Feminist Nazi Memes

4 Nov

Feminist Nazi Memes

I had no idea this meme existed until I read an article about it. The article says:

“(The meme suggests) feminists are all hypocrites that like to “bitch” and complain and do nothing about what they’re complaining about. That’s all of us, and we’ve done nothing good for the world. Take feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, for example, who right-wing radio personality, Rush Limbaugh, has called a “feminazi” for years. She’s done nothing for the world…except be a leader in the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s and fight against violence against women, such as female genital mutilation and sex trafficking.”

Since the word feminist was created, it has carried with it some pretty negative connotations, and apparently the newest is that feminists are hypocritical. The series of memes has sayings like “I’m a strong independent woman until something heavy needs to be lifted.” It is hard to take a cause seriously when it is literally a joke going viral on the internet, but while I want to be outraged about this meme, it has some semblance of truth.

Is allowing chivalry hypocritical? If I expect a man to pay on a first date, is that taking away the balance of equality between men and women? I do not expect men to hold doors open for me, and I will hold a door open for a man if I am the first one to the door. Hopefully men will not take my inability to life heavy objects as a statement on equality, as these memes suggest, and will hopefully just have enough respect to help any person, not just a woman.

3 Responses to “Feminist Nazi Memes”

  1. mrswalker2013 November 4, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    What this meme is doing – and why it’s damaging – is suggesting ‘special treatment’ and equality are mutually exclusive, and using that idea to attack the principles of the feminist movement.

    I think it’s useful to imagine the same things be suggested in the context of other equality movements: if the illustration showed a wheelchair user and mentioned steps taken to address accessibility issues then said ‘And I’m your equal’ people would be rightly outraged.

    Is the personal political? Yes, of course it is. But does that mean that our every action and decision can be amplified to infer something about our principles? That is nonsensical.

    Our willingness to engage in reflection and dialogue around ourselves and the feminist movement is a strength but it is also a critical weakness – that we admit ‘a semblance of truth’ is exactly what the Limbaughs of the world want. They want to plant a seed of self doubt; they want us to do ourselves down and save them a job. We must not let this happen!

  2. lisaanneryan November 4, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    You just compared women to being handicapped. I don’t think that is true at all. In general, there are some things men are better at doing and some things women are better at doing and if we use these strengths and weaknesses to help each other, that is equality. But expecting a man to pay for everything is not being equal, it is using old standards to our advantage. So yes, there is some semblance of truth.

    • mrswalker2013 November 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      I didn’t compare being female to being disabled – I said that people would not suggest that a disabled person campaigning for equality was being a hypocrite for accepting support when it was needed… Responding to the point in your original post about the suggestion that feminism and feminists are hypocritical.

      I don’t disagree that there are gender differences in terms of strengths. I also didn’t suggest that we should expect men to pay for everything or that we should use ‘old standards’ to our advantage – I’m not sure where you get that from. Further, I didn’t deny that there is a semblance of truth here; what I said is that the danger to feminism as a movement is our willingness to reflect on exactly that is interpreted by the people who create those memes as confirmation that they are right – we are hypocrites.

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