Feminist Icon Series



Rush Limbaugh coined the tern “feminazi.”

Two words that typically run together are ¨feminazi¨ and ¨radical feminist.¨ When one comes the other typically follows, but they happen to be two very different ideas. Finding a direct definition for ¨radical feminists¨ was difficult. Some websites said that they were all violent, while others said the opposite. The definition that seemed to make the most sense was from radfem collective.org. They say, as radical feminists, that ¨Its central tenet is that women as a biological class are globally oppressed by men as a biological class. We believe that male power is constructed and maintained through institutional and cultural practices that aim to bolster male superiority through the reinforcement of female inferiority. One such manifestation of the patriarchy is gender, which we believe to be a socially constructed hierarchy which functions to repress female autonomy and has no basis in biology.¨ So essentially, they believe we live in a patriarchy which is ruled by man, and they wish to abolish that. The majority of our society when feminists are brought up typically think that they´re pro-abortion because not every feminist is Pro-Life. This idea was constructed by conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, who also created the term ¨feminazi.¨ He is stated saying that, ¨they see that there are as many abortions as possible.¨

This created both backlash and support, as a lot of people have picked up this derogatory phrase.

Jackson Katz, an anti-violence educator, fired back at Limbaugh stating that ¨No such feminists exist, and that feminazi is a clever term for propaganda, intended and used and used to bully into complicit silence women who might otherwise challenge men´s voice.¨

Other activists also comment by pointing out that comparing the feminists movement to Nazism is ¨deeply ignorant,¨ and an attempt to demonise feminists and that ¨if it wasn´t such an offensive word, you could actually start to embrace it and own it.¨

Gloria Steinem writes that ¨Hitler came to power against the strong feminist movement in Germany, padlocked the family planning clinics, and declared abortion a crime against the state–all views that more closely resemble Limbaugh’s.¨ 

Those who support this phrase agree that feminists do in fact want abortions. Youtube channel ¨GirlDefined¨ is quoted saying, (in their video ¨8 Reasons We aren’t Feminists,¨) that; ¨What kind of good women would want to kill the smallest, most innocent women in our world?¨ So where did this notion come from? Was it Limbaugh? Or did something else give the big portion of our society this idea. There are several theories.

There are feminists that are highlighted acting out in a violent way. Some women who identify as feminists have been seen in the news throwing things at people, or causing riots. When society witnesses these women acting out they immediately label all feminists as these. But this goes for every group. Unfortunately when it comes to groups and labeling, one person can ruin it for everyone, and give society a bad impression of the group as a whole.

University of Notre Dame Head of Gender Studies Professor Mary Kearny states that, “Karl Marx saw that society was divided up and made into a hierarchy socioeconomically. Radical feminists in the 60s took that model and applied gender instead. They said that “the basic way society is divided is not by class, but by men and women, by gender. So they thought, ‘Look, if we eliminate gender as this category, look how much oppression is lifted and released when women get to do what men do.” She also states, when referring to the term, “Feminazi,” that “I think Feminazi has been used for not just radical feminists. It’s used when anyone is scared that their privilege is going to be taken away from them.”

Unfortunately identifying as something as awesome as a feminist, there will be people that are fearful of you, but don’t be afraid to challenge them and show them what you stand for.