Between June 2020 and April 2021 I embedded myself in online spaces associated with the alt-right, white supremacy, misogyny and conspiracy theory. During that time I witnessed their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd, the 2020 Presidential Election, the Storming of Capitol and subsequent right-wing social media crackdown, and International Women’s Day. The following experiments are the result of this research.

#1 / Lurking

Research, 2020-2021

Without a methodology, community observation was done through collecting memes and notable posts. I tried to absorb the information as intended by the community—this includes identifying when a post was venting or trolling. I observed redpilled communities through Ruqqus,, and various subreddits like /r/MGTOW, MGTOW2, IncelsWithoutHatred, Chillcels, IncelSelfie, and ForeverAlone. Q Anon was observed through 8kun, 4chan, and places like and I also listened to podcasts, followed influencers, and watched Youtube videos about both topics. As of spring 2021, most of the Q Anon spaces and many of the incel spaces mentioned are no longer accessible.

You can read more about the background to these specific communities, and the introduction of some language, in the glossary section of this project.

#2 / Dark Archetypes

Website, 2021

Dark Archetypes is a digital guidebook to the online spaces of incels, lone wolves and digital warriors. The title, and melodramatic tone, is in reference to the way these communities identify themselves: heroes, outlaws, or jesters.

#3 / Meme Gallery

Website, 2021

A spatialized web gallery of the memes and posts collected from incel, MGTOW and other redpilled communities.

#4 / The Center for Reality Unification

Interactive fiction, 2021

The Center for Reality Unification is an interactive experience about judging facts. It presents increasingly complex truths and asks you to determine where you stand within true false binary in order to help make your reality something we can share.

#5 / Listening

Interviews, 2021-Ongoing

Since January I have been conducting interviews with individuals who have relationships with loved ones across ideological differences. While the experience of navigating fraught relationships on and offline is fairly ubiquitous, each relationship has its own unique challenges.



In the 1999 film The Matrix protagonist is offered a choice: “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”.

The varieties of online “pills” have boomed in 11 years, far more than what are listed below, but describing someone as “pilled” online usually indicates thorough indoctrination to a prescribed ideology. For example, you might describe a Q Anon follower as having been “Q pilled”.

The Blue pill

Beliefs associated with the blue pill are that patriarchy dominates Western culture and that women, queer people, and BIPOC are oppressed as a result.

The blue pill is also often associated with normies, “mainstream” people who assimilate into society and are generally offline, or SJW snowflakes. Normies and blue pilled folks are typically believed to be sheep, and unable to think for themselves.

The Red pill

The red pill was initially backlash against second wave feminism. Thinkers like Rollo Tomassi used evolutionary psychology and critiques of feminism to draw the following conclusions that created the spine of the men’s rights movement:

  1. Feminism dominates Western culture (gynocentrism)
  2. Men are oppressed as a result
  3. Dating is a sexual marketplace
  4. Women are naturally hypergamous

These are accepted assumptions among most “red pilled” communities, though organizing principles of the red pill in the last decade have grown to include things like traditional conservative values, white supremacy, gun rights and mistrust in mainstream media.

The Black pill

The "black pill" generally refers to a set of commonly-held beliefs in incel communities, which include biological determinism, fatalism, and defeatism.

An incel who has "taken the black pill" has adopted the belief that their sexual market value is genetically fixed. As a result their lack of success romantically and sexually is permanent regardless of any changes they might try to make to their physical appearance, personality, or social status. The only thing one can do after taking the blackpill is cope (by trolling or attempting to ascend) or rope (commit suicide).


The word incel is short for involuntary celibates, and it was coined by a queer woman in the 90s. Since then, the word has been co-opted by an online subculture whose members define themselves by their inability to attract romantic or sexual partners. Incels who devote lots of time to online incel spaces are often blackpilled and hopeless. This, paired with misogyny, self-pity and entitlement has produced several mass murderers from the incel community, which is why they are so often reviled. Still, there are incels who genuinely don’t know where else to go to share experiences around male loneliness or insecurity. These non-violent incels feel even more alienated from society because of their community's bad reputation.


MGTOW, Men Go Their Own Way, is a community of men organized around freeing themselves from women all together and instead focused on creating their own masculine identities through self-improvement. Many MGTOW men are ex-simps or ex-husbands, having elevated women on the pussy pedestal for a portion of their lives. After negative experiences with dating, betrayal, financial extortion or anything that could build resentment, the MGTOW decide that women are an unnecessary distraction and financial drain, so they find other pursuits. While some of them might engage in meaningless sex with women they generally advise against it.


In 2017, someone known as “Q” posted on 4chan claiming to be a government official with a Q-level clearance. They claimed to be privy to classified documents within the Trump administration, and a community was built around deciphering Q’s posts in real time.

Like all of these communities, the Q-pilled are not monolithic. QAnon has a uniquely varied membership ranging from the tea party boomers, millennial moms, ex-Bernie Bros, to new age crystal healers. QAnon has moved outside the realm of posts and now many members are currently occupying government positions at state and federal levels.


SJWs, social justice warriors, are individuals who promote socially progressive or libral views with a caricatured frenzy. The term reached its peak usage around 2016, but often college snowflakes, BLM protesters, trans activists, and feminist gamers are all considered to be SJWs. They are considered by outsiders to be obsessed with personal identity, victimhood, political correctness, and they are man-hating regardless of gender, and intolerant of alternative beliefs by default. They are often accused of virtue signaling and enacting mob justice through cancel culture.


Anons are anonymous internet posters. Unlike many virtue signaling libs who post on twitter with their real name attached, most incels, MGTOWs, and imageboard posters decide to go anonymous. Anons generally have a culture of shitposting, trolling, and doxxing. Anons on imageboards have a history of claiming to be in high ranking government positions who will claim to have access to private information. “CIAAnon” and “FBIAnon” posters were active in the years before QAnon, but they were largely considered to be LARPers.

The Chans

Popularized by the Japanese site 2chan, 4chan, 8chan, and 8kun are all variations of imageboards. These boards hosted conversation on a wide variety of topics from anime, politics, video games, porn, and all posting was done anonymously. 4chan, the first English imageboard to gain popularity, has a huge influence on the internet culture—Rickrolling, lolcats, and hacker collective Anonymous all originated from the imageboard. 8chan was an organizing hub for abusers during Gamergate after 4chan banned the topic, and ground zero for QAnon.


To borrow from, “Femoid or foid (short for female humanoid) refers to sneaky herd animals who have either bullied or ignored you your entire life. That is unless they were somehow making money off you as a teacher or counselor or hairdresser or wife. Popular femoid hobbies include twerking, fakeup as well as feminism, the process by which women seize the means of reproduction to liberate themselves from ugly beta providers. Another popular femoid hobby is encouraging vicious male competition and toxic masculinity through their mere sexual desires."

Like many things in these communities, this definition is half shitpost for the onlookers and half genuine. There are many ways in which red pilled folks refer to women, but this is one example of the type of dehumanization encoded in the insular language.


LARPing is short for "Live Action Role Playing". Traditionally, a LARP is a role playing game like Dungeons & Dragons that is played physically in space where players act out their character's actions and fight with props. Online the word can be used figuratively or derogatorily to suggest someone who is merely pretending or lying about their own experience. Cynically virtue signaling on Twitter could be considered a type of LARPing.

About the Project

Many people who grew up online have always known the power of the internet to shape individuals, and the world. I grew up role playing on chat rooms and created deep friendships with people without knowing their real names. Online, disembodied and under a pseudonym, was the first place I felt a sense of belonging. With that belonging grew an understanding of the world that gave me a sense of confidence, and I took those ideas with me to the outside world. For me, that meant I was able to socialize with nerds in real life, because I trusted I could bond with them. For another, taking online ideas into the world meant driving to a pizza restaurant with a gun to rescue trafficked children. For another still, his toxic ideas from his online reality led them to believe he needed to enact revenge on his classmates for damning him to a life of abject loneliness.

People close to me, who I love, began picking up ideas from online movements like Gamegate and QAnon. Simplistic analysis of these groups did not offer ideas for intervention of conversation, so I decided to investigate these online communities on their own turf.

I do not believe in neutral observation. I entered these spaces as I am: a first gen Filipina person, a feminist, an artist studying at NYU, a lib bluepilled snowflake, and also a digital native, and an ex-edgelord with a soft spot for dank memes.

I am not a scientist, a journalist or a therapist, but I understand the transformative power of online communities and relationships that shape our realities. While I don’t agree with, sympathize with or condone most of the beliefs I’ve encountered over the course of this project, my picture of the world has been expanded by confronting these groups and trying to understand them in their own words. That picture is not simple or comforting, but it is honest in its complexity, and complexity is something increasingly hard to hold in an age of filter bubbles and financially incentivized outrage.


The following works were essential in guiding my thinking around these topics. You can see a wide variety of media on this topic in this board.



Thank You

Sam Lavigne, Kat Sullivan, Nuntinee Tansrisakul, Mimi Yin, Yuguang (YG) Zhang, Marina Zurkow, Drew Alderfer, Bob Dacanay, and many peers and faculty at ITP (NYU).