I grew up during the seventies and eighties. Back then I would occasionally hear my dad mention something called “feminazis” and wonder what that meant. In high school, I learned a feminazi is basically an extreme form of feminism and feminists “don’t like men.”. Still having no clue, I decided that, since I liked men, feminism wasn’t anything I was interested in.
I’m forty-seven years old now and I’ve had time to do a little research. I’ve since learned that “feminazi” was a term tacked on to a certain group of “second-wave feminists” who made comments like the following:
“The proportion of men must be reduced and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” – Sally Miller Gearhart, The Future – If There Is One – Is Female
“The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” – Linda Gordon
“I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” – Andrea Dworkin
“Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women’s movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.” – Sheila Cronin, the leader of the feminist organization NOW
“If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.” – Mary Daly
Why do comments like the above create the necessity of comparing these women with Nazis? In the 1920s and 30s, Adolf Hitler told the German people that all their problems were the fault of one group, namely the Jews, and the best way to solve their problems was to exterminate all the Jews:
“Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst.” – Adolph Hitler, Salzberg, August 1920
“If I am ever really in power, the destruction of the Jews will be my first and most important job. As soon as I have power, I shall have gallows after gallows erected, for example, in Munich on the Marienplatz – as many of them as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged one after another, and they will stay hanging until they stink. They will stay hanging as long as hygienically possible. As soon as they are untied, then the next group will follow and that will continue until the last Jew in Munich is exterminated. Exactly the same procedure will be followed in other cities until Germany is cleansed of the last Jew!” (quoted in John Toland, Adolf Hitler. London: Book Club Associates, 1977, p.116)
See the similarity there? The only difference is that feminists realized, at the time, that you can’t exterminate all the men, because there would be no “breeding stock” with which to renew the human race, hence Ms. Gearhart’s suggestion that men should be reduced to 10% of the world population.
People heard comments like that, along with rhetoric denouncing heterosexual marital relations as “only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing [the woman’s] own oppression” (Sheila Jeffrys) and the “revolutionary” dissolution of the institutions of marriage and family and said “Wow! These people are crazy! They sound just like Nazis.” Thus, the term, “feminazi,” popularized by then radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, was born. Feminists of the time preferred to call themselves “radical feminists,” but it basically meant the same thing: women who were taking the ideas of feminism (i.e. equality with men) to an extreme.
Then, I left high school and I forgot about feminism. I committed the cardinal sin radical feminists everywhere fought against. I got married and had myself some kids and, thereby, discovered the joys of being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen (I love baking! Sue me!) For a while, I was deliriously happy. I had my dream. Then I started hearing some new terms: “third-wave feminist” and “intersectional feminist.” My first thought, typically enough, was, “Feminism? Is that still a thing?” Still, I wasn’t bothered. After all, my favorite DC comic book hero, Wonder Woman, was created by a feminist (a male one).
My husband, on the other hand, grew up among feminists and they left scars on him a mile wide. He’d also been falsely accused of rape by a roommate of one of his ex-girlfriends. He’d occasionally see things on Twitter or other websites that reminded him of those past experiences and hurt him terribly. Since this group of women and, occasionally, men, were saying that “everyone can be a feminist because feminism is about equality.” I started seeing some very unhappy reactions from him. Not because he was male but because he was hurt and, understandably, thought eventually these people would say something I would agree with and I would declare in their favor.
I began watch YouTube videos from people like tl;dr and Milo Yiannopoulos, who could take apart the feminist rhetoric for me and help me to see what they were really trying to say, mainly because I found their new rhetoric to be really confusing. I also began doing my own research, learning what all the trouble was about and why my beloved husband was so upset. Basically, what happened was that my husband, a white male, got involved in a discussion on Twitter where one group was talking about how all accusations of rape should be believed. Some people were popping up saying that all rape allegations aren’t believed because of the number of false rape accusations that occur for various reasons. All my husband did was interject that he had been falsely accused of rape. The response was immediate and brutal. A woman responded by telling my husband to stop “mansplaining” and that his “opinion” wasn’t needed.
I guess what I’m saying is this: “third-wave feminism” bases its legitimacy as an organization on the “fact” that women are still oppressed. Well, congratulations, feminism! You’ve convinced me that I’m oppressed and I’ve decided to stand up against that oppression here and now!
STOP OPPRESSING ME, FEMINISM!
I’m a big girl now! I tie my own shoelaces and everything, so it should be obvious that I don’t need your help.