Sexist hostilities, hateful comments, threats: the new registration office for anti-feminism has registered around 700 verified entries in the first few weeks since it was launched on February 1st. About a third refers to anti-feminism as an organized political movement, another third to sexism and gender-based violence, said head Judith Rahner of the German Press Agency in Berlin. The last third are hate messages against the position itself.
"The number of reports is very high, which surprised us," said Rahner in an interview on Women's Day on March 8th. "We expected that we would have to do a lot more educational work. But that's the good thing about a shitstorm." Because the new website of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation in Berlin had attracted a lot of attention and had been criticized as a "petz portal".
"Brightening the Darkfield"
Victims can report hostile language or threats and receive counseling. The aim is "to depict anti-feminism in all its manifestations and to illuminate the dark field," says the website. However, the cases are anonymized.
Rahner said that, for example, information had been received from local politicians, journalists or employees of the pregnant women's counseling center who were threatened in the course of their work. Those who report journalistically on women's issues are often "flooded with sexist comments" on social networks. These may only be punishable in individual cases, but the masses create a feeling of intimidation.
It was similar with the hate messages against the registration office itself, Rahner continued. "There are so-called masculinists who describe in their blogs how they can finish us off and how we can be paralyzed with spam attacks. I don't want to repeat everything that's written there about me and many others. You can imagine that."
"Headwind mainly from the right-wing authoritarian bubble"
The issue of gender attracts a great deal of attention. "We knew we were going to face headwinds," said Rahner. "It comes from the usual suspicious corners, especially from the right-wing authoritarian bubble." Right-wing extremists are trying to connect with the mainstream, for example criticism of gender-appropriate language is widespread, as is the accusation that one is no longer allowed to express one's opinion. "But misogyny is not an opinion," said Rahner. When politicians say: "We know where your child goes to daycare," then a line has clearly been crossed.
"Our position is an important building block to make that visible," said the director. The first few weeks were exhausting, but: "I'm glad that this debate is being held. It's exactly this kind of hostility that we want to make visible." The registration office is funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs.