The Perplexing State of Women’s Support in the Far-right

Op/Ed#1 By: Hannah Long

An unlikely match: Women and the far-right | ORF
Image: Shruti Jain and Prithvi Iyer and Prithvi Iyer. “An Unlikely Match: Women and the Far-Right.” 
ORF, January 5, 2021. https://www.orfonline.orgexpert-speak/unlikely-match-women-

When the term Far-Right is used, the images that usually come to mind are of polarizing leaders, from Mussolini to Bolsonar, this coupled with harsh regimes and above all else an active animosity towards those who question this way of life are often regarded as the definition of this ideology. However in recent years people’s association with the far-right has come to extend to the role of female presence as well, leaving many of us to wonder why women are becoming more involved in a political arena that includes discourse and legislation that have historically been against women.

The construct and concept of gender has been a long running discussion in society, shifting to meet different social changes overtime, however the perspective of gender and its place in a societal construct has remained the same in the eyes of the far-right for some time. Whereas, other political schools of thought constantly shift attitudes for any given period the Far-right does not, rooting their principles in traditional values linked to the great societal effects of industrialization and nationalism. The presence of women appears to rise after major historical disturbances, as many of the effects felt by women cause a dissolution between themselves and mainstream society, feeling forgotten and isolated. The feeling of Isolation is a common occurrence throughout history that has often led to great division, a division that can be felt and seen socially, politically, and environmentally in societies. The feeling still remains in today’s societies as the death of loved ones through tragedy, layoffs during recessions, a general dissatisfaction of current life, all of which push many women to seek the far-right and its doctrine as a means to reinstate what they believe to be theirs. And while women have certainly not been on the minds of the right-wing agenda, in recent years it seems as if present groups today have realized the significance women hold to not only the support of their party, but the future of it as well. In the late 2010’s a study conducted over Germany’s populist group, Alternative for Germany along with other right-wing parties and movements found that women were becoming more drawn towards this sector. Elisa Gutsche who was an editor with The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (the facilitators of the study) suggests that the AFD’s catering towards child benefit initiatives coupled with the idea of prompting a society that will provide these future children with a “welcoming culture,” are key reasons. 

propaganda | Holocaust Encyclopedia
Image Provided by: “Propaganda.” United States holocaust memorial museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The promise of providing a better tomorrow is nothing new in politics, especially when it comes to the right and traditional push towards ideas of motherhood a concept that was present in the Weimar and Nazi eras. With the fascist’s of this period appealing to women that their marriages and children would see the country into a wonderful future, an eerie similarity when you take into account that the state just like the present day AFD did so to in sure that desirable births would outweigh the undesirable, meaning that women were only a means to achieve their end goal. I think it is plainly obvious that the belief of recognition is at the core for those who do chose to support misogynistic and anti-feminist rhetoric, there is a detachment between far-right women and those who remain outside of fascist ideology. Creating a separate sphere that women both past and present could feel a greater providence towards what they believe targeted their core social needs. These needs have largely remained the same over time, such as “fears of social exclusion and financial strain,” as well as access to child related services. It is a common concern that transcends both time and place as many American mothers post Second World War and many current day blue collar workers in Austria, share the same opinions, and are both contributing factors to the diminishing gender gap in the far-right. The exact length of women’s involvement in right-wing politics is a long and complicated saga, something that can definitely not be explained within this post. However, what can be analyzed is how past events, fears and the overall treatment of women in our societies has led for many to see these extreme views as the right way to go.

(Pun intended)

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