Feminism by definition is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” Nazism by definition is “extreme racist or authoritarian views or behavior.”
Yet, despite the clear opposition of these two words, today, in the 21st century, the term “feminazi” is out there.
Historically, women such as Alice Stone Blackwell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Sojourner Truth have fought for women’s education, the right to vote, and other such causes with the overall goal of breaking through a male dominated society.
However nazism is used to describe something completely different. While feminists fight for equality, nazis battle against it.
So why today would people lump together two terms, one of which used to describe Susan B. Anthony, an influential suffragette and the other most famously describing Hitler, a dictator whose reign instigated the death of millions.
Yes, of course there are extreme feminists just like there extreme individuals of any group, and no one is denying that. However the comparison between a feminist and a nazi is unacceptable. So where did the term come from and who was the first individual to coin it?
There is a clear cut beginning to this word: radio personality and conservative political commentator, Rush Limbaugh. Throughout 1992, Limbaugh coined the term in his book, broadcasts, and interviews.
Limbaugh provides a shocking explanation for his term, explaining how a woman’s right to choose is logically comparable to the holocaust. “Nothing matters but me, says the feminazi. My concerns prevail over all else,” is Limbaugh’s imitation of a feminazi in his December 4th, 1992 broadcast.
Limbaugh goes further, having the audacity to say “abortion is the single greatest avenue for militant women to exercise their quest for power and advance their belief that men aren’t necessary.”
Limbaugh’s comments speak for themselves as abortion is not the topic at hand to debate. Bringing up his comments serves a simple purpose, to point out the farcical background of the term itself.
From the time Limbaugh first used the word to now, it has evolved into a more broad and mainstream term used to describe aggressive or strong-willed feminists. Is it used any longer the way Limbaugh meant it? No. But in a way, its use now is even worse than the way it started. This is because Limbaugh’s usage was so beyond reason, that not much thought was given to it. Now however it’s casually thrown into news articles, broadcasts, and even conversations that it’s almost as if we have forgotten what the suffix of the word is. And that suffix is nazi.
In no world should anyone fighting for equal rights be compared to a member of the third reich. There is no clearer way to say it, a comparison to nazism is completely unsupported.
It must be reiterated that of course there may be feminists who take it too far; there will be feminists who threaten the patriarchy; there are women out there who scare a large portion of society because they are not afraid to change the game. Whatever you feel about these women from pride to fear to dislike is your opinion, but a line must be drawn when comparing them to nazis.
The term “feminazi” is disrespectful, distasteful and should no longer be in use. The fact that it still is shows just how needed feminists still are. Virginia Woolf, an English writer, once said “for most of history ‘anonymous’ was a woman.” Now that this is no longer, it is important not to slander a group of people who have finally been allowed a voice.
Feminism. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism