“Women have always been part of QAnon since the early days,” said Travis View, a conspiracy theory researcher who is a co-host of the podcast “QAnon Anonymous” (which has documented the rise of the conspiracy theory, and which I’m affiliated with). “But I also think the ‘soft front’ of QAnon in the form of ‘Save the Children’ makes it easy for more women to get on board.”
“I do think that there is something about the intense focus on harm being done to children and the graphic nature of the images and videos associated with Q” — including photos of children with black eyes or badly bruised bodies — “that is catered toward evoking shock and empathy, and it’s possible that these are chiming with a lot of women in particular,” said Blyth Crawford, a research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization in London.
When researching far-right networks, I find that it tends to be something of a general rule that there are always more women involved than first meets the eye. It is generally men who grab the headlines, either because they are in leadership positions or commit acts of violence, while women are used for the behind-the-scenes work of recruitment and organizing.