Date of Award

June 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Sylvia Sierra

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This thesis uses theories of positioning and politeness to analyze a collection of anonymous discussion board posts gathered from 4chan's ROBOT-9001 message board. I provide an overview of 4chan's history and review recent literature focused on the website. I then examine how users direct gender-based insults at other users within a set of excerpts taken from the larger collection of posts, finding that users who express opposition to misogyny or sexism are identified by others as feminine through the usage of derogatory and misogynistic insults. Next, I examine a second set of excerpts, demonstrating how a user establishes and maintains her identity across multiple anonymous posts in order to respond to insults directed at her by other users. Finally, I conclude with considerations for further research for research interested in 4chan and anonymous text-based computer mediated communication.


Open Access



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.