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Cringe culture

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This drawing by an autistic child is an example of the stuff cringe culture adherents think is bad somehow.
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One of the cardinal sins of the internet is Liking A Thing.
—@SuperSpacedad on Twitter[1]

Cringe culture is an online version of the age-old practice of the Mockery and Ridicule of the weak and vulnerable; most notably, their expression through creative arts.[2] It takes on many forms; such as forums and image boards obsessing on the eccentrics and their creations, to cringe compilations on video platforms like YouTube. Because of this practice of mockery towards one's own self-expression under the guise of anonymity, it was inevitably used by neoreactionaries to attack progressive individuals (such as Feminists and the LGBT Community) for their disdain of the status quo through their medium of choice. While it gained attention for it naturally being linked to cyber-bullying and Doxxing in the mid-2010s (along with victims speaking out against the harrassment[3]), it will not die out regardless of the stances many of the platforms take on online harassment; though it did help in lessening the impact on the web as it once does.[4]


People go on there to feel better about themselves by judging other people. That's shitty behaviour, full stop. The mods hiding behind good intentions doesn't make the behaviour of the subscribers any less shitty.
—Reddit user topdebottom[5]

Cringe culture was spawned from r/cringe, created by Reddit user drumcowski. While its founder intended forum users to have empathy for the people targeted by its posts,[note 1] the subreddit became a hotspot for bullying and mocking people. Drumcowski hasn't shut down the subreddit for fear that other, crueler copycats with less strict moderation would rise to take its place.[5]

Cringe culture has spread to other social media websites. YouTube is full of cringe compilations, while Instagram "flop" accounts post pictures of other people's work so that they can be mocked en masse.

Example targets[edit]

Cringe culture often targets works (such as drawings, literature, and other forms of artistic expression) by the following:

  • Children
  • Neurodivergent people.
  • LGBT communities such as:
    • Queer people (usually teens) using microlabels, neopronouns, etc
    • Transgender people who don't "pass", aren't "feminine"/"masculine" enough, or are outspoken about their transitions
    • Asexuals
  • Adults who like "childish" things[6]
  • Furries
  • Marie Kondo[7] (How dare she cheerfully teach people how they can get organized?)

NOT examples of Cringe Culture[edit]

  • Constructive criticism that uses feedback between individuals, along with complements and solutions in regards to said work.
  • Calling someone out for creating works that promotes harmful behaviors and ideas (like Paedophilia and Racism).

See also[edit]


  1. He was aware he was on Reddit, right?