“Feminazi”: a feminist current … too radical?

word feminazi it has spread in recent decades as a way of referring somewhat ambiguously to women who believe in the superiority of their sex over that of men and who want to impose themselves on them through totalitarian practices.

So far, whether or not there is someone who deserves the nickname “Feminazi”, it seems just one more word among the many that have been invented recently, but its existence is not accidental.

The idea to which the word Feminazi refers is made up of a set of stereotypes about feminist people. It is a journalistic invention that responds to a smear campaign targeting feminism from conservative political positions. An attempt has been made to create a discourse in which feminists remain associated with nazism.

For this, they have the invaluable help of stereotypes and heuristic thinking, two elements taken into account in political propaganda and social psychology.

Beyond specific 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 any women who are thought to be superior to men? Considering the number of people inhabiting planet Earth, it would be adventurous to say no.

Before judging positively or negatively the existence of this word, it should be borne in mind that in usage today, it is quite possible that, rather than referring to a particular person, we are referring to everything. a political movement. .. linking it to Nazism. In fact, this word Feminazi was coined in the 1990s to delegitimize not specific people but feminism, and the legacy of its meaning is still alive today. Because? Because the word Feminazi is rooted in a smear campaign towards feminists over 100 years old.

conservative propaganda

The use of generalizations and clichés is constant in our daily life. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to detect when we fall into such intellectual slips, as they are part of the realm of heuristic thinking, a way of thinking that is automatic and virtually effortless.

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

In Western countries, the feminist movement consolidated itself as a political agent at the end of the 19th century to demand the women’s right to vote. It is an assertion which seems to us today so legitimate that its questioning produces an immediate repulsion, but a century ago it was a totally revolutionary thing which raised all the alarms in a establishment controlled by the man. . It was then that public opinion began to feed on anti-government propaganda. suffragettes which demanded an equal vote.

Thus, the United States saw the publication of posters and cartoons in which the feminists of the time are described as cruel and masculine women, with totalitarian anxieties whose main aspiration was to subjugate the man, this which totally coincides with the (somewhat diffuse) concept of Feminazi. . All this, let us remember, to campaign for the right to vote.

A close examination of the propaganda elements that spiced up the pro or anti-feminist debate of the time reveals that the stereotypes associated with the idea of ​​what some now call “the feminazis” have not changed at all since that time. suffragists claimed the right to vote in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Stereotypes linked to the Feminazi concept

The funny thing is not that feminists were accused of behaving like men back then, but that these stereotypes still hold true today, associated with a type of person who is sometimes referred to as Feminazi to denote a mysterious link with totalitarianism and extermination. Here, you can see how posters from the suffragist era exhibit characteristics that are still present in memes and comics today.

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 humility is enough to draw irregular teeth, wide and voluminous noses and wrinkled eyebrows.

They want to dominate the man

Of course, one attribute that is implicit in the word Feminazi is the will to impose oneself on others. However, this cliché has been around long before the word was invented. A hundred years ago, suffragists were described as wanting to wrest gender roles and privileges to men, neglecting household chores and, in general, household chores.

Today, it is not so common to see such paradoxical critiques of feminism (before being accused of doing the exact same thing as men, while emphasizing that women dominate the relationship), but l he assumption that feminists are intolerant and authoritarian is still present. .

Male aesthetics

The accusation of wanting to look like men is common in campaigns against feminism. It is understood that feminists they transgress gender roles related to the idea of ​​the “feminine”, and this is also carried to the aesthetic as if it were a negative thing.

Sexual abuse

Women have traditionally been seen to use their sexuality like that of men as manipulators prone to use your body to achieve their own ends. From this perspective, almost all of the characteristics of women that can be associated with gender and that it has nothing to do with creating a family is portrayed as belonging to women of low moral profile 100 years ago and today.

This is a logic often used to attack feminists, who have a view of female sexuality that goes far beyond the family.

They are feminists for their hatred of men

Very often, cartoons of feminist women refer to the central role played by man in the “conversion” of certain women to feminism. In this way, activists’ motivations are attributed to an inability to relate properly to men. The Feminazi concept fits this stereotype well, with German National Socialism feeding off a totally irrational contempt for certain groups qualified as races.

These simple examples fit into a much more complex social situation than can be glimpsed in simple caricatures, but they can serve to give us an idea of ​​the context in which the term Feminazi appears. Its meaning may be completely different in a few decades, but that doesn’t mean it was put into circulation with a clear political objective where psychology and a changing situation for women’s rights come into play.

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