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Misogyny and Islamophobia - Breivik's male fantasies and right-wing nationalism

Those who fear the Islamisation of Europe often blame feminism for weakening the West and opening it to a demographic invasion of Muslims.. The argumentation behind it follows a simple rhetorical trick: Through the influence of feminist-emancipatory claims, which are reflected in political practice, a supposedly "clear" (and almost always masculine) political leadership is held up, which is urgently necessary for a defence against Islam.

The Western development of emancipatory women's movements is, on the one hand, criticized here, in order to express an alleged concern about Muslim fundamentalist misogyny against women. The Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra attributes it to a "hectic search for masculinity" that has been spreading in the West since 9/11, arguing that this tendency "was like an omen of the era of a president who boasted of serially grabbing women and boasting of his big penis and big atomic button". (Mishra 2018: 77, my own translation)

A certain part of this [Trump's] “cock boast” after September 11th, was undoubtedly provoked by Osama bin Laden's derogatory remarks about American men: “In the land of the free and home of the brave one had become "soft" and "weak"”. (Mishra 2018: 77)

The "softness" of men is due to the influence of cliché-based female attributes, such as "weak" and "passive", which stand in contrast to an omnipotent masculinity - even if this juxtaposition is only implicitly hinted at in the quotation. However, in the quotation above the reduction of masculinity is brought into a relationship with the disintegration of an entire nation: Only if the nation is held together by courageous and strong men, can it protect itself as a unit from outside attacks without falling apart.

The idea that feminism destroys Western societies from within and thus opens the door to terror and Islamism, is one that is increasingly appearing in the arguments of right-wing extremist movements in Europe. The connection between the hatred of women and the fear of an uncontrolled strengthening of Islam is very obvious in the 1500-page manifesto of the mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Breivik wrote his manifesto years before the actual terrorist act and bears the title: 2083 - A European Declaration of Independence. The basic argumentation is very simple and can be briefly outlined as follows: Through the expansion of feminism and political correctness in Europe in the 20th century, 'Economic Marxism', the enemy of European identity was transformed into a 'cultural Marxism', bringing about a general feminisation in Europe. These left-wing aspirations, which would affect schools and universities, are to blame for the fact that Europe's cultural values (first and foremost Christian) have softened. Simultaneously Middle Eastern cultures have been introduced, which in turn will gradually destroy the entire Western civilization. Finally, his summary is that the "fate of European civilization depends on European men steadfastly resisting politically correct feminism".

From this argumentative basic position he develops his mad deed. The frightening thing is that this position is not one that takes place only in the mind of a mad mass murderer, but does not stray far from many conservative voices that are currently shared in the political public.

To be continued...

by: Helene Röhnsch

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