Why I Don't Like the Word "Feminazi"

Other than being a woman, or being bisexual, or being a writer, the part of me that undeniably shapes my identity the most is being a feminist.

I am not afraid to proclaim that I am a feminist, because I don't believe it is something of which to be afraid or ashamed. Rather, I am proud to be able to call myself a part of the feminist movement and feel the truth of that statement. Equality of the genders is a fight very near and dear to my heart and, for this reason, the word "feminazi" deeply, deeply offends me. I'll tell you why.

First, there is the obvious equating of the feminist movement with that of the Nazi movement. Honestly, this doesn't even make sense to me and it seems just a little (a lot) ridiculous. How is a movement promoting equality of all people, regardless of gender, even remotely similar to a dictatorial force that imprisoned and killed millions for their race and ancestry? The comparison falls short before it even gets out of the gate, probably due to the fact that feminism and Nazism are nothing alike whatsoever.

Second, the word implies that there is a certain socially acceptable level at which to advocate for gender equality, and anywhere above that line invalidates or radicalizes that advocate. The society which institutionalized and integrated sexism into the daily culture, and the people who live comfortably with the ignorance and prejudice of that culture, are afraid of change. That is not new information. That has been the modus operandi, the status quo in America for centuries. Those advocates that don't take things lightly, that fight tooth and nail with every breath they have to change the way gender is viewed in America, are discounted by those that are afraid or those that are ignorant or those that are complacent through the use of things like the word "feminazi." They use the word to alienate the person going above and beyond, the person taking no prisoners in the name of change. I don't think the people should be alienated or dehumanized, but rather embraced with open arms as the driving force of change.

Third, the usage of the word to describe those people that don't believe in gender equality but who rather believe in the domination of females over males associates these people (wrongly so) with the feminist movement. A common misconception about feminism is that feminists believe that women are fundamentally better than men and should be treated as such. This could not be further from the truth. Feminism, on principle, promotes the equality of the genders and calls out the limits that traditional gender roles impose on all people. So, instead of calling people that believe women are better than men feminazis, let's not give them the satisfaction of being associated with feminism and instead call them what they are: misandrists. The opposite of misogynists, misandrists are, to me, just as bad and just as prejudiced.

Even if you are a part of the feminist movement, that does not give you a free pass to call someone who chooses to act differently than you to achieve gender equality a feminazi. That only hurts the movement by dividing people that believe in a common goal and pitting them against each other, dismantling the movement from the inside out. I say ban the petty word from your vocabulary and focus on something better: ridding the world of hate.

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