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Gatekeeping or Gatekeep is a slang term referring to the process of a group or individual restricting access to information from another group. In meme culture, gatekeeping is used to describe how a fandom or community may try to restrict or hide information from newer members, fans or normies. Gatekeeping can also be described as making a culture or community exclusive in order to keep it from going "mainstream." The subreddit /r/gatekeeping often receives jokes in the format of Oh You Love X? Name Every Y memes. Interest in the term "gatekeeping" in meme culture grew exponentially after the rise of the catchphrase Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss meme in 2021.
It's unknown when exactly gatekeep was first used online, but search interest in the term steadily rose during the 2010s until it saw a sharp rise in the early 2020s. On March 3rd, 2012, Urban Dictionary user sarahalyse posted a definition for the term for the first time to the site, gathering over 2,900 likes in 10 years (seen below).
A prominent early internet meme about gatekeeping was "Oh You Love This Band? Name Three of Their Albums" style phrasal template, a joke that likely precedes the internet. An example of the joke format can be seen below.
On July 23rd, 2016, the subreddit /r/Gatekeeping was created to host examples of people gatekeeping things. On November 28th, 2017, a post about someone trying to gatekeep Salvador Dali gathered over 44,000 upvotes on the subreddit (seen below, left). On January 10th, 2018, Redditor /u/ajd011394 posted an example of someone gatekeeping being vegan, gathering over 54,000 upvotes in five years (seen below, right).
Gatekeeping as a concept explored in memes became more popularized after the year 2019, eventually leading to the creation of the Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss meme trend. On July 10th, 2020, the Instagram page @pairofkingspod posted a meme about gatekeepers, gathering over 4,000 likes in three years (seen below, left). On March 13th, 2021, the Instagram page @2.718281828459045235360287420 posted a now-deleted tweet about gatekeeping, gathering over 54,000 likes in two years (seen below, right).
Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss
Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss is a parody of the phrase "Live, Laugh, Love" used in a variety of shitposts, that began on Tumblr in January 2021. The phrase is used to mock the stereotypical sentiments of the typical "empowered feminist," with each term holding a negative connotation in reference to female empowerment.
Gatekeeping Yuri refers to art that parody images that set up a contrast between two or more people or characters typically used to compare different gender stereotypes. These images intend to subvert those stereotypes by illustrating the characters finding love in each other. Common examples make use of Virgin vs. Chad and Bimbofication and often feature same-sex relationships.
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