From Cowgirl To Julia Fox: Goblin Mode Is The Internet’s Favourite New Phrase
Move over trolls, it’s goblin time!
Move over trolls, it’s goblin time! If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen the phrase “goblin mode” doing the rounds.
The trend can be roughly surmised as behaviour where the participant sheds all social inhibitions and indulges in hedonistic whims, such as growling on all fours and breaking long-standing alliances.
Don’t overthink goblin mode. It’s simply taking pleasure in hoarding shiny objects and being playfully mischievous
— 𝚗𝚘𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚘𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚛 (@rellortnocon) February 19, 2022
But tricky thing about embracing goblin mode is that it actually bears two distinctly different meanings. One is centred around indulging our repressed, chaotic, and mischievous behaviour — the kind that builds up after long days of working through lunch breaks, or after spending stale and idle weeks with extended family over Christmas. The other meaning, well, it revolves around a particular kind of sex move.
A Quick History Of Goblin Mode
According to the meme bible Know Your Meme, the term was first used back in 2009 by twitter user @jenniferdujour, describing someone’s high octane behaviour.
m was in full hyperactive goblin mode last night. it was as if she ate a bag of sugar-coated candy, then washed it down with a few red bulls
— jen f (@jenniferdujour) February 10, 2009
Aside from the odd reference in Urban Dictionary, goblin mode could have been doomed to lurk in the shadows for all eternity. Until, on one faithful day in October 2021, twitter user @housesitter captured the hearts and minds of the internet with a recollection of an ex-lover who used the term to describe a sex position.
thinkin about how someone i used to hook up with called cowgirl position “goblin mode”
— Mr. Chairman Me-YOW! (@housesitter_) October 6, 2021
Subsequent goblin scholars would theorise that the phrase, when applied to cow sex, evoked the practice of the top-most participant squatting — or as @darth_panic’s put it: goblin mode is knees up.
Goblin mode is different than cowgirl. Goblin mode is knees up. Cowgirl is knees to bed.
— Mx. Crain (@darth_panic) October 7, 2021
For the visual learners out there, here’s an illustrated example courtesy of Spider-man‘s Green Goblin.
— Ryan Sudhakaran (@ryrysuds) October 6, 2021
As fate would have it, while Twitter’s collective imagination was being captured by the possibilities of goblins and sex, the green hordes would strike another dominion of social media: Reddit.
A viral post on r/funny was later retweeted by goblin academics to suggest evidence of “proto-goblin mode” behaviour.
— grace coe 🌻 (@gracemcoe) February 16, 2022
The combination of these two viral images would prove to be the winning formula in elevating goblins from mere fantasy fodder into the big league.
How Did Julia Fox Get Swept Up In It All?
Goblins are traditionally very mischievous creatures, who make for bad allies and libellous journalists.
So, of course, it tracks that a doctored headline — created by an impish twitter user @meowmeowmeuw — suggesting that the actor’s split from musician Kanye West was due to Fox’s tendency to go “goblin mode” began circulating last week.
no fucking way pic.twitter.com/7LnXGQfgeI
— juniper (@meowmeowmeuw) February 15, 2022
The fake story eventually reached boiling point when Fox was forced to clarify via Instagram that she had actually “never used the term”.
julia fox had to address the goblin mode allegations lol pic.twitter.com/SzJj1HJmM3
— juniper (@meowmeowmeuw) February 19, 2022
This admission was seen by those amongst the goblin hordes as a glorious victory, leading to the evolution of a powerful new tactic. The doctoring of fake headlines about celebrities going full goblin is now a widespread method used to grow the goblin cause.
BREAKING: Robert Pattinson teases Bruce Wayne’s “goblin mode” in ‘THE BATMAN.’
“He’s a fucking sicko, mate. It’s absolutely feral. I love it.” pic.twitter.com/41jtBrM2HB
— Le Cinéphiles (@LeCinephiles) February 21, 2022
Sadly, Goblins Aren’t Forever
All social crazes — from fidget spinning to planking — have a beginning and an end. Even now, at the height of the meme’s popularity, there is evidence for its decline.
Me praying for forgiveness after going goblin mode pic.twitter.com/rqOyqpWh8t
— Kate (@connecticuthag) February 16, 2022
You are not going ‘goblin mode’ you are a 33-year-old with undiagnosed IBS
— Deirdre (@figgled) February 22, 2022
Goblin mode’s proliferation and subsequent shift into the mainstream has drained some of the visceral chaos out of the movement. The font where the green-skins once drew their strength from has been contaminated by weak goblin content that insults their gods.
When people say “goblin mode” this is what they mean https://t.co/LEaCJOej93
— A-List Actor Dave McNamee (@DaveMcNamee3000) February 19, 2022
Our attraction to goblin mode as an outlet for our menial frustrations and tensions is akin to the strange relationship many of us have made with isolation and quarantine over the last years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps it will fade from this world once we’re all recovered from a collective two years of cabin fever.