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Feminazi is a pejorative term for feminists, which was 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] The American conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who popularized the term,[3][4] credited the university professor Thomas Hazlett with coining it.[5]

Limbaugh, who has been vocally critical of the feminist movement,[6] stated that the term feminazi refers to "radical feminists" whose goal is "to see that there are as many abortions as possible"[1][7] and a small group of "militants" whom he distinguishes from "well-intentioned but misguided people who call themselves 'feminists'".[6] However, the term came to be widely used for feminism as a whole;[8] Limbaugh has used it in reference to the Feminist Majority Foundation and the activists Gloria Steinem and Susan Sarandon, among others.[7] Steinem writes that "I've never met anyone who fits that description [of wanting as many abortions as possible], though [Limbaugh] lavishes it on me among many others".[9]

Limbaugh states 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] In his book Angry White Men, the sociologist Michael Kimmel says the term is used to attack feminist campaigns for equal pay and safety from rape and domestic violence by associating them with Nazi genocide.[4]

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] stating, "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. ^ Lacy, Tim (2010). "Limbaugh, Rush". In Chapman, Roger (ed.). Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices, Volume 1. M.E. Sharpe. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-76-561761-3.
  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. ^ a b Jamieson, Kathleen H.; Cappella, Joseph N. (2008). Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford University Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0-19-974086-4.
  7. ^ a b Wilson, John K. (2011). The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh’s Assault on Reason. Macmillan. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-31-261214-6.
  8. ^ Levit, Nancy (1998). The Gender Line: Men, Women, and the Law. NYU Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-81-475295-1.
  9. ^ 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.
  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]