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How anti-feminism is gaining strength in Germany

The sentence sounds like a threat: "Women who go too far with their demands shouldn't be surprised if they are put back in their place.

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How anti-feminism is gaining strength in Germany

The sentence sounds like a threat: "Women who go too far with their demands shouldn't be surprised if they are put back in their place." 27 percent of Germans agree. The Leipzig social psychologist Elmar Brähler therefore noted an "increase in sexism" on Wednesday in Berlin - "a current that I find very dangerous". This current also affirms this: “Social harmony and order are disturbed by feminism.”

When Brähler and his colleague Oliver Decker presented this statement to the respondents in 2020 at that round of the Leipzig authoritarianism study, almost 18 percent agreed. In the current episode of the survey, which has been recording radical right-wing thought patterns for 20 years, more than 23 percent now believe that working for women's rights disturbs harmony and order. In East Germany, 31 percent share this view. An increase of ten points. And the approval rate for the sentence that “women often make themselves look ridiculous in politics” has risen by eight points to 23 percent across Germany. Here, the affirmativeness jumped particularly sharply in West Germany within two years, from 13 to 23 percent.

The authors of the study, for which a good 2,500 representatively selected citizens were interviewed in face-to-face interviews in May and June, put their attitudes towards women under the heading "Significant increase in anti-feminism during the pandemic". This suggests that the reasons for this are that the Corona measures have brought about a resurgence of traditional gender roles. Consistently, after a long period of sharp decline, support for phrases such as that it should be "more important" for a woman to "help her husband in his career than to have a career himself" has risen.

But the question is whether the new anti-feminism is only due to the pandemic. Because in the last two years there was not only Corona. But also often highly aggressive debates about ways of writing and speaking that make real gender relations clearer (genders), about equality and sexual violence. The fact that not only Corona but also ideological aggravations are to be considered is confirmed by the fact that, at least in East Germany, aggressiveness towards groups that were hardly discussed at all in connection with the pandemic is also increasing.

More than 46 percent in eastern Germany believe that Muslims should be "banned from immigrating to Germany" (up six points compared to 2020). Nationwide, 27 percent believe that foreigners only come here “to take advantage of our welfare state”. Brähler: "Resentment against those who are perceived as 'different' has increased."

Accordingly, he and Decker note a further increase from an already high level in that form of anti-Semitism, which does not come across as explicit hatred of Jews, but does not want to hear anything about German guilt for the Holocaust. 61 percent of those surveyed (up five points) believe that "we should rather focus on current problems than events that have happened more than 70 years ago". An unchanged 41 percent affirm the statement that a “Holocaust industry of resourceful lawyers” often profits from reparation claims.

"It's a complicated date," says WELT editor-in-chief Jennifer Wilton on November 9th. "Many historically important moments fall on this day." However, the focus of our memory should be the pogroms.

Source: WELT/ Alexander Siemon

In contrast to this anti-Semitism to avoid blame and the Israel-related anti-Semitism (“Israel policy makes me more and more unsympathetic”), which remained unchanged at around twelve percent, outright hatred of Jews and support for dictatorships are on the decline. A “manifest-closed right-wing extremist world view” can therefore be found nationwide in less than three percent of those surveyed. This value has never been this low in 20 years.

In addition, according to the study, the proportion of convinced conspiracy believers has fallen sharply compared to 2020 (by 13 points to 25 percent) and the rate of satisfaction with democracy according to the Basic Law has risen to 80 percent, in East Germany to a record 90 percent. However, the proportion of those who are satisfied with the democratic conditions in everyday life is lower, at less than 60 percent. On the one hand, Decker explained this on Wednesday by saying that the opportunities for participation were limited during the pandemic. On the other hand, Decker referred to the above-mentioned increase in aggressiveness towards individual groups and concluded that "a shift in the motives for anti-democratic attitudes, not a strengthening of democracy".

Decker continues: "In addition to xenophobia, right-wing extremists today have many more opportunities to find a connection in mainstream society, not less." democratically taken resolutions can hardly be combined with traditional right-wing extremist demands for a dictatorship. Instead, those who call for revolts against democratic decision-making processes and who are hostile to individual groups are particularly eager to invoke the Basic Law.

The fact that the pandemic is responsible for all of this can be doubted based on a finding that has something to do specifically with Corona. The authors not only identified those attitudes towards the protective measures who more or less expressly believe that the unvaccinated would be “treated like Jews in the Third Reich”. Rather, they also find "authoritarian vaccinated" who act ruthlessly against the unvaccinated - but not only against them.

In the case of "authoritarian vaccinated persons" manifest "Muslim hostility" with 41 percent and "blame-defending anti-Semitism" (38 percent) are widespread. Even stronger than in unvaccinated people. These, on the other hand, tend even more towards anti-feminism (42 percent of the unvaccinated) and "violent masculinity norms" (53 percent) than "authoritarian vaccinated people".

According to Decker, a group of 13 percent opposed to vaccination “19 percent who in turn have strong resentment against vaccination opponents. In both groups, the resentment is not only against each other, but also against 'others'. This could mean that for parts of society Corona was only an opportunity to act out aggression in the dispute, which is motivated in a completely different way.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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