QAmoms: Understanding How Women Shaped the QAnon Movement in the United States of America

– Executive Summary

Q managed to make us feel special, that we were being given critical information that basically was going to save all that is good in the world and the United States.

—Lenka Perron, former QAnon believer[1]

In 2017, QAnon burst onto the online scene with a startling claim: Hillary Clinton was involved in a secret group of child-trafficking Democrats.[2] QAnon’s ideology revolves around the belief that a bloodthirsty elite group of pedophiles controls the government while the population remains oblivious.[3] Over time, QAnon has grown to encompass many unfounded beliefs and claims: anti-vaccine sentiments, anti-5G sentiments, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration narratives, lizard people on Earth, concerns about government corruption and overreach, and much more.[4] Most disturbingly, these bizarre beliefs matter because the group inspires real-world violence despite the information’s falsehoods.

In 2020, women emerged as the driving force behind the movement’s influence.[5] QAnon did not gain significant traction until women became followers, driven by the desire to protect innocent children from sex trafficking.[6] Often overlooked, women have instrumental roles in social movements, effectively communicating messages, legitimizing causes, shaping beliefs and values, constructing grievances, and activating based on these collective action frames. The rise and spread of QAnon presented nuanced challenges and concerns to homeland security due to its dissemination of misinformation and threat of violence. The group and movement raise concerns on several fronts. First, evidence links mentally ill individuals to committing violence on behalf of this group.[7] Second, women unintentionally contribute to misinformation regarding human trafficking.[8] The above factors challenge law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, and government institutions.

This thesis examines the literature on women’s participation in far-right and conservative Christian social movements while highlighting their connection to QAnon’s ideology. The primary objective is to identify collective frames rooted in grievances, messaging, purpose, and ideology contributing to participation, activism, and mobilization. Furthermore, this thesis employs two theoretical frameworks, social movement theory (framing) and social identity theory, to draw parallels between QAnon and various social movements grounded in conservatism and far-right ideology. This analysis concludes that two overarching collective frames resonate with women: white religious conservatism and maternal altruism. These frames provide insight into women’s involvement and explain QAnon’s appeal.

This study demonstrates the above collective frames present an aspect of identity and purpose that resonate and mobilize some women based on a perceived threat. One key finding is that QAnon, as a social movement based on far-right ideology, shares the same grievances and anxiety of women of the Klan and other far-right social movements—a problem defined by the anxiety and fear that the government is trying to control their bodies, families, and belief systems. Another finding is that QAnon’s narrative of maternalism and altruism establishes a powerful emotional connection for women regardless of race and education. The study shows that human-trafficking advocacy creates a purpose for these women, as they mobilize and protest based on the belief that this issue is underreported or purposely covered up by conspirators within the government.[9] The research in this field is necessary because it demonstrates that collective identity around white conservative religious and maternal frames within QAnon drives some women to participate in and sometimes commit violence on behalf of the group.

This research contributes to the understanding of social movements rooted in conspiracy theories and far-right ideology. This thesis highlights the current limitations in QAnon-related research, which remains fragmented between several disciplines and fails to comprehensively explore social movements and the role of gender in participation and mobilization. Further research is needed to build on a multi-disciplinary framework associating social identity with collective action. In conclusion, significant research on women’s roles in QAnon is missing from the literature. Therefore, further investigation is needed to understand the full dynamics of their participation in QAnon. This gap in research is significant because female participation in this movement has radicalized some women to commit violence against their own families and children. Thus, expanding our understanding of this phenomenon is essential for developing effective strategies and recommendations.

[1] Sabrina Tavernise, “‘Trump Just Used Us and Our Fear’: One Woman’s Journey Out of QAnon,” New York Times, December 1, 2021, ProQuest.

[2] Hans W. A. Hanley, Deepak Kumar, and Zakir Durumeric, “No Calm in The Storm: Investigating QAnon Website Relationships,” Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 16 (March 31, 2022): 300,

[3] Kevin Roose, “What Is QAnon, the Viral Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory?,” New York Times, September 3, 2021, ProQuest.

[4] Amanda Garry et al., “QAnon Conspiracy Theory: Examining Its Evolution and Mechanisms of Radicalization,” Journal for Deradicalization, no. 26 (Spring 2021): 214.

[5] Ciaran O’Connor et al., The Boom before the Ban: QAnon and Facebook (London: Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2020), 15–17,

[6] Bond Benton and Daniela Peterka-Benton, “Truth as a Victim: The Challenge of Anti-Trafficking Education in the Age of Q,” Anti-Trafficking Review, no. 17 (September 2021): 113–14,‌10.14197/atr.201221177.

[7] Michael A. Jensen and Sheehan Kane, QAnon Offenders in the United States (College Park, MD: START, 2021),

[8] Benton and Peterka-Benton, “Truth as a Victim,” 113.

[9] Rachel E. Moran and Stephen Prochaska, “Misinformation or Activism?: Analyzing Networked Moral Panic through an Exploration of #SaveTheChildren,” Information, Communication & Society 0, no. 0 (November 16, 2022): 16,

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