D5.2 Country Report | January 2023
Authors: Volodymyr Ishchenko, Ignacio Sar Chávez, Mihai Varga – Freie Universität Berlin
Hegemonic gender roles and the traditional heteroparental family are heavily referenced in Germany’s contemporary far-right rhetoric as an essential element to the preservation of national identity and societal cohesion that progressive discourse jeopardizes with its inclusion of LGBT+ and feminist perspectives. In this report, we aim to distil some of the discursive lines present in far-right rhetoric on gender, on the grounds of the qualitative analysis of social media posts – particularly memes, infographics and TikToks – and find three main tendencies. First, the right-wing promotes hegemonic gender roles, particularly hegemonic masculinity, as necessary to preserve the normality of society and to solve Germany’s demographic crisis, also implicitly promoting right-wing spaces and political struggles as ways for men to reinvigorate their masculinity and confidence in it. Second, the right-wing positions itself against gender mainstreaming, commonly referred to as ‘gender hysteria’ or ‘gender Gaga’, which it imagines as an ideological program of petty demands that threatens German language and freedom of speech, separating ordinary people with normal, ‘real’ grievances from a minority concerned with exaggerated political correctness. Finally, we find that right-wing actors instrumentalize individual women and members of the LGBT+ community in their spaces to legitimize their discourse, showcasing them as tokens portrayed as honest, ‘normal’ people distinguished from the overly progressive nature of mainstream LGBT+ and feminist rhetoric.
We also analyse the way progressive stakeholders of deradicalisation and ordinary users engage with the topic. Among the former, we find their style of communication to have limited potential to speak persuasively to the far-right, a problem exacerbated by social media algorithms that are unlikely to show their content to audiences outside their ideological bubble. This is also the case with the latter, although viral contents created by ordinary users showed to spark more contrasted debate in the comment sections.