‘Femonationalism’ as a Violation of Identity Categories: The Renewed Face of the European Far-Right


Positing a certain tendency to treat right-wing women as anomalies (Downing 2018), this article analyses the recent reappropriation of feminist discourse by the far-right in Europe, with the prominence of female political leaders such as Marine Le Pen from the Le Rassemblement National, Anne Marie Waters, leader of anti-Muslim party, For Britain, and Alice Weidel, co-leader of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). It is claimed that this ‘femonationalist’ (Farris 2017) discourse destabilises the intersectional dilution of frontiers among ‘oppressed’ categories (cf. Crenshaw 1989), combining anti-immigrant and anti-misogynistic rhetoric, generally framed according to an anti-Islam organising principle. By violating the categories of political identity, according to which an individual’s identity – be it gendered, sexual, racial or class-based –, determines his or her ideological preference, female far-right leaders are strategically contributing to reinscribe the genealogy of feminist mobilisation, traditionally connoted with an intellectual and activist leftist tradition.

A selection of Facebook comments published by Marine Le Pen, Anne Marie Waters and Alice Weidel on 2015-16 New Year eve events in Cologne will constitute the analytic corpus which will allow us to explore the ways that misogyny is used to justify a discriminatory politics that, more than openly racist, is above all anti-Muslim.

Crenshaw, Kimberle (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.’ University of Chicago Legal Forum Vol. 1989, Article 8, https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8
(accessed 26.09.2019).

Downing, Lisa (2018) ‘The body politic: Gender, the right wing and “identity category violations”.’ French Cultural Studies 29(4): 367-377.

Farris, Sarah (2017) In the name of Women’s Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism. Durham, USA: Duke University Press.