What is a Feminazi?

By Nicole Goulet

The term ‘feminazi’ reared its ugly head on my Facebook feed this week.  It showed up innocently, not as an accusation (although it is always an accusation), but as part of a casual conversation about what feminism was.  In this case, it was someone mentioning their distaste for the archetypical feminazi, the imaginary feminist who is outraged by imaginary men opening imaginary doors for her.

The term ‘feminazi’ emerged in the 1990’s, as popularized (and possibly created) by political commentator Rush Limbaugh, to refer to a particular type of “extreme” feminist (namely, pro-choice activists). “Feminazi” has since been used in a variety of ways to give negative value to certain groups of women. Some examples include:  high profile activists like Gloria Steinem; unknown feminists dissatisfied with and critical of the current status of women; and those women who do not conform to the culturally dominant beauty standards (e.g. shaving). In defining the term ‘feminazi,’ it is safe to say that it is used quite liberally depending on the situation. Continue reading “What is a Feminazi?”

Who Are You? I’m a Feminist

Jesus Was a FeministPhoto credit: stoptalk.wordpress.com

  “Who Are You?” is an ongoing series that asks members of Culture on the Edge to reflect on one of their own many identities (whether national, gendered, racial, familial, etc.), theorizing at the same time the self-identification that they each chose to discuss.

I received a touching note from one of my graduating seniors this past week, who said, among other things, that I taught her that she didn’t have to fear calling herself a feminist.   Every time I have a student tell me this, I consider the irony of my own response when, as an undergraduate, one of my Religious Studies professors handed me a photocopied article entitled something like “Jesus Was a Feminist.” I don’t really remember the details of what the author said, except for the basic thesis (now considered quite tame) that the Bible depicts Jesus as a person who cared about gender equity in a society that didn’t. I freely admit that, at the time, I had no academic exposure to gender theory, and even though I was acutely aware of sexism, I had never heard the term “feminist” used in a positive light. In short, I remember being appalled at the article. Continue reading “Who Are You? I’m a Feminist”

Reorganizing Sympathies

feminist

This old image recently made the rounds again in my Facebook feed, and I shared it myself. It got me into a little bit of an argument on one of my friends’ wall. The objection was along these lines: if we water down “feminism” to gender equity, which pretty much everyone can agree to these days, then it becomes meaningless—it’s not substantial enough of a vision to drive a real agenda. Continue reading “Reorganizing Sympathies”