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Duelling Narratives of Vitality and Victimhood on Right-Wing TikTok: Exploring the #Pureblood Trend

Duelling Narratives of Vitality and Victimhood on Right-Wing TikTok: Exploring the #Pureblood Trend
22nd February 2023 Meghan Conroy
In Coronavirus, Insights

This article is the first in a series of GNET Insights about fascist health-related trends.


COVID-19 vaccines emerged as a flashpoint for contention on a global scale and remain controversial to this day. Underscoring this point, a TikTok trend surfaced wherein some anti-vax users have adopted the term ‘pureblood’ to proudly share their unvaccinated status. In spite of the trend’s continued prevalence into early 2023, analysis of this particular social media trend has all but ceased. For example, reporters from Insider, USA Today, Salon, Newsweek, and Daily Dot grappled with the trend’s advent and early surge in virality in September of 2021. However, interest in the trend appears to have waned despite its persistent relevance in right-wing TikTok spaces. Despite waning interest by the media, the trend reflects an ongoing embrace of fascist talking points and is therefore deserving of further investigation. 

While unvaccinated Americans have embraced narratives of vitality and developed an obsession with the perceived purity of their blood, including the adoption of language stemming directly from Nazi Germany and postwar fascists, they have simultaneously attempted to position themselves as victims of a tyrannical government. Social media content created by unvaccinated individuals frequently features narratives drawn from Holocaust-era Jewish persecution, claiming that proof of vaccination requirements are similar to the Nazis requiring people to show their papers. It is worth exploring the contradictory nature of this framing: How did the term ‘pureblood,’ which has long-signified discrimination and racial violence both in historical and literary contexts, become a rallying cry among those who believe they are being persecuted? This Insight explores the duelling narratives of victimhood alongside narratives of supremacy, and how these propaganda strategies are a manifestation of fascist and violent extremist discourse in mainstream spaces. 

Defining Purebloods

Some users embracing the #pureblood trend evoke Hunger Games protagonist Katniss Everdeen – a symbol of revolution against and defiance of a murderous government. One TikTok creator uses audio from the film 300, comparing herself and other ‘purebloods’ to the Spartans; she does so while donning a shirt proclaiming, “I don’t co-parent with the government.” Many creators using the #pureblood hashtag also make the argument that the term is not inherently racist or problematic because they allege it originates from the Harry Potter series and refers to fictional wizards and witches. However, even in the context of this children’s book series, ‘purebloods’ refer to those whose bloodlines are not mixed with non-magic individuals, while a subset of those purebloods violently targets non-magic individuals and those with ‘tainted’ blood. Among TikTok content, some self-proclaimed ‘purebloods’ are referring to the vaccinated as ‘trans-bloods’ as well as – keeping to the Harry Potter theme – ‘mudbloods,’ and claim that ‘pureblood’ sperm, organs, and blood will be valuable someday. By pointing out what they believe to be the origin of the ‘pureblood’ term and highlighting its fictional status, these creators attempt to secure plausible deniability of any more nefarious roots of the term.

The ‘pureblood’ term, while popularised by Harry Potter, did not originate within a children’s fiction series. It represents a weaponisation of purity, strength, and vitality typically tied to fascist movements; the desire to restore a romanticised historical sense of purity is a core component of fascism. This has repeatedly manifested as a fear of corrupting or diluting ‘pure’ populations – specifically, white populations – with the blood of other races or those whose blood is viewed as inferior. Historically, laws that aimed to govern blood purity have been used to create and justify racist and violent systems of governance. The antisemitic Nuremberg Laws enacted in Nazi Germany in 1935 included ‘The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour,’ which forbade marriage and extramarital relations between Jews and Germans for the purpose of maintaining the blood purity of the Aryan race. In the United States, the ‘one-drop rule’ was a legal principle of racial classification that asserted that if an individual had even one ancestor of Black ancestry, they were also considered to be Black. This concept, coded into some states’ laws in the early 20th century, was used to prevent interracial marriages and to more broadly enforce a racial caste system in the US. 

Analysis of TikTok Hashtags

As of early January 2022, videos featuring the hashtag #pureblood had accrued 144 million views on TikTok, and videos containing the hashtag #purebloods had accrued an additional 12 million views. As of February 2023, videos with the #pureblood hashtag have over 291 million views, while videos featuring the hashtag #purebloods now have over 19 million views. These upticks represent approximately 102% and 58% increases, respectively, in views in just over a year. Other related hashtags include #purebloodsunited and #purebloodsupremacy, conveying a desire by unvaccinated content creators on TikTok to join forces and demonstrate their superiority over those who opted to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

To understand the major thematic elements of these videos, we conducted an analysis of 3,721 TikTok videos’ captions with the hashtags ‘pureblood’ and ‘purebloods’ uploaded between November 18, 2021, and November 17, 2022, gathered using the database Junkipedia. Not all videos using these hashtags promoted anti-vaccine beliefs. Some videos aimed to mock the pureblood trend while others seemingly included the hashtag to reach believers with accurate information. The findings of the hashtag analysis provide broader insights into the most prominent themes. Excluding terms embedded in TikTok’s design (e.g., ‘FYP,’ ‘duet,’ ‘stitch’), we assessed the most popular terms used in captions alongside pureblood rhetoric. The most popular hashtag, with over 1,000 occurrences in the data set was ‘FJB,’ which stands for ‘F**k Joe Biden.’ Following ‘FJB,’ the next most popular terms were, in order, ‘let’s go Brandon,’ ‘conservative,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘patriots,’ ‘patriot,’ America,’ ‘Republican,’ ‘unvaccinated,’ ‘USA,’ ‘vaccine,’ and ‘Trump2024.’ Though the term was popularised by the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter-related terms occurred at relatively low rates. The most frequently used Harry Potter-related term was ‘Slytherin,’ which occurred just 47 times.

These top terms represent an already established relationship between vaccine-distrusting populations in the U.S. and conservative political ideation.  Seeking to understand this relationship in depth, we use a hashtag analysis to highlight discursive themes in ‘pureblood’ content on TikTok as it relates to vaccines as well as other relevant topics, including politics, patriotism, liberty, healthcare, and conspiracy theories.

Other hashtags relevant to vaccination and anti-vax sentiment were used alongside the #pureblood hashtag. These included:

  • #unvaccinated with 390 occurrences
  • #vaccine 323 occurrences
  • #antivaxx with 183 occurrences
  • #antivaxxer with 171 occurrences 
  • #unvaxxed with 104 occurrences
  • #novax with 98 occurrences
  • #nojab with 70 occurrences
  • #booster with 55 occurrences
  • #jab with 51 occurrences
  • #clotshot with 49 occurrences 
  • #medicaltyranny with 47 occurrences  
  • #novaccineforme with 40 occurrences
  • #vaccinated with 34 occurrences
  • #vaccineinjury with 33 occurrences
  • #novaccine with 24 occurrences
  • #nojabforme with 21 occurrences
  • #poison with 21 occurrences 
  • #vaxdeath with 19 occurrences 
  • #UnvaxxedLivesMatter with 17 occurrences 
  • #Myocarditis with 17 occurrences
  • #NoKidsVaccinated with 15 occurrences 
  • #adversereactions with 15 occurrences

In this sample, the #pureblood hashtag was commonly used in conjunction with pro-Trump/pro-GOP hashtags, oftentimes tagged alongside anti-Biden hashtags. Some examples include:

  • #FJB with 1,012 occurrences
  • #LetsGoBrandon with 681 occurrences
  • #conservative with 633 occurrences
  • #republican with 413 occurrences
  • #Trump2024 with 322 occurrences
  • #Trump with 276 occurrences
  • #Democrat with 208 occurrences
  • #MAGA with 207 occurrences 
  • #lgbfjb (Let’s Go Brandon Fuck Joe Biden) with 155 occurrences
  • #lgb (Lets Go Brandon) with 154 occurrences
  • #TrumpTrain with 121 occurrences
  • #fjblgb (Fuck Joe Biden Let’s Go Brandon) with 114 occurrences 
  • #FJBMovement with 113 occurrences
  • #UltraMAGA with 104 occurrences 
  • #Desantis with 94 occurrences
  • #Biden with 77 occurrences
  • #VoteRed2022 with 70 occurrences
  • #Trump2020 with 67 occurrences
  • #RedWave2022 with 67 occurrences
  • #Desantis2022 with 64 occurrences

Another frequent theme among hashtags on #pureblood videos was that of perceived patriotism. Some examples of hashtags within this category include:

  • #patriots with 463 occurrences
  • #patriot with 437 occurrences 
  • #America with 416 occurrences
  • #USA with 349 occurrences
  • #WeThePeople with 246 occurrences
  • #merica with 226 occurrences
  • #American with 225 occurrences
  • #US with 224 occurrences
  • #murica with 182 occurrences
  • #Canada with 77 occurrences
  • #RiseOfThePatriots with 76 occurrences
  • #UnitedWeStand with 60 occurrences 
  • #Veteran with 43 occurrences
  • #Constitution with 35 occurrences 
  • #ProudPatriots with 35 occurrences 
  • #AmericanProud with 32 occurrences
  • #PatriotsRising with 31 occurrences 

Similarly prevalent were themes of liberty and resistance to perceived government tyranny:

  • #Freedom with 559 occurrences
  • #NoMandates with 123 occurrences
  • #DoNotComply with 109 occurrences 
  • #Liberty with 93 occurrences 
  • #HoldTheLine with 69 occurrences
  • #MedicalFreedom with 61 occurrences
  • #StandUp with 59 occurrences
  • #FreedomOfSpeech with 54 occurrences
  • #2ndAmendement with 48 occurrences
  • #IWillNotComply with 47 occurrences
  • #MedicalTyranny with 47 occurrences 
  • #LionsNotSheep with 46 occurrences 
  • #DontTreadOnMe with 42 occurrences 
  • #Tyranny with 36 occurrences

Some users referenced healthcare more broadly, but most of the content that engaged with the United States’ healthcare system specifically mentioned the Center for Disease Control and various vaccine mandates. For example:

  • #coronavirus with 182 occurrences
  • #nomandates with 123 occurrences
  • #COVID19 with 129 occurrences
  • #DoNotComply with 109 occurrences
  • #Fauci with 93 occurrences
  • #Mandate with 83 occurrences
  • #MyBodyMyChoice with 76 occurrences
  • #MedicalFreedom with 61 occurrences
  • #CDC with 45 occurrences
  • #Nurse with 43 occurrences 
  • #Omicron with 41 occurrences
  • #doctor with 40 occurrences
  • #Health with 37 occurrences 
  • #FauciIsAFraud with 35 occurrences
  • #NaturalImmunity with 31 occurrences
  • #FireFauci with 34 occurrences 
  • #StopTheMandate with 29 occurrences
  • #genocide with 17 occurrences 

Conspiracy rhetoric also clearly overlapped with the ‘pureblood’ discourse. These hashtags included: 

  • #wakeup with 221 occurrences 
  • #conspiracy with 84 occurrences  
  • #NWO (New World Order) with 65 occurrences  
  • #conspiracytiktok with 62 occurrences  
  • #q (A reference to the anonymous poster behind QAnon) with 37 occurrences 
  • #conspiracytheory with 35 occurrences  
  • #SaveTheChildren with 25 occurrences
  • #TrumpWonBidenCheated with 22 occurrences
  • #Plandemic with 20 occurrences 

Interestingly, some #pureblood content used traditionally conservative hashtags from Canada and Australia: 

  • #sackdanandrews with 66 occurrences
  • #freedomconvoy2022 with 68 occurrences
  • #trudeaumustgo with 57 occurrences 

The dataset also contained a notable crossover with vegan hashtags such as #vegan (47 occurrences) and #VegansOfTikTok (46 occurrences). However, upon further examination, these occurrences were attributable to just one user’s account. While the account posted using the term ‘pureblood’ 47 times, the average view count of these videos was only 60. This finding demonstrates how one account was able to distort the appearance of popularity of veganism among the anti-vax online subculture. We wanted to highlight this example as it conveys that hashtag analysis has limits and does not necessarily present a comprehensive picture of an online community or trend.   

To confirm our other findings were not affected by this phenomenon of narrative inflation, we also evaluated the most popular hashtags from videos in the dataset with over 100,000 views. In this segment of the dataset, ‘FJB,’ ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’ ‘unvaccinated,’ ‘Covid,’ ‘Trump,’ ‘patriots,’ ‘vax,’ ‘conservative,’ ‘Trump2024’ and ‘freedom’ were the most common hashtags used, thus confirming the thematic findings of the broader dataset. 

Finally, several specific influencers and right-wing news outlets were cited or highlighted in the video sample. These included Joe Rogan, Russell Brand, Fox News, and The Daily Wire, further evidencing the crossover between conspiracy theories and popular voices in the mainstream. 


By examining the rhetoric surrounding the #pureblood trend on TikTok, we shed light upon those who embrace a contradictory belief system that attempts to strategically exploit narratives of victimisation while simultaneously leveraging historical and literary terms associated with advocating for ethnic cleansing. We argue that this incoherence is not a fluke but instead demonstrates the existence of a central ethos of fascist ideology manifesting on a mainstream social media platform.

A core component of fascism is “the belief that one’s group is a victim.” This obsession with perceived victimhood and even humiliation functions as a justification for any action against the group’s enemies. By iterating and reiterating a victimhood narrative, fascism creates a reality in which violence is not just excusable but necessary. TikTok users who embrace this narrative through the #pureblood terminology are borrowing from established fascist narratives, arguing their blood is superior to the tainted, inferior blood of the vaccinated. Their claims are mutually contradictory as they frame themselves as victims of a tyrannical government’s oppression, but simultaneously as strong, virulent patriots. The #pureblood trend illustrates this strategic duality of victimhood and superiority.  

As detailed within this Insight, TikTok is home to a group of creators and audiences that weaponise both superiority and victimhood narratives that have been used throughout history to justify the perpetuation of discrimination and violence. The use of various hashtags in conjunction with the pureblood hashtags conveys the duelling narratives of vitality and victimhood on right-wing TikTok that emerged amid COVID-19. However, this dual victimhood/superiority framework will likely be repurposed for the next conspiracy theory that such users buy into. As such, it is important to understand and recognise the elements of fascism as they manifest in seemingly benign or mainstream content on social media platforms.