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The surprising female presence among the Proud Boys

An Arizona woman accused of participating in the takeover of Congress on January 6 bragged in a video posted on Snapchat that she had recently been recruited by the Proud Boys, an organization of neo-fascists who describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and even now he did not admit women.

Felicia Konold’s claim that she was recruited by the Proud Boys of Kansas and that she was “with them” even though she is not from Kansas City sparked the curiosity of experts studying far-right movements.

“It’s ironic that such a misogynistic organization has attracted a woman,” said Eric Ward, fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “That tells us there are divisions among the Proud Boys right now.”

Details of the video circulated last week in the prosecution of Konold, a 26-year-old from Tucson, charged with conspiring, disorderly conduct and other federal charges in connection with the congressional unrest.

Konold looked almost euphoric in the Snapchat video she posted after the Capitol capture, saying she never imagined she would have the ability to influence the events of that day so much. He refers between smiles to “all my boys, behind me, holding me in the air, resisting. We did it (dirty word)! ”.

To prove that she had been recruited by the Proud Boys of Kansas City, she displayed a two-sided medallion in the video that appeared to identify members of the Proud Boys of Kansas.

His admission to the organization would go against the Proud Boys’ preaching to women, according to Ward.

“The fact that he has that medallion makes me think that something is happening in relation to gender among the Proud Boys, something that should be paid attention to,” said Ward, who is executive director of the Western States Center, a group that defends rights to gender equality.

Experts studying far-right extremist groups highlight the controversy that erupted when former mixed martial arts fighter Tara LaRosa tried in December to open a women’s organization, Proud Girls, on the Telegram app.

The Proud Boys ‘social media channels responded immediately, saying that groups like Proud Boys’ Girls or Proud Girls were “ridiculous ideas.”

“Don’t use us,” read one comment. “Do you want to support us? Get married, have children and take care of your family ”.

Alex DiBranco, executive director of the Institute for White Supremacism Research, said there are differences between the various branches of the Proud Boys on whether to admit women to a Proud Girls grouping, despite increasing numbers in recent years. hostility towards female help. Mothers of Proud Boys comment on the Proud Boys gatherings their children organize.

DiBranco said that people in his group who have worked on this issue do not know of any woman who has been admitted as a member of any branch of the Proud Boys, something that would go against the rules of that organization.

Cassie Miller, an analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that a Proud Boys’ Girls grouping comprised of the wives and girlfriends of members of the organization operated for a time, but were never considered full members. As far as he knows, none of those auxiliary groups are still active.

“The organization made it clear from the beginning that it admits only men and that it has misogynistic positions and believes that women should dedicate themselves to housework, to be mothers and to take care of the house,” said Miller.

Prosecutors contend that William Chrestman, whom they describe as the leader of the Kansas City branch of the Proud Boys, “willingly recruited” Felicia Konold and her brother, Cory Konold, of Arizona, to join the Proud. Boys of Kansas City ”.

Neither his attorney, Victoria Brambl, nor his father responded to messages asking for comment. The brothers were to be paroled on Thursday.

The Proud Boys have sparked violent disturbances during demonstrations and garnered a lot of attention in September when Donald Trump, still president, told them to “back off and be on the lookout.”

Prosecutors claim that beginning in December, the Proud Boys encouraged their members to attend the January 6 rally in Washington. Many of them, including Felicia Konold, were captured on video moving forward together and then entering Congress.

While there were quite a few women at the Jan.6 protests, white supremacist groups are generally dominated by men, according to DiBranco. Conspiracy theories like QAnon’s are popular with women, and opposition to vaccines is dominated by women.

“The protests against the lockdowns exposed their members to these extreme right-wing elements, which these women would not normally have bowed to,” DiBranco said. “Women may have gone from anti-vaccine protests to QAnon and other conspiracies.”