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 a form of cyber-bullying and shaming that often targets children, LGBT people, girls,[2] people with mental illnesses, and disabled people (such as autistics and people with ADHD). When someone is just having fun and enjoying themselves while perhaps being a little quirky, they may be mocked and called "cringey."

Luckily, cringe culture is beginning to decline.[3] People are speaking out against it and encouraging people to enjoy things without feeling ashamed of having fun.[4] Unfortunately, it still has a cult following, which sometimes even doxes people.


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]

  • Drawings by children
  • Autistic people either getting excited about something or having meltdowns
  • 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]
  • Conversely, young people who like music, movies, or pop culture from previous generations ("Le Wrong Generation")
  • Otherkin and therians
  • Marie Kondo[7] (How dare she cheerfully teach people how they can get organized?)
  • Furries

Even if a child is bad at art, or a teen is engaging in silly otherkin stuff, that's no excuse to be cruel to them. Kids deserve the opportunity to learn and grow. Bullying them until their self-esteem suffers would be the exact opposite of what you should do.

NOT examples of Cringe Culture[edit]

  • Constructive criticism
  • Calling someone out for offensive material

See also[edit]

  • Kiwi Farms, a forum dedicated to perpetrating cringe culture and is just overall composed of creeps.
  • Discord
  • Lolcow


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