Twitter User Ignites a Debate About ‘Cringe Culture’

Cringe culture is prevalent on the internet and its varied communities. What makes something “cringe” varies, but its main feature is causing “second-hand embarrassment” in the viewer.

Cringe isn’t exactly new. In fact, it has a lot in common with “cultural cringe,” which is a social inferiority complex proposed in 1894. This phenomenon argues that some people may dismiss their own culture as “cringe and inferior” and disassociate themselves from it.

WataMote is largely seen as “cringe” in anime form.

However, cringe culture didn’t become widespread on the internet until two communities sprung up on Reddit in 2012 – r/cringe and r/cringepics. Redditor drumcowski led the movement after watching a video about teenage furries.

Cringe culture has long been viewed as toxic and as an excuse for people to harass teenagers, children, and socially awkward people for having quirks or getting over excited about fandoms. According to drumcowski, r/cringe was created as a place for empathy since everyone has done something embarrassing at one point. Sadly, it’s become a toxic den.

One Twitter user recently sparked a debate about cringe culture and how people should stop using it to mask their own insecurities:


@flareonpuppy’s Tweet gained a lot of reactions, mostly from people supporting the idea that cringe culture is destructive.


The crux of the argument is that people have no business shaming others for being over-zealous or for “giving real fans a bad name.” It’s a self-centered view that doesn’t bring anything of value to a fandom.

Of course, you can use cringe to mock certain abstract ideas, like the obsession with seasonal waifus. But mocking specific individuals breeds an unwanted label of intolerance with a community.

Level 29 ~ Team Mystic ~ Vaporeon // Favorite anime: One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, Card Captor Sakura // Sub > Dub unless the dub is really good
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