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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Anti-Defamation League Condemns Limbaugh for "Feminazi"

On Monday, Rush Limbaugh used one of his favorite words: “feminazi.” He was talking about a Wall Street Journal article in which women worried about how their 12-year-old daughters dress.

We've got some more feminazis concerned their daughters may live the lives they lived. And they don't like it. One of these feminazis is actually quoted as saying, '"If I could live my life over, I would never have pre-marital sex, even with the guy I ended up marrying."

This part of Rush's show was omitted from the transcript on his website, but the title of another segment on his website that day conveys the same sentiment about feminists: "Feminazis Worry Their Daughters Will Dress for Sex Like They Did."

I asked the Anti-Defamation League to respond to Limbaugh's comments, and here is the official statement the ADL sent me today:

The pejorative “feminazi” mocks activist women and at the same time trivializes the Holocaust. Comparisons to the Nazis may be politically expedient, but in the end they trivialize the Holocaust and are an insult to the memory of six million Jews and the millions of others who perished at the hands of Nazis. This sexist, offensive term has no place in civil discourse or society.

The ADL has previously criticized Limbaugh for dismissing the Nuremberg Trials as “an absolute joke, an absolute travesty” and comparing the Obama Administration to Nazis. In 2010, the ADL condemned Limbaugh's “borderline anti-Semitic” comments when Limbaugh said, "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish” and added, “a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's – if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."

However, this marks the first time the ADL has condemned Limbaugh for comparing feminists to Nazis.

I sent an email to Limbaugh asking for a response, but so far I haven't gotten any reply. He also didn't respond to my query Monday about whether he was willing to now admit that he regards all feminists as “feminazis.”

As I note in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, for years Limbaugh has been denying that he ever referred to feminists in general as feminazis. “No, I never did call feminists feminazis,” he told Barbara Walters. “There are a select few feminists who I call feminazis, and you have to really work hard to earn your way into the feminazi status. You know what feminazi really is is a woman who is so consumed with the advancement of the feminist agenda that she gets mad when a woman who's pregnant, who was going to have an abortion, is talked out of it; and women who think that, for example, all sex is rape, even the sex in marriage.” Limbaugh has repeatedly asserted that he has been misquoted and was only describing a “few” feminists as feminazis. He told Playboy, “I have been misstated, misrepresented, misreported on this. A feminazi is not a feminist.”

For decades, Limbaugh has been using the term “feminazi” without apology to smear the feminist movement. He wrote in his first book, “A Feminazi is a feminist to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur. There are fewer than twenty-five known Feminazis in the United States.” The comparison of feminists fighting for gender equality to the most brutal and murderous regime in human history should shock everyone.

In 2004, Limbaugh named “Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lahti and Camryn Manheim” as “famous feminazis.” Perhaps the clearest evidence of Limbaugh's extraordinarily broad definition of “feminazi” came in 2007. When Debra Dickerson wrote a article about Michelle Obama quitting her job to campaign full-time for her husband, Limbaugh declared, “that's truly bitter. These are angry women. I'm telling you, these militant feminazis are angry." But Dickerson's article never mentioned abortion at all. Dickerson merely expressed a common feminist concern that a politician's wife was expected to give up her professional career. Worrying about gender equality, Limbaugh claimed, makes you one of the “militant feminazis.”

In 2010, Limbaugh turned his incisive analysis to a march by topless women in Portland , Oregon : “I've been wondering, you know, how long are the feminazis going to take to get to this?” So now women without shirts are “feminazis”…because nothing embodies the genocide and terror of Hitler's Germany more than bare breasts.

For many years, Limbaugh has pretended that he only used the term “feminazi” to describe a tiny number of radical feminists. Now, he's using it to describe women worried about how their daughters dress, which is surely a population that runs in the millions.

So the Anti-Defamation League deserves praise for speaking out against a misogynist who tosses around Nazi analogies at mothers who worry about their 12-year-old daughters. It's time for the conservative movement, and Republican officials, to be asked to do the same. Do they agree that feminist mothers who are concerned about their daughters should be called Nazis?

Crossposted at DailyKos.

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