"State feminism"


The term “state feminism” is used in neo-nationalist movements as well as in conservative anti-feminist circles to describe the status quo of gender and family politics. The term suggests that legislation and other state decisions are shaped by a feminist ideology that enforces measures such as quota regulations, gender-sensitive language and gender-sensitive education in schools and kindergartens. The dystopian character of this narrative becomes clear in two aspects: first, on closer inspection many of these measures do not apply at all or only to a limited extent; second, “state feminism” is suspected both in countries with relatively liberal and inclusive legislation (such as Denmark and Sweden) and in those with conservative family-related legislation (such as Germany and Poland). At the same time, the political demands that result from the rejection of the imagined "state feminism" are not uniform: a fundamentally possible compatibility of family and work for both sexes is laid out in most new nationalist agendas, and also a limited acceptance of homosexuality is not everywhere completely excluded. The often-voiced claim that neo-nationalist movements want “a society like in the 1950s” does not apply to all gender politics, all countries and parties. Therefore, a differentiating analysis of neo-nationalistic gender and family politics, especially their utopian elements, is important, together with the analysis of the socio-cultural and historical backgrounds of the afore mentioned. New-nationalist politics can be traced back to the equally imagined, “forced decay” of language by liberal forces through the demand for the use of gender-sensitive language. The postdoc project examines the strategies of developing and preventing gender-sensitive language in German, Swedish, Finnish and Estonian as well as the dys- and utopian narrative strands in which the strategies are embedded. The languages have inherently, historically and culturally very different prerequisites.