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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:25 AM

Man-haters, Feminazis, and Steinem–oh my!

The slow degradation of the word “feminist” continues to be one of the most powerful weapons in the backlash against the women’s rights movement. How better to diminish the cause than to create an atmosphere where young girls believe that to be a feminist is to be a loser, where women feared that speaking their minds made them a bitch? It opens the door to tainting and tarnishing any issue, like the rape shield laws or the Fair Pay Act, that promised to make the country a better, safer place for females.”

I couldn’t agree more. There’s no better way to undermine the work of a movement than to sully its name to the degree that the common person reacts with disgust, contempt, and fear of being associated with it. That’s what backlash has done to feminism–it has made the word feminist so unpopular, so misunderstood, that it is scares people who identify with its mission into silence.

Kelly’s article continues by turning to an interesting source for guidance:

“So I decided to ask my personal hero what she thought. I e-mailed Gloria Steinem and asked her if she thought women lost interest in feminism once the word became synonymous in some circles with “witch.” … “There has been a long campaign against ‘feminism’ as a word and as a human rights movement,” she wrote. “I would say the introduction of the word ‘feminazi’ by Rush Limbaugh was the low point and beginning of the worst.” But the rest of her answer surprised me; “Every feminist issue has majority support in public opinion polls, and the word ‘feminist,’ even with no definition, causes at least as many women to identify with it as with the word “Republican”—about a third in both cases. With its dictionary definition, more than 60% of women identify with ‘feminist’ and, when they are measured, more than half of men … So some people may support the content and be afraid of the word, at least until they know who’s asking them and why.” And finally she reminded me that the proof is in legislation like the Fair Pay Act last year, and it doesn’t matter what people like Limbaugh or Beck think. “This is a revolution,” my hero reassured me, “not a public relations movement.”"

http://fairandfeminist.com/?p=205

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Reply Man-haters, Feminazis, and Steinem–oh my! (Original post)
sufrommich Dec 2012 OP
MadrasT Dec 2012 #1
ismnotwasm Dec 2012 #2
LiberalLoner Dec 2012 #5
seabeyond Dec 2012 #7
Ligyron Dec 2012 #3
boston bean Dec 2012 #4
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #6
seabeyond Dec 2012 #8

Response to sufrommich (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 08:45 AM

1. I just love this quote:

“This is a revolution,” my hero reassured me, “not a public relations movement.”"


I find people who trash talk feminism (and shy away from calling themselves feminists or furiously trying to distance themselves from "feminists") to be... interesting.

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Response to sufrommich (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:07 AM

2. Nice

Limbaugh, for all the destruction he introduced may have been the most successful with the 'feminazi' word. It's infiltrated the progressive ideology.

Progressive Women do shy away from the word, but not the concepts. Men, if they choose to, seem confused or hostile. Or supportive

And who gets the blame? Why the feminists who don't play nice. No I don't like the porn industry. Yes I think sex work is harmful and degrading-- and more a product of economic inequity for all the sex workers claim of empowerment. Yes I think there are huge gender discrepancies in the fields of the sciences and politics and yes it matters a whole lot. Yes I think misogyny and heterosexism are related. No I don't think 'classism' is more important than feminism. Yes I think women's portrayal in the media is so far out of balance I can't see a way to fix it. And YES, Virginia there IS a patriarchy. And a rape culture. And a threat to reproductive rights


I always, always self identify as a feminist. I talk to women all the the time. I'm well liked and funny, so I'm a 'go to' person when it comes to problems, from the technical to the personal. I try to show that feminism is strength and compassion.

Like unions the gains of feminism are not recognized as victories by the movement, they're taken for granted

We can change that, one mind at a time.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:54 PM

5. +1

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:10 AM

7. good post ism. exactly. and needed to hear it. nt

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Response to sufrommich (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:31 AM

3. "every feminist issue has majority support in public opinion polls"


Just like it is with the ACA and the actual details thereof. Separate the individual items out and most people agree with them. Call it "Obamacare" and a lot of people freaked.

Yeah, "Feminazi" really did a number on people's perception of the woman's movement. Still, it never would have caught on if a good part of our fellow countrymen were not predisposed to accepting such crap.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:46 AM

4. Many feminist causes are Democratic causes. nt

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Response to sufrommich (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:21 PM

6. They did it with the word liberal, too.

So dems backed away from that word & in my opinion, that's when they started backing away from the policies as well. We started calling ourselves 'progressives' as we became less & less so.

My friend who was outraged by the repub rape comments this summer, but who then 'liked' Romney this fall, asked me just a few days ago, "Do you consider yourself a feminist?"

"Absolutely, I do! Don't you?"

"I'm not sure."



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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:12 AM

8. something, huh. words do matter. they identify who we are, literally create who we are.

what we call ourselves eternalize.

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