White Knight

White Knight

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Updated Mar 04, 2014 at 04:54PM EST by Brad.

Added Dec 06, 2012 at 07:10PM EST by Don.

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“White Knight” (also known as “Internet White Knight”) is a pejorative term used to describe men who defend women on the Internet with the assumption that they are looking for a romantic reward in return.


The term “white knight” is derived from the knight-errant stock character, a medieval figure in romance literature that would perform various acts to prove his chivalry. According to Wikipedia,[1] the term “knight-errant” was first recorded in the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but was developed as a romance genre character during the late 12th century. The first Urban Dictionary[4] definition was submitted by user Jake on November 3rd, 2004, which defined the phrase as a male who attempts to aid a woman in distress.


On January 17th, 2007, the Internet humor site Something Awful[10] published a post titled “A Few Words on the Internet White Knight,” which criticized white knights for being indiscriminate in the women they choose to defend. On January 6th, 2009, Urban Dictionary[3] member abstractsplash submitted an entry for “Internet White Knight,” defining the term as “someone who stands up for girls on the Internet they barely know.” On June 23rd, BodyBuilding Forums[11] member QB_Killa submitted a thread listing several signs that someone had become a white knight. On September 1st, IGN Forums[13] member DarkChronic submitted a thread titled “So wait, someone explain what an ‘Internet white knight’ is to me,” to which member D.Bills embedded an image of a knight sitting at a computer with strike marks on his wall counting the number of women he had rescued online (shown below).

On April 30th, 2010, a thread was created on the /tv/ (Television and Film) board on 4chan,[9] in which a user was referred to as a “white knight” for requesting others refrain from making fun of rape. The same day, the Internet news blog Urlesque[12] published an article by staff writer Nick Douglas titled “The Five Most Annoying Kinds of Internet Scolds,” listing “The Internet White Knight” as a manipulator that attempts to win over women by defending them online. On August 7th, a page for “White Knighting” was created on TV Tropes,[5] which associated the meme with the “Bully Hunter,”[6] “Knight in Shining Armor”[7] and “Damsel in Distress”[8] tropes. On November 19th, 2011, a Facebook[2] page for “White Knight” was created, which received over 625 likes within one year.


On January 17th, 2011, YouTuber EtherealAntichrist uploaded a video titled “Enonymity [sic] and White Knighting,” which argued that white knighting is a practice that should be encouraged (shown below).

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