On how “Feminazi” came to existence
As almost every other Feminazi, I learnt I was one because someone else called me so. They also called me the lighter version misandrist (closest translation from Spanish “hembrista”).
Let’s start from the beginning. Feminism could be defined as the struggle to repair all inequalities which our culture imposes on women.
There is also a supposedly extreme branch, a minority of feminists who overflow the measure of equality and want the whole, if by “whole” we mean women supremacy over men, or else an overwhelming revenge.
The word “Feminazi” was coined in the 1990s by Rush Limbaugh and gained popularity among US conservatives.
In my opinion, it’s one of the most pejorative terms created against feminism. It also illustrates how extreme and reactionary is the opposition to feminism.
There are many things to criticize about an “extreme activist” of any movement. But to compare any of them with a Nazi is disproportionate and in the case of feminism, it is low and malicious.
Low, because the Nazi regime persecuted feminist leaders and set back many hard-earned rights for German women. Also because who created the term and keep making it popular are usually closer to the Nazi views on social order and politics than Feminists themselves.
Malicious, because only someone of privilege can call people “Nazis” in public without risking public scorn and backlash. It is an ancient patriarchal knee-jerk reaction of silencing whatever women are saying, and by any means available.
Finally, it is disproportionate because comparing anything which is not a massive genocide with a massive genocide, is disrespectful to a suffering which belongs to all humanity. Under the banner of Nazism millions of people were murdered, while feminism has not a single kill to regret. I think this shows the lack of empathy from the people using such a word. Therefore, it also exposes the lack of empathy and respect which are naturalized through the use of “Feminazi”
And let’s not forget “Feminazi” was not created in reference to a minority of extremists, but to encompass the whole Feminist movement.
For some people, Feminazi is clearly an insult, while misandrist would be a criticism to feminists who propose the supremacy of women over men, or else some kind of revenge. In my view, it’s exactly the same message, only wrapped in a slightly different envelope.
Misandrist is a more civilized term, but it still holds on to the idea that there exist those “extreme feminists”, who want revenge before anything.
Mind you, it’s not that I don’t believe there aren’t any of them. There surely must be a few out there.
The problem is that the word misandrist gets easily infiltrated within the feminists themselves, way more than what “Feminazi” could achieve.
But why do I reject the misandrist denomination, if I totally get this femiextremist, this possible feminist overdose?
It’s actually simple: misandrist is a term very easy to use in order to discredit those feminisms we don’t agree with. We create the Boogie-Misandrist, and with it the idea that there is a “right measure” to be a feminist, a balanced middle point only one step away from extremism.
And then again, the people who called me a “misandrist”, most of whom had some level of agreement with feminism, were establishing their difference from myself and my “bad Feminism”: they were moderate and fair, they didn’t want the revenge they claimed I was seeking!
On the other hand, they were silencing my message, which they qualified as misandry even before hearing it or seriously trying to understand it. It wasn’t only the word misandrist, but the idea that there is an extreme feminism (and “therefore” evil), what allowed them to reject my ideas at first sight.
Misandrists and witches
This way of thinking is, to my linking, too similar to a witch hunt. Witches were any woman who stepped aside from the permitted behavior. Women with their own ideas, women who laughed, free women, were all accused of witchcraft.
But the accusation and punishment was not only for the witches, but a warning to all women: this is what happens to those who don’t go by the book. The accusation of “witchcraft” requires no further proof than the accusation itself, and is therefore a powerful tool for control: all women knew what was their fate if they brought such accusation upon themselves.
The trick, the “I always win” of patriarchy, is that even the woman who complies to all possible rules can still be accused of being a witch. No good woman is safe, not matter how good she is and how far away she stays from the “bad” ones.
Likewise, the term misandrist implies there are good feminists and bad feminists, although the latter are always described as not belonging to “real” feminism whenever possible. What can be deduced from this is that there are “good ways” of making feminism and “bad ways” which shouldn’t be used, or should be banned, or shouldn’t be considered feminists.
The result turns out to be the same for both witches and misandrists: instead of helping unite women with different ideas, it separates them, segregates them, rejects them. What happens in the end is that we follow the patriarchal rule of competing and fighting among women, to prove we are the “good ones” and not the “bad ones”
And you know what? Screw the good feminist!
Being the “good ones” means staying within the limits of what’s permitted. If we consider there are feminists and misandrists, we’re basically saying there is a way to be a feminist that is allowed to be, and one that is forbidden. Anyone can decide a certain statement is “too feminist”, or “exaggerated”, or anything at all, and produce an accusation of misandry.
The bottom line is we shouldn’t go too far, without “too far” ever being properly defined. In the end, the idea of a misandrist becomes a delimitation between what is allowed and what is not. And what kind of freedom and self-determination can we achieve through feminism if we can only think inside the box?
And maybe more disturbing: who made the box in the first place?
Feminism is resistance in itself, a subversion of the misogynist order, a rebellion. What success can we expect of a rebellion that only allows to rebel within a strict set of rules?
Patriarchy is no only inequality in benefit of masculine identities. It is a millenary monstrosity, which grew fat and strong through the centuries, becoming more insidious and violent, and at the same time remained invisible. We get used to its logics and myths like we get used to breathe in a room full of foul air.
One person alone could hardly untangle such an ideological mess, which is also the base to all sciences, theories and descriptions of reality.
Everything we know today had its origin in the point of view of the male supremacy and the objectification of women.
How, then, are we supposed to undo a five-thousand-year road, if any time we hear a reasoning that pushes us out of our comfort zone, we run away yelling “Misandry!” ?
One bloody example
Let’s jump to an example of misandry which was delivered to me while being lectured on why I am a misandrist: the “divinization” of menstruation and/or menstrual blood. The people who handed me this example claimed that menstruation is a normal biological function, therefore there’s no need to sacralize it.
Here are the problems I found in this type of logic.
First of all, claiming that menstruation is “a normal bodily function” is to ignore that through centuries and even millennia it wasn’t considered as such. Instead, it was regarded as a sin, an impurity, a curse or an annoyance, depending on the time and place.
It sounds a lot like supposing all of that was erased with the birth of the 20th century science, and therefore no woman has a reason to make any individual work to relate with her menstruation in any way other than scientifically aseptic.
By this logic, any attempt to sacralize female cycles is invalid and exaggerated. In the end, it is condemning a priori a practice of personal growth some people chose in order to heal the wounds they have, or think they have.
Here we can also apply the 5000 years rule: are we really saying we can get over all history’s menstrual obscurantism in less than a lifetime?
I get the feeling that in order to assert it, we need to either over-dimension women’s mental power, or minimize the real impact of living in a world where women couldn’t even speak about their menstruation for centuries.
Centuries of fear, silence and lies fed from mothers to daughters over generations. And you’re telling me it is “excessive” to try and re encounter our own bodies, our own cycles, our own sexuality, form a place which is not the one assigned to us by others?
The only other option I see is that maybe, behind this reasoning there is a silent stereotype according to which women have no reason whatsoever to explore their relation with their bodies.
An unconscious patriarchal mandate whispering in our ears that women don’t know what they need, they’ve been handed an explanation by male-science, so what else is there to know about it?
Any sign of curiosity about what has already been explained would be excessive according to this logic. Curiosity killed the cat, claim those who fear other people’s freedom to be curious and to live or die as they please.
Or maybe, and here’s the cherry on top, what’s making some people uncomfortable is the appropriation of the divinity.
There certainly are religions which consider the body as a vessel of divinity. But divinization of menstruation in western females represents a double revolt.
First, to take down the man-god from his celestial throne, to which only good women, virgin and enslaved have access. And then, to hand the vacant crown to the dark and unspeakable horror: female sexuality, its cycles and -to the Catholic Church’s chagrin- the absence of conception.
Maybe this simply crashes against unexplored taboos.
And then again, the term misandrist allows us to project the negative in someone else, instead of writing a question mark on our own fears, prejudices and patriarchal habits.
Let’s get uncomfortable
Having all this stuff in mind, let’s get back to feminism: In its beginning, there was no such thing as a “good feminist”. All of them were categorized as rebellious women who fought against dominant culture, and therefore bad women.
Thanks to the unceasing fight, often to death, of organized female workers, suffragettes and feminists, the radical idea that women are people and deserve to be treated as such slowly infiltrated our culture.
Explicit sexism became more and more unpopular, but never quit firing its artillery in the attempt to stop evil women. At the same time, more subtle versions of sexism arose, as cheat codes to skip real equality (and the unavoidable reflection on the subject) from supposedly egalitarian arguments.
Also, anti-feminist movements appeared, based on “rational” arguments, which usually reproduced sexist myths and fallacies, or else minimized the real dimension of patriarchy and it effects on human population, generally through forced comparisons.
Feminism, then, from its origins was bound to make people uncomfortable.
Being raised in a misogynist culture, it’s impossible to become an adult without internalizing millions of tiny sexist ideas, and this is true for men and women, cis and trans.
Feminism questions that “common sense” inherited from a culture in which males held the monopoly of politics and knowledge for most of history.
It questions sexist beliefs and mechanisms that many times we don’t even know we’ve learned or, even worse, we take for reasonable thoughts.
Because it fights against an order which was established for longer than any living human can remember, feminism is transgressor in its essence. Feminist ideas must disturb anyone who feels adapted to the rules as they are today.
But most important, it must make us feminist uncomfortable.
Our evolution as feminists leads us to constantly question what we think (which by no means should be equal to letting anyone question us). If we rest on our laurels where we feel comfortable, it means we’re no longer moving forward.
Extreme feminists, who proclaim the need to stop all interaction with males, or annihilate them, or subjugate them, or destroy humanity to start over, or any madness you can think of, are also necessary for feminism to move forward.
If there were no extremes, there wouldn’t be a balanced middle either. If there were no misandrists and Feminazis, embittered by their lust for revenge, there wouldn’t be “reasonable” feminists either, nor faux feminists and Cosmo-feminists.
Human diversity and diversity among women is so huge that no measure will ever fit them all. Each woman has to try and find her own way, exploring the ideas and experiences she considers necessary for her journey of learning. That’s my vision of feminism.
And if that learning requires them to experience violence and destructive thoughts, then so be it. Human beings have done so since the dawn of time, why should we stop when we’re talking about a movement which is supposed to make us free?
I’m not at all worried about extreme expressions of feminism. I’m way more worried about them being censored, dismissed or excluded from feminism. I think our experience and knowledge are impoverished when we keep them out.
Mind you, I don’t mean we should all become extreme feminists overnight.
All I’m saying is their existence is not only enriching, and to some extent necessary, it is also unavoidable.
Believing this type of feminism is the one that gives a bad name to “good feminists”, is also ignoring that the sexist fallacy of misandry can be used against any type of feminism. Those who called me a misandrist, were in turn called misandrist by people who were somehow less feminist than themselves.
It is a trap-word, created to divide us and each time we use it, we give it more power. When we call a feminist misandrist, we’re strengthening a tool which will be then used against ourselves.
A few conclusions
The word Feminazi is no less than the demonstration of the ignorance and lack of empathy from the person who uses it. It also seems to emerge from the monumental male ego our culture feeds, or else the enormous fear of women who don’t fit the norm:If something makes me uncomfortable or goes against what I believe, it’s the same thing as a genocide of six million victims! If they’re saying I’m doing something wrong, it must be because they’re coming to destroy us all!
The term misandrist reflects a similar situation, behind which there usually lies an unchallenged patriarchal mandate, regarding the nature of sexism, its deep roots in western “knowledge”, or the prejudice that male guardianship knows what is best for women.
Whatever the case is, and especially in case my humble analysis is brimming with mistakes, I think it is worth it to lay down arms regarding “extreme” feminisms, those which make us uncomfortable, and place the look on ourselves, to find out which sexist belief is still hidden within our own reasoning.
Let’s not think of misandry as a mistake, but as a challenge to think beyond ourselves, to defy our own taboos. There’s something we can learn from each of those extreme feminists.
Let us be wild, and confronting, and combative!
Let us dismiss anything that limits us, even when it is feminism itself!
At the end of the day, those of us who strive for true equality will always be a majority. Maybe the only difference among us is how we fight for equality, or else how we measure the preexisting inequality.