Over the years I’ve developed a pretty thick skin. Most insults don’t affect me anymore. However, when I discovered that a girl I know called me a “feminazi” behind my back, I was offended – not because she was attacking my beliefs, but because of the principle behind it.
As the word suggests, “feminazi” is a combination of the words “feminist” and “Nazi”. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh popularized the word in the early 90s “to describe any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism” and “who [is] obsessed with perpetuating a modern-day holocaust: abortion.” Although Limbaugh initially said that only a very specific type of woman classifies as a “feminazi”, he has more recently used it as a pejorative to attack the feminist movement in general.
Limbaugh has named Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lati, Anita Hill, and Camryn Manheim as famous feminazis. Steinem responded to Limbaugh in an interview saying, “Hitler came to power against the strong feminist movement in Germany, padlocked the family planning clinics, and declared abortion a crime against the state – all views that more closely resemble Limbaugh's.
There is a small group of feminists who are actually embracing the term. There are multiple shirts online (like this one) that tout the label “feminazi” as something to take pride in. Although I acknowledge that reclaiming insulting terms can be empowering for some, calling yourself a “feminazi” is still insensitive. Just like those who take pride in calling themselves “grammar nazis.”
When you use the term “feminazi”, you not only trivialize the feminist movement, you also trivialize the struggles of those affected by the Holocaust. During World War II, Hitler and the Nazis murdered not only Jews, but anyone deemed unfit for Germany, including the Romani people, homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped, intellectuals, and artists. Comparing a social movement to a group of people who carried out the mass murder of 11 million people is not only insensitive – it’s incredibly ignorant.
Feminism is not out to destroy men. Actually, feminism benefits everyone. (Check out Rachelle’s article to read how feminism benefits men).
Call me opinionated, call me passionate, feel free to disagree with my beliefs – but don’t call me (or anyone else) a “feminazi”.
Megan is a Writing, Literature & Publishing major from sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. She enjoys red lipstick, kombucha, cats, and driving her Volkswagen Beetle named Sasha. She also pretends she's Marina & the Diamonds in her spare time. You can contact Megan on her Twitter or Facebook.
Images: anarchy-camp.com, bustle.com