Rush Limbaugh

Feminazi is a term popularized by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh to describe ‘an extreme or militant feminist.’ In 2004, Limbaugh named feminist activists Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lahti, and Camryn Manheim as ‘famous feminazis.’

Feminazi is a portmanteau of the nouns feminist and Nazi. The term is used pejoratively by some U.S. conservatives to criticize feminists that they perceive as extreme.

In his 1992 book ‘The Way Things Ought to Be,’ Limbaugh credited his friend Tom Hazlett, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, with coining the term. In the book, Limbaugh also stated that the word refers to unspecified women whose goal is to allow as many abortions as possible, saying at one point that there were fewer than 25 ‘true feminazis’ in the US. Limbaugh has used the term to refer to members of the National Center for Women and Policing, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women, and other organizations at the March for Women’s Lives, a large pro-choice demonstration.

There were times when Limbaugh almost stopped using the term. According to ‘Slate,’ in 2000: ‘[Limbaugh] has all-but-dropped the term ‘feminazi.’ When he was lambasted for mocking AIDS victims, he quickly apologized. He stopped performing ‘caller abortions.’ Other political talk radio shows stumble because their hosts put the politics before radio (see sclerotic Bob Grant). But Limbaugh never makes that mistake. He is a genuine conservative, but ‘he is a political entertainer and a consummate pro,’ says John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, who helped write Limbaugh’s first book. ‘Don’t forget he was a DJ.” In 2005, however, Limbaugh defended his use of the term: ‘I haven’t used that term on this program in years. But it still gets to ’em, doesn’t it? And you know why? Because it’s right. Because it’s accurate.’

In a 1996 interview, Gloria Steinem criticized Limbaugh’s use of the term. According to Steinem, ‘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.’ In her book ‘Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions,’ Steinem characterized the term as ‘cruel and ahistorical,’ and elaborated on the repression of feminism under Hitler, noting that many prominent German feminists like Helene Stöcker, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, and Clara Zetkin were forced to flee Nazi Germany while others were killed in concentration camps.

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