Does フェミニスト mean something like "womanizer"?

Wiktionary says:

(dated, colloquial) a chivalrous man

Vice reports that someone on Reddit said:

One Reddit commenter suggested that the text could be a mistranslation from Japanese, and is actually meant to suggest Robotnik is a "womanizer" (obviously pretty different to a feminist)


I can sort of see how "a chivalrous man" could mean "womanizer", but is that a common use of フェミニスト nowadays?

2 Answers 2


In Japanese, フェミニスト often referred to a male person who is kind, gallant and courteous to ladies, in which case the word had little to do with political movements or social rights. All the three monolingual dictionaries I checked have a definition like 女性を大切に扱う男性, and one of them explicitly says this is a Japanese-only meaning of the word. However, as Wiktionary says, I feel this is a dated meaning typically found in novels written in more than 50 years ago. Anyway, the word has never had a meaning like womanizer or playboy.

I hesitate to say this, but in the last few decades, the word フェミニスト (or フェミ for short) has become a fairly negative word in Japanese. As you can see by searching for フェミ on Twitter, people very often use this as a derogatory term that refers to women who look down on men, women who blame men for every social problem, women who bothers even other women by trying to protect women's rights, women who hate all sorts of pornographic materials involving women, and so on.

  • Are you referring to the concept embodied by "ツイフェミ"? en.wiktionary.org/wiki/…
    – Malady
    Jul 5 at 18:22
  • 1
    There's also the decidedly derogatory English term feminazi, which sense matches what Naruto's describing. Perhaps this negative sense of フェミ comes from feminazi instead of from フェミニスト? Jul 5 at 18:48
  • @Malady Yes, but I'd say フェミ and ツイフェミ are used almost the same way now. There are people who are aware that フェミ in the original sense is not derogatory, and they tend to keep using words like ツイフェミ, 似非フェミ, 勘違いフェミ, etc.
    – naruto
    Jul 5 at 23:53
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi I don't think it's likely. I think the meaning change of フェミ happened naturally in relation to problems in Japan.
    – naruto
    Jul 5 at 23:59
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi The former sense was used mainly in Showa and earlier, while the latter is still more of internet slang, so "got replaced" may not be a correct description.
    – naruto
    Jul 6 at 0:10

I think it's unlikely. Going from "chivalrous man" to "womanizer" seems a bit of a stretch.

It appears that it most commonly just means 'feminist' based on what I observe in the majority of the search results I find in 少納言, a balanced corpus. The corpus doesn't seem to include many quotes from young people, though - the youngest in these results is someone born in the 1970s. On the other hand, the quotes themselves are not exactly old - the time span is 1988-2008.

The other usages are present, too, but I think they are secondary.

Interestingly, the quote below suggests that the "chivalrous man" usage was already considered wrong decades ago.

「フェミニスト」イコール「女に優しい軟弱な男」イコール「女に優しい軟弱な男」、という常識的な誤りさえ知っていたかどうか怪しい -- 松本侑子『私の本棚』(1993)

I would say the secondary usages of フェミニスト for "chivalrous man" and "feminazi" are less representative or at least context-dependent. Also, internet usage does not necessarily represent how people write and talk elsewhere. フェミ might be pejorative but that's not too different from how "libs" might be used pejoratively more often than "liberals".

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