Gatekeeping discourse has existed since before the internet, but a slew of memes focused on the art and craft of gatekeeping has brought the term under new scrutiny. What truly counts as gatekeeping, and what is the healthy degree of exclusivity a community should exercise? On the present-day internet, this is an answer perhaps best answered by memes.
Where Does 'Gatekeeping' Mean?
Traditionally, gatekeeping is understood as the process of a group or individual restricting access to information from another group or individual. In meme and internet culture, this process can be seen in fandom communities, where some information may be restricted or hidden from newer fans.
But a classic and timeless gatekeeping joke that helps to explain the concept and its use in memes is the ""Oh you like this band? Name 3 of their albums'":/memes/oh-you-love-x-name-every-y meme. The format's use extends beyond music, as seen in this evergreen Twitter post.
What Were Some Early Communities Discussing Gatekeeping?
Reddit has a thriving culture and message-board format that allows users to come together and share jokes about particular issues. This practice led to the creation of the /r/Gatekeeping subreddit, which was a popular source of some famous memes about the practice of and discussions about gatekeeping.
What Does Present-Day 'Gaslighting Discourse' Revolve Around?
In 2023, the phrase "gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss" grew popular. It was a parody of the phrase "live, laugh, love", which is a popular catchphrase amongst older women. The phrase "gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss" is used to mock the stereotypical sentiments of the typical "empowered feminist," with each term holding a negative connotation in reference to female empowerment.
The popularity of the phrase led to more people making memes about gatekeeping, but the word became more of a buzzword than a means to actually signal the process of a particular community gatekeeping something.
How do you use 'gatekeep' in a sentence?
- "I hate new Nirvana fans, we should gatekeep all good music from the children."
- "Gatekeeping where you got your food from is crazy, the restaurant won't give you a cheque!"
- "Wow, did you see that Sarah got promoted at BlackRock? She is going full gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss."
For the full history of gatekeeping, be sure to check out our entry on the slang term here for even more information.