TRIGGER WARNING. The far right’s hatred for women runs deep, and they have no qualms about their violent language. Some of that language is displayed below, including graphic language of abuse and oppression.
White nationalists want to force white women* to have their white children. There is a real movement in the United States to take away our right to vote, which they call “ending women’s suffrage.” There is a real movement to make it okay for men to abuse and commit violence against women, and discourage women from living meaningful lives outside the home and family, which they call “traditionalism.” There is a real movement to make women property, and return to a world in which we cannot sign contracts, own property, or keep the income we earn. They are literally calling for “white sharia.”
This is not fiction. It is real, it is violent, and it is brutal. We must resist them.
“All we are pushing for is a return to the status of women we had in the early 19th century before Jews and their feminism ruined our civilization,” says an article in Daily Stormer, one of the most popular “Alt Right” websites. “This should not be controversial.”
Stripping away a woman’s rights can be accomplished through “coverture,” says the article. “Coverture” is a legal concept that simply says that all of a woman’s power is expressed through whatever man they are attached to, such as their father or their husband. It has been a popular concept throughout history, and provides a legal framework for denying that women are anything but the property of a man. A man may then commit atrocities against his “property” without consequence.
The white nationalists believe that “white sharia” is the only way to force white women to bear their white children. The article had strong and violent words towards white women who don’t like the concept of “white sharia”:
“Your blasphemy against the history of Europe is to a level unforgivable through words alone, and you need to have your face bashed in by the fists of good men before a great horned shrine…
“Don’t sit here and pretend you’re a nice traditional girl when you fight against any implementation of traditional values. Say aloud what you are, on the streets, to your families, on social media: “I’m a despicable whore.” Do it before it is too late, because I swear to whatever gods may be that when the purge comes if you have been using traditionalism as a cloak for your revolting degeneracy your name is going on a list and we will be coming to make you pay for it. You will feel the punch to your throat first, but the hours afterwards at the hands of a WHITE SHARIA gang will make that seem as just a brief and gentle touch against your skin. Your ribs will be broken. Your face will be broken. Some of you will not live to tell about it. This I promise: a much needed correction is coming for you soon, you disgusting skanks.”
The article also had strong words for white men who may not like the idea of “white sharia”:
“Man up, put women under your heel, throw away their birth control and make them bear you children and take care of your house,” advises the Daily Stormer article. “If they resist, discipline them.”
It may seem scary, or it might seem like a joke, but the movement is actually gaining popularity. While some men may be just using the “white sharia” meme for the lulz, others are true believers in the need to oppress women. Some actually believe there will be a future of forcing women back into traditional roles like some real-world version of The Handmaid’s Tale. And even if disaffected and malcontent white men are just doing all of this in jest, it still pushes them toward oppression, abuse, and brutality in the subconscious slurry of their minds. We must stop the far right, and ensure that “white sharia” remains a juvenile fantasy.
“’White sharia’ is coming in and it is coming in fast,” says another article on Daily Stormer by right-wing celebrity Andrew Anglin. “Basically, your only choice in this matter is whether you will choose “white sharia” or Islamic Sharia… As such, the only solution is ‘white sharia.’”
“Under ‘white sharia,’ our women will no longer be permitted to live their lives as sluts,” says a ‘white sharia’ promotional video produced by the “Alt Right” video channel War Room. “And you won’t have any career women invading your workplace either. Nope. Under ‘white sharia,’ our women won’t even be able to leave the home without being escorted by a male family member. And they definitely won’t be voting for liberal politicians anymore.”
As we all know, the far right is seeking to ensure that only white people have the right to exist. We, people of conscience, oppose them. We are in the process of stopping their ruinous movement. To the extent that they are talking about violating white women’s rights, it must be said that, while white women have to fear losing their autonomy and freedom, many others have to fear losing their lives. People of color, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, native people, special needs people, and many others are at risk of death if the right wing attains their goals. While we are talking about white women’s rights being imperiled, let’s keep this in perspective. Others have much more to lose than we do, and we must fight to the bitter end to protect the lives and livelihoods of all of our communities.
But it is white women who play into the “white sharia” fantasies on the right. The frustrated white men of the far right – and the far right is mostly men – feel hurt. They think that, of all the things that is wrong with the world, white women expressing their rights is one of the things that is wrong with the world.
Specifically, they think that our liberation is what is imperiling “the white race.” I guess they think white women are having too many full-throated orgasms without any sperm ever reaching our precious eggs. We’re spending our fertile years finding meaningful work, things that feed our souls, and living with full agency, instead of finding an alpha male to tell us what to do, manipulate us, and impregnate us. We are doing too much thinking on topics that have nothing to do with care for our families – studying economics or becoming doctors, instead of strategizing on methods for making Baby Margaret eat her peas.
So, these white men are desperately trying to get us to stop worrying our pretty little heads with our actual free lives. They are urgently grasping for solutions to get white women to have their babies. So they just want to basically hold us down and force us. (No points for creativity there, by the way.)
Sacco Vandal, right wing snake on the “Alt Right,” has this to say about “white sharia” and why it should be popular:
“The White Sharia meme… serves as a distant beacon of the patriarchy we as a people need and will one day have. It is both a rallying cry for the disillusioned young men in our movement as well as their guiding light. The inspiration it is giving these young men will assist them in their future culture creation.”
A Few Women Support “White Sharia,” But They’re Controversial, Even on the Right
Are there women who support “white sharia”? Yep. Emily Youcis is a far right personality and musician who is controversial even on the right, and she supports “white sharia.”
“We need a form of emergency racial reconstruction,” says Youcis, “an extreme method in reaction to the insane female liberation that is destroying us today.” Suffering from an ethics vacuum, Youcis suggests “white sharia rape gangs.” Youcis performed a song called “Rape Me” that advocated for white men raping women, their wives, and women they deem to be sexually active.
“If we don’t act with immediate force, we will die out,” said Youcis. “At first I thought I would like ‘white sharia’ to be temporary, for it to eventually work its way to being a ‘trad’ society (traditional) in the vein of Victorian, where we don’t necessarily have to force our women to marry and breed, but then I realized that ‘trad’ society is synonymous with ‘white sharia.’ No ifs, ands, or buts.”
Youcis’ interest in “white sharia” seems in part to be in “shifting the Overton window,” that is, shifting the set of acceptable conversation topics. The Overton window shows you the types of ideas that won’t raise eyebrows. Picture a bell curve. If some people on the far right, way out there, hanging onto the right edge of the bell curve, believe that it is acceptable to, say, make it legal to rape their wives and force their wives to have children, maybe that will shift the dialog so that more Republicans will decide that people shouldn’t be allowed to get abortions without the approval of the father.
According to “Overton window” concept, supporting “white sharia” is how Republicans may be able to win legislation to limit women’s abortion rights and many other rights. Whether or not the far right ever achieves “white sharia,” if they can get people talking about it and legitimizing it as an idea, they may succeed in limiting our reproductive rights, health care, economic rights, etc. And that is sneaky as hell.
A self-described “shock artist,” Youcis is one woman who seems to have a sociopathic disconnect here. She is rolling through her childbearing years building her internet fame, not choosing a white mate and devoting all of her time to family. No. She is loud, opinionated, and confident, and travels far afield to right-wing conferences and to work on projects, like most of the women who shill for the right. She is not staying home or being “led” by males, and she is not tame, quiet, or subservient.
I met Youcis once, in November 2016 outside a “meet and greet” event for the white nationalist Nazi organization, the National Policy Institute. Inside, people were giving Nazi salutes and Richard Spencer was toasting, “let’s party like it’s 1933,” the year Hitler came into power. Outside, Youcis yelled at the crowd that we were all communists and therefore complicit in the violence of Stalin or Mao. She shouted over me that I was a communist. (I’m no communist. I am a proud anarchist.) Youcis is no shrinking violet.
But whatever Youcis does, she is on the fringed edge of the right-wing bell curve. Many right-wingers find her dubious and many right-wing women aren’t signing up for her “white sharia.”
Tradlife is “White Sharia” Propaganda for Women
You may ask, “What do Republican women think of this? Surely they cannot support this brutality?” But actually, shockingly, there are many women who say they support it, in the form of a more digestible version known as “tradlife,” short for traditionalism.
A pleasant haze of Victorian-era art and paintings often accompany “tradlife” propaganda. There’s also plenty of pretty photos of food, gardens, babies, and the home, as well as stylized drawings, art, and photos from the 1940s and 1950s. Many women on the right cheerfully promote this more subliminal type of misogyny. I call it misogynoir.
Because Twitter is often where the far right goes to toss their ideas and oppressive rhetoric around, the #tradlife hashtag pools a lot of the comments that women have about traditionalism.
An elegant painting shows a woman in a long skirt preoccupied with her baby while a man spends the moment playing the violin, in a Tweet by @LadyLSpeaks that has the menacing text: “Let us live with the simplicity, dignity & gentility of our ancestors. #SmashTheUrbanite #TraditionalistRight” Whoever runs this account frequently posts with the hashtag #tradlife with images and paintings from woebegone times.
The same Twitter account also retweeted the message, “Every White baby born is a victory in our Race’s struggle for existence,” with a photo of a cute, white, blue-eyed baby in a snow white knit cap.
A pretty picture of a handmade pies and baked goods accompanies this Tweet by @MomattheRubicon: “Picking seasonal fruit, teaching food sources, cooking+baking w/friend, kids laughter=Best career! #TradLife.” Yeah, I don’t agree that spending time with food is the “best career,” though it would certainly be one of the only “careers” that a traditionalist would think appropriate for a woman.
One of the most popular accounts that frequently posts with the #tradlife hashtag is @apurposefulwife, which has 31,200 followers. According to the Twitter profile, the owner of this account is a woman with six children who says, “#WhiteCulture is heritage, not hate.” Another image of a Victorian-era painting of a child adorns another Tweet by @apurposefulwife that drives home the type of misogyny that traditionalists want to impart to their daughters: “Little girls dream of love, marriage & children. Encourage their Godly instincts so that they may live happy and fulfilling lives #TradLife”
The most offensive messages with the #tradlife hashtag are the kind that repeat messages of oppression, such as those that indicate that women should be removed from important decisions that impact them, such as this tweet from @apurposefulwife that accompanies a cute picture of a rustic picnic: “The man should always decide where the family lives. A woman can make a home anywhere but he must be where he can earn a living. #TradLife”
Tradlife is the propaganda of “white sharia” for women. It’s important to remember that women have only recently gained full rights. The past was a time in which we were still considered the property and/or charge of a man. It was not nice, pretty, or romantic most of the time. If some of the women who wish to promote this life want to create a pretty life for themselves, then they should do that. But don’t pretend that modern women are going to be tricked by this imagery. We will not be fooled into accepting the horrific terms of oppression that often come wrapped with bows or lace.
No pretty pictures will push me back into the cage of oppression.
I am not going back to a world in which women were not usually allowed to learn math, write books, or engage in philosophical discussions.
I am not going back to a world in which my hand in marriage was auctioned off to the highest bidder, or a world in which my sexual expression was shunned and my life devalued for my free choices.
I am not going back to a world in which I had to live in fear of a tyrant in my own home: the person I call husband, who, even if they are sweet and kind, could make foibles and missteps that I had to just swallow and accept.
I am not going back to a world in which I am told to believe in a religion in which I am second-best, and will be my whole life.
I am not going back to a world of uncertainty, hanging on in fear of rape and aggression from unethical men, knowing that any indiscretion on their part could mark me with a proverbial “A” for the rest of my life.
Anti-Feminism and the Self Hate of Men
I believe their calls for “white sharia” flow from self hate. They hate the part of themselves that can’t get laid. They hate the part of themselves that is losing their privilege and therefore their ability to get more out of the world for doing less. They hate the part of themselves that tastes inferiority when bested by a woman, seasoned with sexist expectations from our still-sexist world that tells them that women should actually be inferior. (Hint: We’re not.) Instead of seeing these feelings as self-hate, they simply apply hate to an oppressed class that is at arm’s length. In this case, women.
They feel left out of a world in which women have escaped from our cages and are finally showing the world that we are indeed equal to men. They see the many things that are wrong with our modern world, and instead of blaming capitalism, imperialism, globalization, or any of the various causes, they blame us. But no. Feminism is not to blame for the perils of the world. Women are often the driving force trying to keep all of us on track toward a better future, as they always have been, while patriarchal and male-controlled systems are actually rolling over the earth, perpetuating inequality, pushing us into environmental ruin and danger.
We Must Prevail
We will not let their hateful agenda win. We have not yet attained full rights as women in this society, and we must continue to push for full agency, rather than backslide into the far right agenda. The rights that we have we spilled blood for. Regarding the rights that we have obtained, we are keeping them. They will never push us back into that cage.
They will never prevail in their agenda of brutal oppression, whether that agenda wears the badge of “white sharia,” traditionalism, or “tradlife.”
It is up to us to ensure that we resist them at every turn. Every choice that we make as women is a chance to stand up and be counted among the ranks who resist oppression. Now is the time to speak up, act out, and stand for what is right.**
*Though the language I use here refers to “women” with the pronouns “she, her, hers,” all women, femmes, and transgender people are subject to oppression under far right policies. That oppression does, however, differ according to whether you identify as a white cis woman or not. This article refers mostly to oppression of white cis women, because the movement of the far right to oppress women focuses on white cis women in a particular way. As a starting point on the intersectional oppression that the far right has in store for us if they gain much more traction, please begin with this article on race and gender in the contemporary United States. Many more articles can and should be written on how many types of awful the far right is on intersectional oppression overall.
**To any right-winger who sees this article, looks me up, and decides to start harassing me (I’m already harassed daily), I have this to say: I am not fazed or flummoxed by inane sexist comments. You cannot slut-shame me. You cannot shame me for being a survivor of intimate partner violence. And you will never make me feel inferior because I am a woman. I am not only liberated, my mind is free. I’m therefore immune to your juvenile comments. Regarding whether you will win: I will never give up my rights. Women have finally gained some rights in this society, and I for one will never step back into your cage. I believe no lies about how one type of person is inferior to the other, and I certainly believe no lie about being inferior to a man. I will not bend.