Entitlement, Victimhood, and Hate: A Digital Ethnography of the Canadian Right-Wing Social Media Landscape

This dissertation is, at its core, an interrogation of white masculinity in Canada’s right-wing spaces. While my interlocutors spent a great deal of time discussing others, namely immigrants, globalist elites, and feminists, through their discourse, they revealed a lot more about themselves and their perceived victimhood (Berbrier, 2000). This victimhood is derived from what Hage (2000) refers to as the white nation fantasy, wherein white people believe they have the right to rule, control, and dominate in their countries. They are entitled to this by virtue of their whiteness and its perceived superiority, and thus feel justified in their harmful behaviour (Essed & Muhr, 2018). Yet, as I show throughout each chapter, that right is challenged time and time again by immigration, feminism, and racial justice, which triggers a sense of aggrieved entitlement (Manne, 2019) and backlash (Boyd, 2004; Braithwaite, 2004). Moreover, I demonstrate that this is not only a white fantasy, but rather a white male fantasy. While the white nation fantasy relies on white supremacy, the white male nation fantasy interweaves notions of male supremacism wherein not only are people of colour inferior, so too are women – including white ones who do not fall in line. I draw on bell hook’s conception of “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” to show how their discourse, while explicitly racist and nativist (Schrag, 2010), upholds and is in turn upheld by both capitalism and patriarchy. Thus, while chapters on hockey, promiscuous women, and a “Sad Keanu” meme may seem disparate and disjointed, they all connect back to these notions of supremacism, entitlement, and ultimately victimhood.

Tags: Canada, Right-Wing, Social Media, white masculinity