Alice Schwarzer

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Alice Schwarzer (October 2010)

Alice Sophie Schwarzer (born December 3, 1942 in Wuppertal ) is a German journalist and publicist . She is the founder and editor of the women's magazine Emma and one of the best-known feminists in Europe.


childhood and religion

Alice Schwarzer was born as an illegitimate child in the Elberfeld district of Wuppertal and grew up with her grandparents. In an interview, Schwarzer later described her grandfather as "very maternal" and her grandmother as "very politicized with a high sense of justice". What shaped her was her family's resistance to the Nazis and solidarity with the victims. Schwarzer comes from an atheistic family. She was baptized as a Protestant at the age of twelve and later also confirmed . She describes herself as "not a believer in the strict sense".

Education and life in Paris

Schwarzer attended commercial school and worked in the commercial sector for a number of years. In 1963 she went to Paris , where she learned the French language, and returned to Germany in 1965. She volunteered at the Düsseldorfer Nachrichten and in 1969 went to work as a reporter for Pardon magazine . From 1970 to 1974 she worked in Paris as a freelance political correspondent for radio, television and magazines. Her specialty was "the consequences of '68 in the political, social and cultural spheres". At the University of Vincennes , which also accepted students without a university entrance qualification, she studied psychology and sociology from 1970 to 1974 without a degree, under Michel Foucault , among others .

women's movement in the 1970s

Alice Schwarzer (circa 1977)
Alice Schwarzer (circa 1977)

In 1970, Schwarzer became friends with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre . Her interviews with de Beauvoir, conducted between 1971 and 1982, were published in 1983 under the title Conversation with Companions . Beauvoir wrote in a foreword to the book: "Thanks to our feminist and personal friendship, she was able to ask me the questions that interested me and I was able to answer her with complete frankness." Schwarzer's television portrait of de Beauvoir for the NDR from 1973 published it as a DVD in 2007 by Emma-Verlag. In 2007 Schwarzer's selection of Beauvoir's texts and an essay by her: "A Reader with Pictures" were also published. Along with Monique Wittig and others, Schwarzer was one of the initiators of the Paris Mouvement pour la liberation des femmes (MLF), one of the first feminist groups in the French women's movement. On April 5, 1971, the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur published a public statement in which 343 women, including many celebrities such as Catherine Deneuve and Simone de Beauvoir, declared: “One million women a year have an abortion in France. They do so in dangerous circumstances, as abortion is forbidden by law. […] I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I have had an abortion.” In a spectacular manner, they called for the legalization of abortion and initiated a public debate. Schwarzer exported this action to Germany under the motto women against § 218 . The highlight was the cover story in the magazine Stern on June 6, 1971, in which 374 women publicly confessed: We have had an abortion! In the autumn of the same year, Schwarzer's first book, Frauen gegen den § 218 , was published .

In her book Frauenarbeit – Frauenbefreiung (1973), Schwarzer came to the conclusion, based on her analysis of 16 interviews with women and the general situation of women, that the prerequisite for equal rights was outside employment. However, it is an additional burden. Concrete help for women must therefore start with the social assumption of child-rearing and housework, with the rationalization of the household and the fair distribution of all family-related tasks between the partners. However, a fundamental change in the social order presupposes that every woman is prepared to defend herself against male privileges in her own relationship. The struggle, according to Schwarzer, must always be waged on a collective and an individual level at the same time.

In her book The Little Difference and Its Big Consequences , she analyzed sexuality as "the fulcrum of power relations between the sexes and the oppression of women". For them, “forced heterosexuality ” is not innate, but a cultural imperative. She advocates free sexuality and economic independence for women. The book was published in 1975 and made Schwarzer known far beyond West Germany. It has been translated into twelve languages, most recently in Korean in 2001. Since then she has been considered the best-known and also the most controversial figure in the new German women's movement .

An unmoderated debate with the Argentinian-German author Esther Vilar , which WDR broadcast in February 1975 and which was extensively commented on in the media, also contributed to Schwarzer's fame. In her book The Trained Man , Vilar provoked the thesis that it was not the woman who was oppressed by the man, but rather the man who was oppressed by the woman. The book was very controversial in feminist circles because, according to the critics, it spread sexist prejudices. Schwarzer explained, among other things, that Vilar was cynical, a traitor to her own sex and "not just a sexist, but a fascist". The TV duel suddenly made Schwarzer a public figure. "The women were for Alice - the men for Esther", wrote HörZu . Bild headlined the "witch with the piercing look through the glasses". Hellmuth Karasek in the mirror : a "high noon on German television". In this discussion, Alice Schwarzer emphasized that the goal of the feminist struggle was by no means an assimilation to the male way of life.

"It is not our integration that is desirable, not the masculinization of women, but the humanization of the sexes."

Alice Schwarzer (1975)

Foundation of the magazine Emma

In January 1977 the first issue of the magazine Emma , which she founded, was published and she has been the publisher and editor-in-chief ever since. In 1979, Schwarzer went to Tehran with a group of French intellectuals , a few weeks after Khomeini had seized power and in response to a call for help from Iranian women who were resisting compulsory veils and disenfranchisement. Schwarzer wrote an article about it in Emma und der Zeit , whose credo was: “These women were good enough to risk their lives in the fight for freedom, they will not be good enough to live in freedom.” The danger has been there ever since , which starts from religious fundamentalism , one of its central themes.

The Star Lawsuit

On June 23, 1978, Schwarzer, along with nine other women, including Margarethe von Trotta , Erika Pluhar and Inge Meysel , filed a lawsuit "for defamation" against Henri Nannen , the editor-in-chief of Stern magazine . They sued for an injunction "to insult the plaintiffs by depicting women as mere sexual objects on the cover of the magazine 'Stern', thereby giving the male viewer the impression that the man could dispose of the woman at will and control her". The lawsuit was dismissed on formal grounds. Judge Engelschall pointed out that there was no legal basis for such a sexism lawsuit, "'in 20, 30 years' the plaintiffs would perhaps be proved right". The Stern lawsuit was the first anti-sexism lawsuit in the Federal Republic and made waves in the media.


In 1990, Schwarzer created the Emma Journalist Award . A changing, independent jury chaired by Schwarzer every two years until 2012 awarded prizes to journalists for “journalistic innovative articles that have an awareness of social realities and the situation of the sexes”. From 1992 to 1993 Schwarzer moderated the Hessischer Rundfunk talk show Zeil um Zehn . From 1990 to 1993, Schwarzer was part of the guessing team at What Am I? - Follow-up quiz show Yes or No under the direction of Joachim Fuchsberger .

Emma has been published every two months since 1993 . Schwarzer wrote more books, political essays and biographies again. In 1993 her case study of the deaths of Petra Kelly and her partner Gert Bastian was published as faction prose . Bastian shot the sleeping Kelly and then committed suicide . Schwarzer's book A Deadly Love. In 2001, Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian was the template for the TV adaptation Kelly Bastian - Story of a Hope , for which she also co-wrote the screenplay. She also wrote biographies about Marion Dönhoff and Romy Schneider . Both books became bestsellers. As of 2020, Schwarzer has published 23 books as an author and 23 as an editor.

Successor to the editor-in-chief of Emma

At the beginning of December 2007, Schwarzer announced that he wanted to hand over the editorship of Emma to television journalist and columnist Lisa Ortgies by spring 2008 at the latest . Ortgies was supposed to be trained for six months, but left after eight weeks as editor-in-chief in May 2008. Der Spiegel underscored the assumption that Schwarzer continued to dominate day-to-day business and thus caused a generational change to fail. Among other things, Emma writes: “The Emma employees ask Alice Schwarzer for an interview. They explain that Lisa Ortgies [...] after these first concrete experiences unfortunately - and quite surprisingly for everyone - seems to be the wrong person for the job of an editor-in-chief."

Since 2007

Alice Schwarzer, 2009

In mid-2007, Schwarzer made herself available as an advertising medium for an image campaign by the tabloid Bild , after she had repeatedly attacked this very medium over the past decades for misanthropy and misogyny. This swing and also her justification for the advertising participation, that a living woman like her should appear in the advertisement alongside people like Gandhi or Willy Brandt , had caused irritation in parts of the public.

In the summer semester of 2009, Schwarzer took on a guest professorship at the Vienna University of Applied Arts and a guest lectureship with the publicists, the Theodor Herzl lectureship. At this college she gave lectures in April and May on the subjects of pornography and sexual violence , religious fundamentalism and women and men .

In a "Celebrity Special" on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in September 2009, Schwarzer won EUR 500,000, which she donated to the Berlin women's charity Hatun und Can e. V. donated. Subsequent inquiries by Schwarzer raised the suspicion that the association was not using donations in accordance with its statutes. Her research led to a trial and the conviction of the fraudster Udo D. alias Andreas Becker. In November 2010, Schwarzer attacked Family Minister Kristina Schröder in an open letter . In the 2010/2011 winter semester, Schwarzer took over the Mercator Professorship at the University of Duisburg-Essen as a visiting professor . From 2010 to 2011, Schwarzer reported on the Kachelmann trial for Axel Springer Verlag in Bild . Her role in this process was sharply criticized on various occasions, she was accused of a lack of professionalism, biased partisanship and prejudice against the accused. Schwarzer repeatedly wrote that she was less concerned with the question of guilt than with the one-sided reporting by the media in favor of Kachelmann. Some of them had claimed months before the trial began that Kachelmann was innocent and that the victim was lying. As a result of their reporting, Schwarzer received a warning , a cease-and- desist declaration and finally a settlement in which Schwarzer agreed to pay Reinhard Birkenstock 14,000 euros . In December 2011, another injunction was issued against Alice Schwarzer because she continued to accuse Kachelmann despite the acquittal. Kachelmann was acquitted in May 2011 "for lack of evidence". “The presiding judge’s reasoning sounded largely like the reasoning for a guilty verdict,” wrote Alice Schwarzer; In a lecture on sexual violence and law at the University of Cologne, she also said: "In his verdict, the presiding judge Seidling [emphasized] [...] also in detail: The suspicion that Kachelmann had raped his partner at the time and threatened her with death unfortunately 'didn't evaporate'."

On September 15, 2011, Schwarzer's autobiography was released under the title CV . In it she also wrote for the first time about her private partnerships, for example with the Frenchman Bruno, with whom she had been together for ten years. “But I didn't get into a relationship like the one with Bruno again until eleven years later. This time with a woman. … We are an open couple but not a public one. And it will stay that way.” In June 2018, she married photographer Bettina Flitner . The North Rhine-Westphalian CDU sent Schwarzer to the 15th Federal Assembly to elect Joachim Gauck as part of the election of the 11th German Federal President on March 18, 2012.

tax evasion

Since the 1980s, Alice Schwarzer has been evading taxes that she should have paid on investment income from an account in Switzerland . She had not disclosed the account and the income to the tax authorities. The process became public knowledge when, in early February 2014, Der Spiegel reported on Schwarzer's self-disclosure under tax law , which she had filed in 2013 in order to avoid criminal proceedings. Alice Schwarzer has paid a total of around 200,000 euros in back taxes for the last ten years. On February 8, 2014, it became known that the responsible public prosecutor's office was investigating. For periods in which the assessment period of ten years had expired, the assessment of the tax ex officio was inadmissible ( assessment statute of limitations ). Schwarzer was therefore not obliged to pay back taxes for these tax evasions.

Schwarzer criticized the publication of this tax evasion by Der Spiegel on February 2, 2014 as "illegal" and suspected that it was "no coincidence" since she was currently involved in several political campaigns. In the "Emma" Alice Schwarzer published a defense speech in which she gave the impression that the reporting against her was connected to the "campaign against prostitution initiated by EMMA, where profits in the billions are at stake". She was therefore sharply criticized by Stefanie Lohaus in the "Zeit online". The taz wrote that she had taken her money across the border as a precaution, since the "hating" against her at the time was "such proportions" that she had "seriously" thought that she had to go abroad, Schwarzer said "presented as politically persecuted" and "implicitly compared to the victims of the Third Reich ".

At the beginning of June 2014 it became known that the investigation was ongoing and that search measures had taken place. In July 2016, a penalty order was issued against Alice Schwarzer because the voluntary disclosure she had made was incorrect. She has to pay a fine in the six-digit range.

On February 3, 2014 - one day after the tax evasion became known - Schwarzer announced the establishment of a non-profit "Foundation for Equal Opportunities and Human Rights of Girls and Women" with one million euros in endowment capital. "Against the background of the current debate," she decided "to go public with the announcement of the foundation several months earlier than planned." On April 27, 2018, Schwarzer founded the "Alice Schwarzer Foundation" for human rights in Berlin, Self-determination and equal opportunities for girls and women.

Legal dispute over the book by Waltraud Schade

In September 2015, Alice Schwarzer had her lawyers take action against her ex-girlfriend from 1971/72, the author Waltraud Schade , and the publisher rot & licht to prohibit the publication of the autobiographical book Tango mit Alice . The publisher brought an action before the district court of Cologne . The parties agreed to cease and desist.

In August 2016, Alice Schwarzer obtained a preliminary injunction from the district court of Cologne to temporarily stop the sale of the revised book variant Schwarzer Tango: memories of Alice Schwarzer . The publisher appealed the decision. The appeal against the injunction was dismissed.

political positions

Following on from Simone de Beauvoir's definition of gender identities, Schwarzer represents so-called equality feminism or social feminism, whose followers emphasize the social construction of gender differences and their material consequences as the cause of oppression.

Right to abortion

The right to terminate unwanted pregnancies with impunity was Schwarzer's main goal in the early 1970s. She initiated many actions and publications against § 218 StGB in its former form. In the campaign initiated by Schwarzer in 1971 We have aborted! prominent women (among others Romy Schneider , Sabine Sinjen and Liz Verhoeven ) who confessed to having had an abortion showed solidarity with Stern magazine . In 2005, Schwarzer admitted that she and several other participants in the campaign had not had an abortion. She said: "The action was not a personal confession, but a political provocation."

Schwarzer played a key role in the broad public debate on the subject of the right to abortion . The slogan of the women demanding this right was: "My belly belongs to me". In particular, Schwarzer and others addressed the humiliation and incapacitation as well as the physical dangers for women who had illegal abortions performed.

Sexuality and “forced heterosexuality”

One of Schwarzer's central themes since 1975 has been sexuality, more precisely: the function of sexuality in the construction of femininity and masculinity. In her book "The Small Difference and Its Big Consequences" (1975), Schwarzer analyzes sexuality as "the linchpin of the women's question. Sexuality is both a mirror and an instrument of the oppression of women in all areas of life. This is where the dice fall. Submission, a sense of guilt and the fixation on men of women are anchored here. Here is the foundation of male power and female powerlessness.” She pleads for “free sexuality”, for her the primacy of “forced heterosexuality” is culturally determined.

In the Emma special volume Sexuality , published in 1984, Schwarzer continued her theses about the "little difference". She reiterated her view that eroticism has traditionally been associated with power for men and powerlessness for women.

In “The Great Difference” (2000, Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Schwarzer devoted an entire chapter to the “myth of sexuality”. She stated that women had also become more sexually self-confident in the course of their general emancipation and that sexuality between women and men was more equal. But: “At the same time, the recognition or denial of a woman's sexual worth continues to be the greatest trump card in men's hands. A woman who becomes uncomfortable as a mate or threatening as a colleague can still be declassified as 'undesirable' by any man at any time.”

She said she saw a "new sexual insecurity" among men: "Today's women also expect a holistic interest in their person in sexuality and a comprehensive eroticism, a view of the detail and the soul. And today's men? They're worried. And get angry. Only every fifth man finds emancipation hot, found out the Berlin Institute for Men's Work. The rest react with 'listlessness, premature ejaculation, erection problems or impotence'. Mental impotence, mind you.”

At the same time, according to a study on youth sexuality by the Hamburg Social Research Institute, the number of men “who are looking for an equal and loving relationship with women (...) in 1990 it was already 71 percent” is increasing.

In March 1977, Schwarzer was the first to publicize the crime of “circumcision”, now genital mutilation, in Emma in some cultures. She pleads for solidarity with the women from the affected countries, from Egypt to sub-Saharan Africa, and for a joint fight against this crime.

For reasons of hygiene, however, Schwarzer is in favor of male circumcision ; the violation of the child's physical integrity is "very minor".

Financial Independence of Women

Another goal of the struggle of Schwarzer and other feminists and their supporters was realized in 1976 with the First Marriage and Family Law Reform Act . Among other things, this law means that married women no longer have to ask their husbands for permission to take up employment and that the principle of guilt that previously applied in the event of divorce has been replaced by the principle of disintegration , so that divorced women are now independent of their behavior have alimony claims against their ex-husbands during the marriage .

In a 1995 interview, Schwarzer said of this legal reform: “We had politically achieved our goal of enabling women to be financially independent. Women were no longer only responsible for the household. Men were no longer the sole breadwinners in the family. At last the scandal was over that women were only allowed to work if they did not neglect their family responsibilities or if they had to work because the husband's income was not sufficient. Now, at last, both were entitled to work. The right to work gave women the opportunity to become financially independent. This right was the basic requirement for complete economic independence.”

Schwarzer criticized this family law reform around 1995 , saying that the model of “housewife marriage” had been abandoned, but socio-political conditions continued to prevent real equal opportunities for men and women. The abolition of the traditional distribution of roles was “harder to enforce”, according to Schwarzer.

opposition to Islamism

Schwarzer rejects wearing the Islamic headscarf (hijabs) in public institutions, such as in school lessons, in democracies ( see also: headscarf dispute ). She describes it as the "flag of the Islamist crusaders", the "fascists of the 21st century". In contrast to other religious symbols, such as the Christian cross, the Islamic headscarf stigmatizes women, sometimes under duress, hinders physical freedom of movement and is not a religious but a political symbol.

In response to reports about a Frankfurt judge who, in a 2007 media sensational reasoning for her decision, wrote that the domestic violence suffered by a German of Moroccan origin at the hands of her husband, who grew up in Morocco, was not a case of hardship , since it was “not unusual” in her culture, “that the man exercises the right to punish the woman" and the woman had to reckon with this when she got married, Schwarzer said that this attitude was "by far not an isolated case". She fears a weakening of the German legal system and has the impression that a false tolerance is rampant in the judiciary.

In 2010, Schwarzer published, also as editor, “The Great Cover-up – for Integration, Against Islamism”. Islamic scholars and journalists document the arrival of fundamentalist Islam in Europe, authors of Muslim origin insist on the same human rights ("There is only one civilization", the Algerian Messaoudi) and ex-converts report from the inside of Islamism. In the same year, Sarrazin's book "Germany Abolishes Itself" was published, about which Schwarzer later said: "The economist, whose provocative book threw the last spark into the powder keg of integration, aptly names the consequences of a failed integration policy, but fails to recognize its causes. Because the problem is not 'Islam', but Islamism, politicized Islam. It is not 'the Muslims' who support a theocracy, but the Islamists. And the cause of backwardness is not to be found in the genes, but in the circumstances.”

On the occasion of the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI. she congratulated him. She said she noted with great interest that he had not hesitated to speak out critically of "politicized Islam". Of course she does not agree with the Roman Catholic Church and its relationship to the position of women. But she hopes that this Pope will address the problem of sexual violence against children and women a little more than his predecessors.

Schwarzer repeatedly addresses and criticizes misogynist attitudes in Muslim immigrant cultures. Your essay The terror began in the multicultural district of October 26, 2014 in the FASZ ends with the following paragraph:

“For thirty years, the West has indulged in an attitude of false tolerance, not at all alarmed by the disenfranchisement of women, nor distinguishing between Muslims and Islamists. He did not counteract the agitation in the multicultural districts in a positive way, but looked the other way. We looked away. [...] the first victims of this false tolerance were not us, but the majority of Muslims who were not (yet) fundamentalist and were intimidated by the fanatics. […] Education and equal rights for girls and women in the Muslim culture [would be] the most effective weapon against the theocracy, at least in the long term. But we have also let the Muslim women down by preferring to debate the right to wear a headscarf rather than human rights for women. Instead, Western politics should finally contribute to more education and women's rights in the threatened countries. Which would definitely be possible – if we only wanted to.”

Schwarzer also saw the Islamophobic “ Pegida ” demonstrations in their early stages as “justified uneasiness” against Islamic fascism. She wrote in 2015: "Shouldn't politics take seriously the uneasiness of this overwhelming majority instead of continuing to ignore, punish, even demonize it? […] There is uneasiness about the offensive Islamist agitation, the propagation of the Sharia. It is the legitimate uneasiness about this new form of fascism.”

With regard to Emma 's reaction to the sexual assaults on New Year's Eve 2015/16 , the taz criticized Schwarzer as a "right-wing feminist" who paints the same fear scenario as right-wing populists on the wall.

In January 2016, Schwarzer linked the controversial sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve 2015/16 to the politicization of Islam:

“The number one enemy for the Islamists is the emancipation of women. […] We have to ask ourselves whether a systematic strategy of sexual violence is now being added to the explosive belts and Kalashnikovs.”

Alice Schwarzer in Markus Lanz

During the conversation, which took place as part of the Markus Lanz television show, the philosopher Richard David Precht , who also took part, condemned her statement as a “ conspiracy theory ”; of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who came to Germany in 2015, "not even one per mille would have committed a criminal offense on New Year's Eve".

In May 2016, Schwarzer published the anthology "The Shock - The New Year's Eve of Cologne". It is her third book as editor on the subject of political Islam/Islamism. On New Year's Eve 2015, more than 2,000 young men, mostly of Muslim origin, rioted and attacked women on the square in front of the train station in Cologne. 627 women then filed complaints of sexual assault, including rape. For Schwarzer, this "swarming" appearance was no coincidence, but a political demonstration of power. According to Schwarzer, as in Cairo, for example, women should “be scared and driven out of public space”. Half of the authors in Shock are Muslims, including Algerian writer Kamel Daoud , who share Schwarzer's analysis of the events. Alice Schwarzer was accused by Anne Wizorek , one of the initiators of #aufschrei, that it was “ racist to pretend that only men with a migration background are the perpetrators”. The events are exploited by many, but a "differentiated debate about sexualized violence" is important.

In 2018, Schwarzer published an essayistic report on "My Algerian Family". She uses an extended family in Algiers, with whom she has been friends since the early 1990s and whom she has visited repeatedly over the years, to show the consequences of Islamist terror in a Muslim country. Over 200,000 Algerians were murdered in the 1990s in the civil war instigated by the "holy warriors". Family members were also affected. "The West looked the other way," Schwarzer said on Deutschlandfunk. Their concern is to show that the "normal Muslims", believers or not, are the first victims of the fanatical Islamists and that non-Muslims owe these Muslims solidarity. The book was also published in France.

Prohibition of pornography

According to Alice Schwarzer, pornography is recognizable by the link between sexual pleasure and humiliation and violence. Pornography is the opposite of eroticism, where there is no hierarchy, nothing is fixed, everything is open.

Dealing with pornography has been a central feminist issue since the mid-1970s. Schwarzer initiated a first action against pornography together with nine other women (including Inge Meysel , Erika Pluhar and Margarethe von Trotta ) with their “ sexism lawsuit ” in 1978, a media-effective lawsuit against Stern . The lawsuit was dismissed.

In 1987, Schwarzer made a second push against pornography with her PorNO campaign . At the same time, she published Andrea Dworkin's pornography in Emma Verlag - men dominate women . Schwarzer, in cooperation with Lore Maria Peschel-Gutzeit (SPD), who later became Senator for Justice in Hamburg and Berlin, also published a draft law against pornography, which was intended to replace the previous criminal law. The draft was not implemented.

Process for pictures by Helmut Newton

In November 1993, Schwarzer accused the photographer Helmut Newton in the Emma that his photos were not only sexist and racist , but also fascistoid . As evidence, she cited 19 of his paintings. Emma printed the relevant images in one issue without permission. The German publisher Schirmer/Mosel , with the approval of Helmut Newton, sued Emma-Verlag for intentional copyright infringement . The Munich Regional Court recognized the "scientific nature" of Schwarzer's text, but ordered Emma Frauenverlags GmbH to pay damages based on the photo quotations. Although these are allowed in political disputes, Emma exceeded the necessary limit with 19 pictures.

women as perpetrators

Schwarzer sees the form of violence by women with a focus on the psychological area.

“Are women better people? Not necessarily. They're just powerless, and that's why their violence over others mostly takes on psychological forms.”

Alice Schwarzer : Emma 1978

“Women were assigned the part of humanity and compassion, power and violence were taboo for them for a long time. (That's why they became specialists in covert, psychological violence.)"

Alice Schwarzer, 2007

In 1994, Schwarzer applauded the actions of American woman Lorena Bobbitt, who severed her sleeping husband John's penis after he allegedly cheated on her, forced her to have an abortion and raped her several times during the course of the marriage. Lorena Bobbitt escaped conviction because the jury found her mentally insane at the time of the crime. John Bobbitt was repeatedly accused of sexual abuse, but due to lack of evidence he was acquitted of the charge of rape.

“She disarmed her husband. […] One did it. Now anyone could do it. The dam has broken, violence is no longer taboo for women. It can be repelled. Or stung. American housewives no longer only think of chopping parsley when they see a kitchen knife. […] The victims have no choice but to act themselves. And there must be joy in women when one strikes back. Finally!"

Alice Schwarzer : Emma 1994


With her thesis of structural female masochism, i.e. the subjective eroticization of objective oppression, Schwarzer stands in the tradition of feminists like Kate Millett and psychoanalysts like Margarete Mitscherlich . Accordingly, sexuality is never just a “private matter” for them, but always a “reflection of objective power relations”.

As the editor of Emma , Schwarzer opened the magazine very early on to the debate about sadomasochism, especially the sadomasochism propagated by lesbians. In the September 1977 issue, Emma reported on Nancy Friday 's book The Sexual Fantasies of Women and psychoanalyst Margarete Mitscherlich analyzed the difference between masochistic phantasies and sadomasochistic reality. In November 1981, Emma headlined the theses of the American Pat Califia and gave space to the debate about sadomasochism in general and BDSM among lesbians in particular. Schwarzer, on the other hand, did not address the sex-positive feminists or sadomasochistic, feminist lesbian groups such as Samois .

Quotes on Sadomasochism from 1991: "The propagation of female masochism by men is an attack, by women it is collaboration with the enemy."

“It is no coincidence that the sado-maso fashion came about after the start of the women's movement towards the end of the 70s. Thanks to television and videos, it penetrated even the last home in Hintertupfingen . Now all men can, indeed should, be sadists and all women masochists.” From The Big Difference (2000)

"The fact that the fetishes of sexual sadomasochism are often borrowed from the torture chambers of dictatorships is also revealing, and that in Germany in particular the reminiscence of Nazi aesthetics in lacquer, leather and chains is unmistakable."

On the other hand, Alice Schwarzer defends the novel by the British author EL James Shades of Gray about a sadomasochistic relationship against the accusation of pornography. "A woman writes about male sadism - because that's the real issue! – and about her female fantasies. It's more emancipated.” Ultimately, the heroine doesn't submit to the man. And that's what fascinates the millions of readers, says Schwarzer. "Playing with fire that you can put out yourself."


Alice Schwarzer has been fighting against the acceptance of prostitution and for solidarity with prostitutes since 1980. In a foreword to Kate Millett's book The Bartered Sex, she writes: “The prostitute is a key figure in what is so dismissively called the 'woman question'; and the fight against prostitution – which only at first glance, paradoxically, is also a fight for prostitutes – is the main battlefield of the women's struggle.” And: “Men go to prostitutes because they look for something in them that they look for in non-prostitutes not get in this concentration: the total availability and the total feeling of power.”

In November 2013, Alice Schwarzer published the book Prostitution – A German Scandal in connection with the Emma campaign Appeal Against Prostitution , a collection of texts that had mostly previously been published in Emma . In it, Schwarzer represents social ostracism and pushing back prostitution with legal means. She described the prostitution law that came into force in 2002 as a "scandal" because it opened the floodgates to human traffickers . In an interview about the book, she said: "No enlightened, democratic state would tolerate slavery, play it down or even propagate it - like Germany does with prostitution today." As in earlier statements, she describes the voluntary nature as a myth. At least 90 percent of the prostitutes are poverty and forced prostitutes who want to get out, but often cannot, and the motive for self-destruction is often hidden behind the alleged voluntary nature. The appeal against prostitution speaks out against the "deregulation" of prostitution in Germany and for punishment of clients and harsher penalties for human traffickers, pimps and brothel operators.

Crisis in Ukraine

In the context of the Crimean crisis , Schwarzer took a stance on her website in 2014, entitled "Why I understand Putin despite everything!"

Criticism of International Women's Day

In 2021, Schwarzer called for the abolition of International Women's Day on March 8, which she called a "socialist invention" and "symbolic flattery." She attributed this day of remembrance to a strike by textile workers, which is not historically documented.

Trans identity, intersectional feminism and trans activism

In a December 2019 article, Schwarzer formulated “liberation from gender roles – and the liberation of sexuality” as the goal of feminism. The desired "abolition of the gender roles" "women" and "men" is opposed to a splitting and multiplication into numerous new identities, which are represented by intersectional feminism. In the meantime, these "sectarian absurdities of a minority" have become mainstream. She describes transactivism as “propaganda”. This could encourage insecure girls to “reject or even mutilate” their bodies. Trans identity is not a physical, but a purely psychological conflict. Alice Schwarzer was criticized for her attitudes by left-wing activists and described as a trans-exclusive feminist ( TERF ).


Feminist counterpositions

Schwarzer's acceptance of Federal Crosses of Merit (among the ribbons 1996; first class 2005) caused incomprehension among some leftists and feminists, since they saw it as a pandering to what they called "male society" and its rituals, which they saw as a betrayal of feminist ideals and goals applied. This was also criticized in some letters to readers in Emma and in subscription cancellations.

Schwarzer disapproves of being outed involuntarily , such as by Rosa von Praunheim in 1991 . When she was described as bisexual in Bascha Mika's critical biography (see #literature ) in 1998, she rejected any comment referring to her private and intimate sphere . A FAZ article wrote in 2010 that she appeared publicly in Cologne with her partner.

Özlem Topçu stated in 2010 that Schwarzer was ignoring "a new generation of Islamic feminists" because, when wearing headscarves, they did not correspond to their image - although they could be "possible allies" to support Muslim girls in their development into self-determined women. The fact that women also appealed to the courts for their right to a headscarf was "in Schwarzer's interpretation not a civic right, but a provocation of the rule of law." She herself draws a "picture of the self-righteous we and the inferior you".

In August 2011, Charlotte Roche , who had previously come out as an “ Emma subscriber” on many occasions, criticized that she had been “collected” by Emma during an interview . Roche believes that some of the standpoints of classic 1970s feminism – such as the rejection of pornography – are outdated and advocates sex-positive feminism .

In 2012, the author Miriam Gebhardt demanded in her book Alice in No Man's Land. As the German women's movement lost women, a move away from "Black Feminism" In her work, she pleaded for a genuine confrontation with contemporary problems. Accordingly, Schwarzer's constant criticism of pornography, especially young women, is increasingly alienating. The actual problems, such as the fact that Germany is far behind in terms of the proportion of women at universities, in the media or in managerial positions, are not addressed by Schwarzer.

legal position

The Islamic scholar and lawyer Mathias Rohe considered Schwarzer's assessment that the legal system was being "undermined by Islamists" to be incorrect and accused her of "grotesquely" misjudging the situation. According to Rohe, the German legal system sets "clear boundaries" where "life, limb or freedom" is at stake.

criticism of black people

The journalist Kay Sokolowsky accused Schwarzer of anti-Semitism , referring to a critique by Henryk M. Broder in 1999 and accused her of sympathies with right-wing symbolic figures such as Leni Riefenstahl .

Bettina Röhl criticized Schwarzer's stance on the case of the boy Bruce Reimer , who was physically transformed into a girl through surgery and hormone treatment and raised accordingly after medical malpractice severely damaged his primary sexual organs, and who, in desperation, committed suicide as an adult in 2004 . Schwarzer celebrated this "tragic and unscrupulously committed case of violent gender reassignment" as evidence for her thesis that "gender identity is not a biological, but only a psycho-social variable", almost "anthemically celebrated" and to this day has failed to distance herself from it in order to present her theses not to question. Schwarzer wrote about the case in her 1975 book The Little Difference : She critically describes the case of biologically male twins, one of whom is brought up as a "man" and the other, whose penis was accidentally amputated, as a "woman". For them, the case is evidence of the drill for "femininity" or "masculinity."

In an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2008, Schwarzer defended the refusal of the military junta in Myanmar to allow Western aid into the country after Cyclone Nargis , pointing out, among other things, to the alleged US humanitarian aid to Cambodia in 1968, whose “rice bombers” were transporting bombs; and the double standards of the media. The People's Republic of China , which was also a victim of natural disasters at the same time, initially did not let any western aid workers into the country, but has not been criticized for this by anyone. In addition, Myanmar is ruled by a post - Maoist junta, which she would undoubtedly oppose as a Burmese, but it is wrong to demonize the country to this extent and boycott it economically as part of the " Axis of Evil Campaign ". Only the population of Myanmar suffers from this. Jörg Lau then accused her of "Western self-hatred" and "mockery of human rights and democracy".

In early 2015, Simone Schmollack wrote that Schwarzer "threw everything into one pot: forced veils, Sharia police, fascism, Pegida, xenophobia". Referring to Schwarzer's claim that "deeply veiled, mostly young women" frequented an auctioned house in the center of a small German town, which she interpreted as a possible "indoctrination center for Salafists ," Schmollack opined that it was "certainly hardly possible" to recognize the age of a person behind a full veil".

Kachelmann process

Schwarzer reported very extensively and very one-sidedly in the picture about the trial at the Mannheim district court against the weather moderator Jörg Kachelmann . Contrary to Schwarzer's assessment, Kachelmann was acquitted of the rape charge; the Axel-Springer-Verlag was later sentenced to the highest fine in the history of German journalism for the various violations of personal rights committed against Kachelmann. The Spiegel court reporter Gisela Friedrichsen described Schwarzer in this context as a "fanatical feminist" who tramples on "guarantees of the rule of law such as the public presumption of innocence" and "ridicules values ​​that hold society together", as happened in the Kachelmann trial may be.

Meaning of Schwarzers

According to an Allensbach survey from 2006, 83 percent of all Germans know Alice Schwarzer and 67 percent believe that she "did a lot for women." The historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler wrote in 2007 on the occasion of a review of her political essay The Answer for the Swiss Weltwoche on Schwarzer: “You only have to think away from this personality to realize the extent to which this publicist and de facto politician, often single-handedly, has convincingly championed the cause of women. Without this very individual motor skills, so be it, without this passion to constantly lead the way in open disputes for a just cause, the women's movement, but also the decision-making bodies of party politics, would have lacked an essential impetus."

According to Cicero magazine's 2008 "Intellectual Ranking" , Alice Schwarzer was the "most influential German intellectual" after the literary critic Elke Heidenreich . The ranking is based on the presence of women in 160 leading newspapers and magazines since 1998 as well as references in the Munzinger personal archive and on the Internet. In the 2012 ranking of intellectuals, Alice Schwarzer was the first woman to take fourth place, making her, according to Cicero , "the woman with the highest public power of interpretation". In the 2019 ranking of intellectuals, Alice Schwarzer was the second woman in ninth place, after Elfriede Jelinek (7th place). Among the “500 most important intellectuals”, 89 were women.



As an author

  • Women against § 218 . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt 1971.
  • Women's Labor – Women's Liberation . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt 1973. 1985 reissued as: Reward: Love
  • The small difference and its big consequences. women about themselves; beginning of liberation. Protocols and Essays. 1st edition 1975. S. Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. (several editions until 2002)
  • That's how it started – 10 years of the new women's movement . Timeline. Emma Frauenverlag, 1981. (1983, paperback on dtv)
  • With passion. Texts from 1968–1982. Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 1982.
  • Simone de Beauvoir today - conversations from 10 years. interviews and essays. Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 1982.
  • Why her? Female Rebels . Luchterhand Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1989. (paperback from Fischer Verlag)
  • Of love + hate . Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1992.
  • A Deadly Love – Petra Kelly + Gert Bastian . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-462-02288-1 . (paperback published by Heyne Verlag, Munich)
  • Marion Dönhoff - A Resistant Life . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1996, ISBN 3-462-02531-7 . (paperback from Knaur Verlag, Munich)
  • That's how I see it. Lyrics from 1992–1996 . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1997.
  • Romy Schneider - Myth and Life . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-462-02740-9 . (paperback from Knaur Verlag, Munich)
  • The big difference. Against the division of people into men and women. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-462-02934-7 . (Paperback in Fischer Verlag 2000, ISBN 3-596-15237-2 ).
  • Alice in Manland. An interim report. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-462-03143-0 .
  • Alice Schwarzer portrays role models and idols . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-462-03341-7 .
  • Women with visions , with photographer Bettina Flitner, Knesebeck, Munich 2004
  • Dear Alice, dear Barbara . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2005. (correspondence with Barbara Maia)
  • The answer. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-462-03773-9 .
  • Simone de Beauvoir. A book with pictures. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2007
  • Simone de Beauvoir. Companions in conversation. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2007
  • Journalist by passion. Picus, Vienna 2010
  • Resume. autobiography. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-462-04350-1 . ( Autobiography )
  • Travel in Burma. (with photos by Bettina Flitner ), DuMont Verlag, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-8321-9424-6 .
  • My Algerian family. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2018, ISBN 978-3-462-05120-9 .
  • life's work. Second part of the autobiography. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2020.

As editor

  • election boycott . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1980.
  • The EMMA Book . dtv, Munich 1981.
  • sexuality . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1982, TB 1984 in Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 1982.
  • Through thick and thin . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1986, TB 1986 in Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 1984.
  • Away with § 218! Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne, updated new edition: 1990 deadline solution now! Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1990.
  • The New EMMA Book . dtv, Munich 1986.
  • PORN . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1988.
  • with Ute Gerhard and Vera Slupik: At the expense of women. Women's Rights in the Welfare State . Beltz, Weinheim 1988.
  • WAR. What male madness does - and how women resist against war and Islamic fundamentalism . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1990, TB 1992 Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt 1992.
  • The Latest EMMA Book . dtv, Munich 1991.
  • Sister lust + sister frustration. 20 years of the new women's movement - a chronicle . Emma Frauenverlag, Cologne 1991.
  • PORN . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1994. (updated new edition of the EMMA book of the same name)
  • tower of women. The Bayen Tower in Cologne. From the old defense tower to the FrauenMediaTurm . DuMont publishing house, Cologne 1994.
  • One is not born a woman . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2000.
  • The holy warriors – and false tolerance . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2002.
  • Emma. The first 30 years. Collection Rolf Heyne, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-89910-358-8 .
  • ladies choice. 90 years of women's suffrage. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2008.
  • The big cover-up: For integration, against Islamism. 2010, ISBN 978-3-462-04263-4 (with contributions by: Elisabeth Badinter , Djemila Benhabib, Rita Breuer , Cornelia Filter, Carola Hoffmeister, Necla Kelek , Chantal Louis, Khalida Messaouidi-Toumi, Katha Pollitt, Annette Ramelsberger, Gabriele Venzky, Martina Zimmermann) short excerpt
  • It is enough! Against sexism at work . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-462-04588-8 .
  • Prostitution - A German scandal. Eds. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-462-04578-9 .
  • The shock - The New Year's Eve of Cologne , ed., with contributions by Kamel Daoud , Necla Kelek, Bassam Tibi and others Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2016, ISBN 978-3-462-04999-2 ,



  • Alice Schwarzer: Simone de Beauvoir live. 45-minute TV portrait from 1973, DVD in German and French. Version, Emma Verlag, Cologne 2008
  • The chef. Film portrait of Alice Schwarzer, Arte 2008

web links

Commons : Alice Schwarzer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Alice Schwarzer  – Quotations


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  3. Antonia Kupfer: Sociology of Education: Theories - Institutions - Debates . VS Verlag for Social Sciences, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 3-531-17535-1 , p. 68 .
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    The new Alice Schwarzer is called Lisa Ortgies. In: FAZ.NET, December 7, 2007. (
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  25. Chronology of Events
  26. Stefan Niggemeier (image blog): Schwarzer-Humor , July 12, 2007.
    "I can't relate to this person at all anymore" - Charlotte Roche , hardcore feminist. In: Mirror Online. February 13, 2008.
  27. ^ Art professorship: A. Schwarzer. In: OÖN , January 31, 2009.
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  29. I consider it a hopeless case In: Stern. 9 November 2010.
    No question of age In: Emma. November 8, 2010.
    Harald Martenstein : Schwarzer vs. Schröder: right sex and wrong sex. In: Daily Mirror . 9 November 2010, retrieved 4 December 2010 .
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  31. Media prejudice on the rise In: Deutschlandfunk. May 29, 2010.
  32. Guilty on Suspicion In: Zeit. June 24, 2010.
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  35. What can be learned from the Kachelmann case
  36. Sexual Violence and Law
  37. Reviews in NZZ, SZ, FAZ, FR, taz, summarized by Perlentaucher
  38. "I couldn't have done 'Emma' with a child" from September 22, 2011.
  39. "Years of Apprenticeship and Wandering of a Fighter: Alice Schwarzer". In: , September 14, 2011.
    Reviews in NZZ, SZ, FAZ, FR, taz , summarized by Perlentaucher
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  41. cf. B. CDU wants to send Alice Schwarzer to the Gauck election. In: , February 27, 2012, retrieved on June 13, 2012.
  42. ↑ Voluntary disclosure: Alice Schwarzer confesses Swiss tax secrecy , Der Spiegel of February 2, 2014, retrieved on February 3, 2014.
  43. EUR 200,000 in back taxes: Alice Schwarzer and her Swiss account, February 2, 2014
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  47. Ulrike Herrmann: Painfully embarrassing, February 2, 2014
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  51. a b Black Tango , on
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  64. Stuttgart newspaper. February 25, 1995.
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  80. "I don't want to be your heir", January 15, 2016
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  82. Islamism is a "political danger on a global scale"
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