Recycling Entitlement & Gender Roles to Fuel Extremism 

April 21, 2022 0 comments

Anti-Feminist and misogynistic sentiments have become much more prevalent in real life, on social media, and even within seemingly benign online forums.

Feminism is presently the most popular recruiting tactic for far-right organizations due to the widespread conviction that feminism was never about equality for women but rather about women “unnaturally” seeking dominance over men.

Anti-feminism is the perfect entry point into the far-right worldview because they both center around actual, observable issues relating to gender, reproduction, and opportunity.

  • There is no longer a “family wage” in which a guy can make enough money to support his wife and children.
  • When it comes to money, working women don’t have to rely on males as much.
  • In many cases, women find it possible (though still not easy) to leave abusive or otherwise unacceptable situations.
  • Women do not have to be subordinate to males if they are in charge of their own fertility and finances.
  • Women with higher educational attainment have fewer children than those with lower educational attainment.
  • There is little doubt that birth rates are declining in the developed world.

The widespread acceptance of gender classifications and social standards in mainstream society means that anti-feminism ideas can be voiced with minimal resistance, yet still appear rebellious or even centrist by challenging the beliefs of “both sides” of the feminism debate, often disguised as “theoretical” discussions with feminists.

“Theoretical” debates concerning historical and scientific “errors,” as well as the “roots of social movements,” are often used as a purposeful tactic to weaken women’s advocates’ trust in their own beliefs and confidence.

Speaking out against the “political, intellectual, or cultural elites” is considered as a form of defiance when one has sexist attitudes. To them, even having sexist views is an act of resistance.

Statements that women are “naturally” less knowledgeable or weaker than men are met with significantly less objections than claims that different racial groups have “naturally” less intelligence.

Anti-feminist ideology also has the potential to turn into a circular conspiracy theory, similar to the kind of anti-Semitic ideas that flourish online.

For example, there is a strongly held belief or perception that Feminists influence all government decision-making, despite the fact that women are still underrepresented at every level of elected office in every country.

According to Ashley Mattheis, a researcher at the University of North Carolina who studies the far right online, misogyny is exploited as the initial outreach method. “You were owed something, or your life should have been X, but because of the ridiculous things feminists are doing, you can’t access them.”

Mattheis claims that when men and women get more involved in these social networks, the anti-feminist rhetoric takes on racial connotations. “Once you engage with the idea that a social-justice-warrior club and the feminist movement have increased the precarity of men,” she said, “that moves over time into the increased precarity and endangerment of ‘the West.’”

As a result, anti-feminist ideology also has the potential to turn into a circular conspiracy theory, similar to the kind of anti-Semitic ideas that flourish in Charlottesville, Virginia, when neo-Nazis screamed, “The Jews will not replace us.” This idea has been memefied by the online extreme right, with diverse groups presented as the usurpers: According to the shooter in Christchurch, the threat was posed by Muslims, whereas in El Paso, it was Hispanic immigrants who were the cause of concern.

While the far right’s argument often centers on how Muslim men control Muslim women, that also translates, for them, that the non-white Muslim “civilization is rising [while] the West is declining.”

And far-right anti-Muslim sentiments are occasionally mixed with far-right admiration for countries that restrict the sexual liberties of women. Even if the adulation, sometimes to the point of fetishization, is based on misinformation or erroneous stereotypes, it is nevertheless genuine for many in the far-right circles.

Because the far-right regards bodily autonomy and the freedom to choose sexual partners as direct threats to their version of utopian civilization, the far-right sees regulating white female sexuality and reproduction absolutely essential, rising above almost all other issues.

Thus, sexism, along with racism and Nazism, was reborn in the twenty-first century as modern and rational intellectual ideals for the preservation of culture.

Many individuals in the modern world are outraged that elected leaders in the United States are openly aligning themselves with Neo-Nazis while passing legislation that restricts the rights of our Black and LGBTQ family, friends, and neighbors, as well as other diverse groups.

As I witness my fellow humans declare their intention to not only preserve but also recreate supremacist history as our future, I am filled with shame and horror, knowing that they are willing to destroy the Great American Experiment, the United States Constitution, and other human beings in the process.

And I say “No!”

Hating the wrongs in my heart is insufficient, and it is the weakest of faith. I intend to use my hands and my voice to right such wrongs whenever possible within my sphere of influence.

Because somebody should do something.

And until I die, I am somebody.

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