The term “feminazi” is one of the most controversial of the words currently used. It is so because of its strong emotional content, as it refers to Nazism, and because it is also linked to an issue that polarizes public opinion: feminism.
It is very common nowadays to find people who criticize this political movement and philosophical current centered on women, pretending that “feminism” and “feminazism” are synonymous. As we will see, there are many reasons to distinguish between the two concepts.
Throughout this article we’ll see what the differences between “feminazi” and “feminist” are , and why it’s a mistake to confuse the two words.
The 4 differences between “feminazi” and “feminist”
This is a summary of the differences that we can find between the feminist and the feminazi, and that will give you reasons not to use them indiscriminately.
1. One is worked on philosophically, the other is not
The first thing that must be pointed out is the difference between the feminist and the “feminazi” is that, while the first concept has been worked on for decades by a large number of female philosophers (and, to a lesser extent, philosophers) , there is not much theoretical concreteness in the meaning of the second.
For example, feminism has been worked on by thinkers like Judith Butler from a perspective that seeks to abolish gender (understood simply as a social construct), while other currents, such as difference feminism, seek to deepen the meaning of being a woman beyond the male view of this issue.
The word “feminazi,” on the other hand, was created in the 1990s by American radio broadcaster and commentator Rush Limbaugh, who was known to be sympathetic to conservative ideology, and therefore failed to describe in too many nuances what something called “feminazism” would be as a social phenomenon.
Thus, there is a clear asymmetry between the phenomenon of feminism, which for decades has produced very diverse ways of addressing the issue of discrimination against women (sometimes complementary, sometimes directly confronting each other and causing battles within feminism itself), and the concept of the feminazi, which is totally devoid of nuances and which no one has managed to work on philosophically.
2. The functions of both terms are different
The word feminism was born as a derogatory term, but soon women’s rights activists appropriated it and made it the name of their political and intellectual movement . Therefore, its usefulness is to label a set of lines of thought and philosophical development, as well as forms of political activism and social movements.
On the other hand, the word “feminazi” is not capable of describing one that is more or less neutral or devoid of emotions, because its reason for being is that of a pejorative term , which only exists to criticize or attack certain groups of people.
That is why many people criticize the simple use of the word “feminazi”, because it is simply there to express an opposition to feminism that goes so far as to attribute to it negative properties typical of an ideology capable of producing genocide.
3. “Feminism” refers to a phenomenon that is easy to define, “feminazi” does not
Currently, the term “feminism” is used as a descriptive term, which serves to designate a social phenomenon that takes place in contemporary society and in a wide variety of countries.
On the other hand, the word “feminazi” does not designate a concrete social phenomenon , since to begin with it is not related to a main idea that serves to indicate where the set of people who participate in “feminazism” begins and ends (even if it is in an approximate, not exact way). The reason for this is found in the two previous sections: it has not been developed theoretically and it is simply born as a pejorative label.
4. Ferminism is a social movement; feminism is not
This is possibly the main difference between “feminist” and “feminazi”. People who consider themselves feminists can be grouped into a group that can be specifically analysed by sociology, because they share certain themes, certain symbols and common concerns that are related to the situation of women.
This is not the case with the concept of “the feminazi”, which cannot be attributed to a specific collective . Today there is simply no social fabric of people who feel identified with political pretensions similar to those of Nazism and who share spaces or demands with feminism.
Obviously, we can always blur the meaning of Nazism to make it correspond to certain authoritarian or even ultra-right-wing attitudes that can be detected in people who call themselves feminists and who have a certain internal organization and capacity to mobilize people.
However, to do this you have to leave behind the most characteristic features of the real Nazis: their ideas of ethno-states (the creation of states assigned to groups of people seen as impossible to mix), the desire to physically exterminate the enemy within (living within one’s own country), corporatism (with vertical unions that carry the leader’s will to all levels of society), and certain mystical and superstitious ideas that explain the origin of the lineages that make up society.
- Krolokke, Charlotte; Anne Scott Sorensen (2005). “Three Waves of Feminism: From Suffragettes to Grrls”. Gender Communication Theories and Analyses: From Silence to Performance. Sage. p. 24.
- Phillips, Melanie (2004). The Ascent of Woman: A History of the Suffragette Movement and the Ideas Behind it. London: Abacus. pp. 1 – 370.
- Seelye, Katherine Q. (1994). “Republicans Get a Pep Talk From Rush Limbaugh.” The New York Times.