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Feminazi is a pejorative term for those in the feminist movement, popularized by politically conservative American radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

Origin and usage[edit]

According to The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang, feminazi refers (pejoratively) to "a committed feminist or a strong-willed woman".[1] The term is a portmanteau of the nouns feminist and Nazi.[2] Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh popularized the term among his listeners, known as "dittoheads".[3][4] In his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be, Limbaugh credited Thomas Hazlett, professor of economics at the University of California at Davis, with coining the term.[5]

In 1992, Limbaugh wrote that feminazi refers to "radical feminists" whose goal is "to see that there are as many abortions as possible".[1][6] In the second edition of her book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, women's-rights activist Gloria Steinem writes, "I've never met anyone who fits that description, though [Limbaugh] lavishes it on me among many others".[7]

While Limbaugh has stated that the term refers to a small group of "militants" whom he distinguishes from "well-intentioned but misguided people who call themselves 'feminists'",[8] the term came to be used for the feminist movement as a whole.[9] The sociologist Michael Kimmel writes in Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era that the term attacks feminism by "phantasmagorically linking campaigns for wage equality, or safety from battery and rape, to the organized, methodical genocide in the Third Reich".[4]

Limbaugh has also stated that feminazis, as opposed to mainstream feminists, are those "who are happy about the large number of abortions we have" in the United States. The anti-violence educator Jackson Katz argues that "no such feminists exist", and that feminazi is a "clever term of propaganda" intended and used to "[bully] into complicit silence women who might otherwise challenge men's violence".[10]

Cultural impact[edit]

According to Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, "the idea of conflating a liberation movement with Nazism is just deeply ignorant. It’s self-undermining, because it’s so over the top." Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, has said that "It’s a desperate attempt to demonise us, and it’s frustrating, because if it wasn’t such an offensive word, you could actually start to embrace it and own it".[11]

Steinem has suggested a boycott of Limbaugh for his use of the term;[12] according to Steinem, "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 Rush Limbaugh's".[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Barrett, Grant, ed. (2006). The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-530447-3. 
  2. ^ "feminazi". Merriam-Webster. 
  3. ^ Chapman, Roger; Ciment, James (2015). Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-31-747350-3. 
  4. ^ a b Kimmel, Michael (2013). Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. Nation Books. pp. 42–44. ISBN 978-1-56-858696-0. 
  5. ^ Limbaugh, Rush H. (1992). The Way Things Ought to be. Pocket Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-67-175145-6. 
  6. ^ Wilson, John K. (March 1, 2011). The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh’s Assault on Reason. Macmillan. pp. 54–57. ISBN 978-0-31-261214-6. When asked in 1995 about the term 'feminazi', he declared: 'It's the way I look at the feminist movement'. Limbaugh referred to the National Center for Women and Policing and the Feminist Majority Foundation as 'feminazis'. So it's not just twenty-five individuals, but every single feminist organization, its leaders, and millions upon millions of Americans with the same views whom Limbaugh compares to Nazis. 
  7. ^ Steinem, Gloria (1995). Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company. p. xv. ISBN 0-80-504202-4. 
  8. ^ Jamieson, Kathleen Hall; Cappella, Joseph N. (2008). Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-19-974086-4. 
  9. ^ Levit, Nancy (1998). The Gender Line: Men, Women, and the Law. NYU Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-81-475295-1. 
  10. ^ Katz, Jackson (2006). The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and how All Men Can Help. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-40-225376-8. 
  11. ^ Williams, Zoe (15 September 2015). "Feminazi: the go-to term for trolls out to silence women". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ a b "Ask Gloria: Excerpts from Q&A's with Gloria Steinem". Feminist.com. October–November 1996. 
  13. ^ Kaufman, Michael; Kimmel, Michael (2011). The Guy's Guide to Feminism. Da Capo Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-58-005362-4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]