I am profoundly sick of the term “feminazi”. It’s deeply offensive and well, sick. Not only does it offend the women to whom it is applied, equating them to possibly the 20th century’s greatest manifestation of evil but, as Laura Bates pointed out in her recent piece, 10 ways you can tell if you’re a feminazi, it equates the mild angst aroused in some men by gender equality campaigners with the holocaust. Which is offensive not only to survivors of that atrocity but to humanity as a whole, frankly.
The fact that it was [Wikipedia search alert!] first brought into the cultural lexicon by radio talk-show host and right wing fanatic Rush Limbaugh ought to tell you everything you need to know. But it doesn’t. Because people continue to use the term to describe everyone from Charlotte Proudman, the laywer who challenged a senior business contact over everyday sexism (in the form of making unsolicited comments about her appearance via the networking site) to Louelle Denor who Instagrammed a picture of herself holding her menstrual cup (a war crime so great that trolls called for her to kill herself – although to be fair this is very much a favourite battle cry in the world of online abuse).
I wrote about Proudman’s case HERE but once I’d finished I just couldn’t stop thinking about the term “feminazi”. Apart from anything else, I realised, it’s so vague. I mean, there’s no scale, is there? No spectrum of Nazi-ness. Is telling someone off for making inappropriate comments better or worse than talking about periods? If you ignore someone’s wolf whistle in the street, does that make you more of a Nazi than a woman who terminates an unwanted pregnancy… or less? My goodness, it’s confusing. No wonder the “men’s rights activists” not to mention all the misogynists, chauvinists and other miscellaneous arseholes, are in a pickle over it. Come on guys, you’ve got to learn to disparage and undermine more accurately. Or at the very least, more selectively. Divide and conquer, yeah?
To help you out, I decided to put together a index, together with some suggested one-liners to tweet or otherwise publish anonymously to make you look strong and awesome. You’re welcome.
Feminaut – Working for FemiNASA which is based in Berkely, California, this is the ultimate feminist pioneer. The explorer of new equality frontiers, discoverer of new worlds of systemic aggression and cultural imbalance, adventurer into the unknown and often deadly dangerous world of New Ideas. For mere mortals like yourself it’s probably best not to try to think about it too deeply, for fear of blowing your mind.
Famous feminauts: Mary Wollstoncraft, bell hooks
Most awesome put down: “I don’t understand and I don’t care!”
FemiNando(s) – Everybody’s favourite go-to feminist. Ok, they might be mainstream but they hit the spot every time. Even people you always thought were on your side seem to like this person and be able to relate to what they’re saying. What the hell has gone wrong? Not only that but they’re popular and successful and pretty much everybody born after 1980 wants to be friends with them. How to infiltrate? Look, I’m not saying there is a black card but… you’ve heard the expression “card carrying feminist” right?
Famous FemiNandos: Caitlyn Moran, Tina Fey
Most awesome put down: “Everyone knows women aren’t funny!”
Feminouveau – My god, does this person’s audacity know no bounds? Not only did they have the gall to be born after the publication of The Female Eunuch, but they flash their nuanced understanding of gender politics around in SUCH a tacky way. They wear heels and make-up even though everyone knows REAL feminists only wear lentils and woolen bloomers. And they talk about sex openly and intelligently almost as if they LIKE it but just don’t want people to be coerced into accepting outdated, repressive and damaging norms about it. It’s disgusting.
Famous Feminouveaux: Jessica Valenti, Tristan Taormino
Most awesome put down: “Slut!”
Feminovice – New to the fold, this feminist, for reasons either of age, culture, upbringing, and/or education is only just discovering the extent to which inequality pervades (all) our lives, and what multifarious and sinister forms it can take. May seem like an easy target – they’re vulnerable to a spot of eye-rolling, even from other feminists – but be warned, they have boundless energy and are not yet exhausted and embittered by decades of fighting the same goddamn battles over and over and over…
Famous feminovices: Taylor Swift, Emma Watson
Most awesome put down: “Don’t worry love, I’d still bang you!”
Feminarcissist – Watch this space for a masterclass in making the personal political. This feminist’s opinions and passion are rooted in their own experience of the world. Never mind that the VAST MAJORITY of people come to feminism through some real and substantive experience of inequality, using personal issues to justify political campaigns is abhorrent and must be ridiculed.
Examples? Oh, I dunno, maybe people who’ve been raped calling for a more effective legal system to deal with sexual assault cases. Or er… FGM victims lobbying for better education on the subject. Silly stuff like that.
Famous feminarcissists: Malala Yousafzai, Emmeline Pankhurst
Most awesome put down: “Jesus! All you do is whinge!”
Feminutcracker – Will NOT be putting up with any bullshit. You can always spot a feminutcracker by their lack of simpering smile in the face of a sexist joke, or the way they stand up against inequality no matter what the potential social cost to themselves. In fact they have this weird trait of actually really giving a shit about stuff that happens to other people. Always ready to take on an injustice, no matter how “hilarious” the “banter” (or, you know, prison sentence).
Famous feminutcrackers: Shirley Chisholm, Pussy Riot
Most awesome put down: “Calm down, dear!”
Feminumpty – Someone who, perhaps having previously contributed to the fight for equality, fell out favour after putting their foot in it with a stupid comment or an unpopular view. Considered unforgivable by some (because we all know regular humans never make mistakes or change their minds, only truly evil people), for you they represent the perfect chance to leap onto the bandwagon and twist said comment until it reinforces your own fucked up worldview. Then barrage them with unwanted support to truly put the nail in their coffin.
Famous feminumpties: Suzanne Moore, Tim Hunt
Most awesome put down: “It’s about time someone spoke out. You’re only saying what we all think!”
Feminerd – You’d better have a handle on the stats if you want to battle with this feminist. Not only do they have incredible retention when it comes to facts but they can analyse and contextualise those facts as well. They’re probably working in a directly-related field that gives them access to and an understanding of the compelling evidence of the inequalities of which they speak. I know. It’s frightening, isn’t it?
Famous feminerds: Margaret Mead, Nawal El Saadawi
Most awesome put down: “Yeah, well you’re ugly anyway.”
Feminag – Every day I think, GOD, how many more times do I have to hear about the gender pay gap, or the low-level, insidious harassment women all over the world face every single day. But these feminists just won’t let it drop. It’s almost as if they think that unless they keep banging on about it, nothing will change.
Famous feminags: Gloria Steinem, Caroline Criado-Perez
Most awesome put down: “Blah blah blah! Haha lol!”
Feminista – A feminist barista. Probably not a threat but best to be on your guard anyway.
Most awesome put down: “I’ll have a grande cappucino with an extra shot [and don’t say please]!”
Got an addition to the dictionary? Stick it in the comments section below!