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"Feminazi": a feminist current ... too radical?

June 17, 2024

The word feminazi It has been spreading in the last decades as a way of referring in a somewhat ambiguous way to women who believe in the superiority of their sex over that of men and who want to impose themselves on them using totalitarian practices. So far, and regardless of whether there is any person worthy of the name "feminazi", this seems one more word of the many that have been invented recently, but its existence is not accidental.

The idea referred to by the word feminazi is formed by a set of topics about feminists. It is a journalistic invention that responds to a campaign of discrediting directed against feminism from conservative political positions. An attempt has been made to create a discourse in which feminists are left associated with Nazism .

For this they count on the invaluable help of the stereotypes and heuristic thinking, two elements that are taken into account in political propaganda and Social psychology .

Beyond the concrete cases

The meaning of the term feminazi may change from time to time, and what it refers to may exist to a greater extent depending on the context. Are there women who think themselves superior to men? Taking into account the number of people who inhabit the planet earth, it would be risky to say no.

However, before judging positively or negatively the existence of this word, we must bear in mind that if it is used today, it is very possible that, rather than referring to a specific person, we refer to a whole political movement. .. relating it to Nazism. In fact, this feminine word was devised in the 1990s to delegitimize not specific people, but feminism, and the heritage of its meaning is still alive today. Why? Because the word feminazi has its roots in a smear campaign towards feminists that is more than 100 years old.

Conservative propaganda

The use of generalizations and topics is constant in our day to day. In addition, it is extremely difficult to detect when we are falling into this type of intellectual slippage because they are part of the realm of thought by heuristics, an automatic mode of thought that practically does not require effort.

Often these stereotypes are due to ignorance or intellectual laziness, but in other cases there are political motivations behind these topics. The case of feminists is a clear example of this.

In Western countries, the feminist movement was consolidated as a political agent at the end of the 19th century to ask for voting rights for women . This is a claim that nowadays seems so legitimate that putting it in doubt produces immediate rejection, but a century ago it was something totally revolutionary that made all the alarms jump in a stablishment controlled by men. It was at that time that public opinion began to be fed with propaganda against the suffragettes They asked for an equal vote.

Thus, the United States saw posters and cartoons published in which the feminists of the time are described as cruel women with masculine traits, with totalitarian desires whose main aspiration was to subdue man, something that coincides totally with the concept (somewhat diffuse) of feminazi. All this, remember, for campaigning for the right to vote.

Closely observing the pieces of propaganda that dress the pro or anti-feminist debate of the time reveals that the stereotypes associated with the idea of ​​what some people today call "the feminazi" have not changed at all since the suffragettes claimed the right to vote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Stereotypes related to the feminazi concept

The curious thing is not that feminists were accused of behaving as they behaved men of the time, but these stereotypes are still valid today, associated with a type of person who is sometimes called feminazi to denote a mysterious connection with totalitarianism and extermination. Here you can see how the posters of the era of the suffragettes show characteristics that are still present in the memes and current comic strips.

Ugly and cruel women

Associate ugliness with evil it is something so common in propaganda that it is one of the most constant laws in the caricature and discredit of the political rival. Anyone who wants to communicate moral turpitude has enough to draw irregular teeth, large and bulging noses and frowning brows.

They want to dominate man

Of course, an attribute that is implicit in the word feminazi is the will to impose on others. However, this topic exists long before the invention of the word.One hundred years ago, the suffragettes were described as wanting to take away gender roles and privileges to men, neglecting household chores and, in general, housework. Nowadays, it is not so frequent to see criticisms of feminism so paradoxical (before they were accused of doing exactly the same as men, although putting emphasis on the unnatural nature of women dominating the relationship), but the assumption that feminists are intolerant and authoritarian is still present.

Male aesthetics

The accusation of wanting to resemble men is common in campaigns against feminism. It is understood that feminists transgress gender roles related to the idea of ​​"the feminine", and that is also taken to aesthetics as if it were something negative.

Misuse of sexuality

Traditionally, women have been seen making use of their sexuality similar to that of men as manipulators prone to use your body to achieve their own ends. From this perspective, almost any characteristic of women that can be associated with sex and that has nothing to do with the creation of a family is portrayed as belonging to women with a low moral profile, both 100 years ago and today. It is a logic that is often used to attack feminists, who have a vision of female sexuality that goes far beyond the family.

They are feminists for their hatred of men

Very often, caricatures about feminist women make reference to the central role played by man in the "conversion" of some women to feminism. In this way the motivations of the activists are attributed to an inability to relate adequately with men. The feminazi concept ties in well with this stereotype, since German National Socialism was fed by a totally irrational contempt for some collectives labeled as races.

These simple examples are part of a social situation much more complex than can be glimpsed in a few simple cartoons, but can serve to make us an idea about the context in which the term feminazi appears. Its meaning can be totally different in a few decades, but that does not mean that it has been put into circulation with a clear political objective in which psychology and a situation of change in favor of women's rights come into play.

Julie Bindel interviews Jonathon Narducci (Film Director and Producer) (June 2024).

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