What Does Gatekeep Mean? – Meaning, Uses and More

What Does Gatekeep Mean?

The term gatekeep is slang that refers to the act of controlling access to an identity or community. It involves deciding who is allowed to be part of a particular group and challenging individuals to prove their worthiness. Gatekeeping can occur in various contexts, such as ethnic groups, gender groups, sports fandoms, or pop culture fandoms. It can be seen when someone questions another person’s knowledge or commitment to a particular interest or identity. For example, if someone claims to be a fan of a band, a gatekeeper may challenge them to name every song or recite lyrics to prove their authenticity. Gatekeeping can become toxic and exclusionary when it involves essential identity groups like ethnicity or sexuality, as it can lead to the exclusion of individuals who do not meet certain expectations or criteria. The term gatekeep gained prominence in the mid-2010s and has since become popular on platforms like Reddit and TikTok. Redditors created a “Gatekeeping” subreddit in 2016 to share examples of gatekeeping behavior they encountered. On TikTok, it is often used to call out manipulative behavior and gaslighting tactics. While the exact origin of the term is unclear, it has become a widely recognized slang term. Gatekeeping can be both positive and negative, depending on the context and who is doing it. It can serve as a protective measure for marginalized communities, allowing them to preserve their culture and prevent appropriation. However, it can also be used to exclude and marginalize individuals who do not meet certain criteria or expectations. The term has evolved to encompass a broader range of behaviors beyond its original meaning, and it continues to be a topic of discussion and debate in online communities. Here are some examples of how the term gatekeep can be used in conversation:

  1. “I wore a band t-shirt to a concert, and a gatekeeper started quizzing me about the band’s entire discography.”
  2. “I mentioned that I enjoy playing video games, and a gatekeeper immediately started questioning my gaming skills and knowledge.”
  3. “I shared my experience as a person of color, and a gatekeeper told me I wasn’t ‘Black enough’ because I didn’t fit their stereotypes.”
  4. “I expressed my love for a particular TV show, and a gatekeeper started interrogating me about every minor plot detail to test my fandom.”
  5. “I joined a new online community, and the gatekeepers made me feel unwelcome because I didn’t meet their arbitrary standards of ‘true’ membership.”
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It’s important to note that gatekeeping behavior can be harmful and exclusionary, particularly when it involves essential aspects of a person’s identity. It’s essential to create inclusive and welcoming spaces where individuals can freely express themselves without fear of judgment or exclusion.

What Does Gatekeep Mean From a Girl?

When a girl uses the term gatekeep, it can have a similar meaning to everyone else. However, girls may use it in various contexts and with different perspectives compared to guys. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Specific meaning from a girl: Girls may use gatekeep to challenge someone’s authenticity or knowledge in a particular interest or identity. They might question someone’s commitment or understanding of a fandom, hobby, or cultural group.
  • How girls use it: Girls may use gatekeep to call out manipulative behavior, gaslighting tactics, or exclusionary practices. They might use it to highlight the importance of preserving marginalized communities and preventing cultural appropriation.
  • How to reply: If someone gatekeeps you in a conversation, it’s essential to respond respectfully and assertively. You can calmly explain your perspective, share your experiences, or express your feelings about the situation. It’s important to promote understanding and inclusivity rather than engaging in arguments or hostility.

While gatekeeping can be both positive and negative, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential harm it can cause. Exclusionary gatekeeping based on essential aspects of a person’s identity should be avoided. Instead, focus on creating inclusive spaces where individuals can freely express themselves without fear of judgment or exclusion.

So, if a girl gatekeeps you, try to understand her perspective and engage in a constructive conversation. Remember, the goal is to foster understanding and promote inclusivity while respecting each other’s experiences and viewpoints.

Example 1:

  • Girl A: I can’t believe you’ve never seen that movie! You’re not a true fan.
  • Girl B: Don’t gatekeep me! I can still enjoy the movie even if I haven’t seen it before.

Example 2:

  • Girl A: You’re wearing a band t-shirt, but do you even know any of their songs?
  • Girl B: Stop gatekeeping my music taste. I enjoy their music and that’s what matters.
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Example 3:

  • Girl A: You can’t call yourself a gamer if you’ve never played that game.
  • Girl B: Don’t gatekeep my hobby. I enjoy playing games and have my own preferences.

Example 4:

  • Girl A: You’re not a real artist if you don’t use traditional mediums.
  • Girl B: That’s just gatekeeping. Art can be expressed in many different forms and mediums.

Example 5:

  • Girl A: You’re not a true fan of this TV show unless you’ve watched every episode.
  • Girl B: Let’s not gatekeep people’s enjoyment. Everyone can appreciate the show in their own way.

What Does Gatekeep Mean From a Guy?

When a guy uses the term gatekeep, it can have similar meanings to everyone else. However, guys may use it in different contexts and with different perspectives compared to girls. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Specific meaning from a guy: Guys may use gatekeep to challenge someone’s authenticity or knowledge in a particular interest or identity. They might question someone’s commitment or understanding of a fandom, hobby, or cultural group.
  • How guys use it: Guys may use gatekeep to assert their knowledge or expertise in a certain area. They might use it to establish themselves as authorities or to test others’ knowledge and dedication.
  • How to reply: If a guy gatekeeps you in a conversation, it’s important to respond confidently and assertively. You can calmly explain your perspective, share your experiences, or challenge their assumptions. It’s crucial to stand up for yourself and promote inclusivity and respect.

While gatekeeping can be both positive and negative, it’s essential to be aware of the potential harm it can cause. Exclusionary gatekeeping based on essential aspects of a person’s identity should be avoided. Instead, focus on creating inclusive spaces where individuals can freely express themselves without fear of judgment or exclusion.

So, if a guy gatekeeps you, don’t be afraid to assert yourself and challenge their assumptions. Remember, the goal is to foster understanding and promote inclusivity while respecting each other’s experiences and viewpoints.

Example 1:

  • Guy 1: Just got my hands on the new gaming console. It’s amazing!
  • Guy 2: Nice! You’re gonna be the ultimate gamer now. No one can gatekeep your skills.

Example 2:

  • Guy 1: Check out this sick skateboard trick I learned!
  • Guy 2: Dude, you’re gonna gatekeep the skate park with that move. Impressive!
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Example 3:

  • Guy 1: I’ve been working on this song for weeks. Wanna hear it?
  • Guy 2: Absolutely! Can’t wait to see you gatekeep the music industry with your talent.

Example 4:

  • Guy 1: I just finished reading this classic novel. It’s a masterpiece.
  • Guy 2: That’s awesome! You’re gonna gatekeep the literary world with your knowledge.

Example 5:

  • Guy: I just started a new business venture. It’s been challenging but exciting.
  • Girl: That’s amazing! You’re gonna gatekeep the entrepreneurial game with your success. Keep hustling!

Origin of Gatekeep

The exact origin of the term “gatekeep” in this context is unclear. It gained prominence in the mid-2010s and has since become popular on platforms like Reddit and TikTok. Redditors created a “Gatekeeping” subreddit in 2016 to share examples of gatekeeping behavior they encountered. On TikTok, it is often used to call out manipulative behavior and gaslighting tactics. While there is no clear origin regarding who coined the term, it has become a widely recognized slang term. It is not known if “gatekeep” is a derived word or a popular typo of another word.

Frequently Asked Questions

Slangs similar to Gatekeep

Exclusionary, elitist, snobbish, in-group/out-group, and validation are similar to gatekeeping because they all involve the act of excluding or marginalizing individuals, promoting the idea of superiority, displaying an attitude of exclusivity, dividing people into specific groups, and confirming or recognizing someone’s worth or identity, respectively. These concepts all relate to gatekeeping in different ways, highlighting the various aspects of controlling access to an identity or community.

Is Gatekeep A Bad Word?

No, “gatekeep” is not a bad word or vulgar word. It is a term used to describe the act of determining who has access to a certain identity or community. While gatekeeping can sometimes be toxic or exclusionary, it is not inherently a bad or vulgar word. It is important to consider the context and intent behind its usage.

Is Gatekeep a Typo or Misspelling?

No, “gatekeep” is not a misspelling or a typo. It is a slang term that refers to the act of controlling access to an identity or community, often by challenging individuals to prove their worthiness or authenticity.