Feminism and Humanism: Why They Aren’t the Same

“Humanism as an umbrella movement and humanism working alongside feminism is awesome, but humanism in place of feminism implies that all genders/sexes have the same problems or needs in society.” 

Thank you to my friend Megan for that quote.  

It’s perfectly valid to identify as a feminist or a humanist or an equalist. The problem comes when you assume that every person you are supporting equality for faces the same problems, is disadvantaged or marginalized in the same way, or that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. There isn’t. Women and men face different types and methods of oppression. Cis and trans folks are not impacted by inequality in the same way. You can be a feminist and a humanist, you can be a humanist and a feminist, but the two are not the same and they are not interchangeable. They are also not mutually exclusive. 

The largest problem I’ve had with people who call themselves “humanists” instead of feminists is that they adamantly deny the need for feminism and insist that feminists are sexists who demand superiority for women instead of gender equality. That has not been true of every person who has used the terms humanist or equalist, but to be fair it’s been all but 1. 

Recognizing the difficulties unique to each demographic is key in solving the problems. Ignoring the needs or voices of one group does nothing but marginalize them further. We need movements working for the betterment of specific minority groups because there is no single magical solution that will make things better for everyone. We’re engaged in a human rights struggle, still, that necessitates each group working for themselves AND with one another to make a safe space for everyone.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Feminism and Humanism: Why They Aren’t the Same

  1. tim

    Feminism is flawed in the aspect that it is a movement that focuses on the needs of one gender. It is divisive as it still separates us as people. It claims to be equal rights for all yet all it really does is promote female privledge. It is primarily a political movement and an ideology. Many of the figure heads keep “fighting” because it is their bread and butter and if their was nothing left to fight for they would be obsolete.
    Most men seem to be negative to words feminism not because they don’t believe in equality but because feminism heaps blame upon men as if all men colude against women or that all of women’s ills are constructed by men. They also neglect how men are wronged in society.

    Both genders suffer and make sacrifices for society in different ways. Society provides many benefits and for most the sacrifices are worthwhile for everyone’s lives and has allowed many to pass on their genes. In time these sacrifices became the gender roles many cultures are familiar with. Most of this occurred gradually through time from labor division which was rooted in biology. Societies that did not divide labor failed.
    You can find the answers to many societal norms in our hisrory. Ancient agrarian societies were labor driven that’s why many if not all ancient philosophies strongly promoted reproduction and family. To fuel society and keep things chugging along. A societies success is based on food surplus and that food surplus before mechanization was labor driven.
    Technology and progress allows us as a whole to not be as tightly bound to society and survival and allows more flexibility in contrast to our past.
    Technology and innovation has brought more equality than feminism ever could and many of the things that our culture attributes to the feminist movement can actually attributed to the technological innovations that many take for granted today.
    Feminism still creates a divide and many who practice it as an ideology function as a hate group.
    Humanism would be the best title for equal rights but that title was taken long ago by atheists who felt that one could have ethics without religion.
    I’m technically a humanist because I’m an agnostic who believes that we don’t need religion to behave ethically. It seems to me that if one needs to constantly be reminded to do the right thing or need an eternal reward to do good than they are not inherintly good people. I’m generally wary of religouse types because in my personal experience they have been very destructive people.
    I would like to call myself a humanist as well because I believe in equality despite gender or ethnic background. I guess I would be equalist.

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