White Knighting

What does White Knighting mean?

Coming to the rescue of someone in trouble

White knighting typically describes a scenario where usually a man rushes to protect someone, often a woman, who is under some form of attack or distress. This term is mostly used in the digital world, especially when an individual steps up to defend others who are being bullied online.

This term is inspired by the legendary white knight characters found in many stories. These characters are often depicted as heroic fighters who come to the rescue of others in need. In today’s world, a white knight is seen as an online defender, safeguarding victims from verbal attacks and online harassment.

Although standing up for others is generally viewed as a noble act, the term white knighting can sometimes have a negative connotation. Critics of white knighting argue that this act is usually driven by the expectation of gaining a reward from the person being defended, often something of a sexual nature.

For instance, if a user is being harassed by a group of internet trolls in a chatroom or on a forum, a white knight might jump in to defend the victim. Similarly, if a woman is being criticized for a picture she shares on social media, a white knight might step up to counter the critics.

Example for using ‘White Knighting’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see what happened on Twitter yesterday?

No, what happened?

Well, this girl posted a picture of herself and some people started making fun of her.

That’s terrible! Did anyone stick up for her?

Yeah, this guy came to her defense. He was white knighting for her.