAGE, 2012.

Mezey, Naomi, and Cornelia Pilliard. "Against the New Maternalism. " Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 18. 2 (2012): 229-96. Academic Search Premier [EBSCO]. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Miller-Idriss, Cynthia. The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2018. Print.

Pilkington, Hillary. "EDL Angels Stand beside Their Men…not behind Them’: The Politics of Gender and Sexuality in an Anti-Islam(ist) Movement." Journal of Education 29.2 (2017): 238-57. Web.

Robinson, Amelia. "'Spanking for Jesus?' Husbands Say God Wants Wives to Be Spanked." Dayton Daily News. Cox Media Group, 21 June 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Schoen, Johanna. Choice & Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, 2005. Print.

Sierakowski, Slawomir. "In Europe, the Only Choice Is Right or Far-Right." Foreign Policy. The Slate Group, 21 May 2018. Web. 11 Nov. 2018.

Slick, Matt. "Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry." Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Solomon, Larry. "7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife." Biblical Gender Roles. Biblical Gender Roles, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2018.

Tartar, Andre. "How the Populist Right Is Rederawing the Map of Europe." Bloomberg, 11 Dec. 2017. Web. 11 Nov. 2018.

Tasca, Cecelia, Mariangella Rapetti, Mauro Giovanni Carta, and Bianca Fadda. "Women and Hysteria in The History of Mental Health." Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health. Bentham Open, 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.

Waltman, Michael S., and Ashely A. Mattheis. "Understanding Hate Speech." Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication (2017): 1-33. Print.

Weiner, Lynn Y. "Maternalism as a Paradigm: Defining the Issues." Journal of Women's History 5.2 (1993): 96-98. Print.

Wells, Ida B. "Lynch Law in America." Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought. Comp. Beverly Guy-Sheftall. New York: New, 1996. 70-76. Print.