Humanists – the new feminists?

A women’s movements activist recently proclaimed that instead of using the term feminist she will continuously be calling herself a humanist.

Most people today would agree with that men and women deserve equal rights and presumptions. To be of the opinion that women should focus on domesticity instead of having jobs has been passé for decades. Despite this many people wouldn’t call themselves feminists.

A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women and men – from a woman’s point of view. A feminist is with very few exceptions, as Sushi Das writes in The Age – a woman.

The women’s movement is in need of a change and I believe introducing the term humanist as an alternative to feminist is a change that actually could matter. It is a way to attract people that are sceptical about the word feminist. The concept of humanism is including rather than excluding.

If more men would engage in feministic issues, there would probably also be more issues on this subject on the agenda. Feministic topics would become less only women’s concern and more a concern to everyone.

The world has faced many humane movements over the years. People have always been and will also in the future be fighting to beat injustice. This is a long-term and serious approach to feminism and views on gender equality.

There is still a long way to go and more people need to devote themselves to make a change. If more humanists would come along maybe potential feminists wouldn’t get scared off.

Although I can’t help feeling slightly bitter. Isn’t it just what you could expect – to persuade men to work for gender equality the actual feminist movement needs to transform and adjust to what could possibly, to some extent, attract a few men.

Feminist? Anyone?

Feminist? Anyone?


4 Responses to “Humanists – the new feminists?”

  1. 1 A.Y. Siu August 5, 2008 at 6:33 am

    The problem with the term humanist is that it can be an excuse to avoid issues that have to do with gender and/or women… or just avoid issues at all. There are general physicians, but we also have need of ear-nose-throat doctors, pediatricians, podiatrists, radiologists, etc. There’s nothing wrong with specialization if there are special problems in the world.

  2. 2 HELENA BJORK August 5, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Thank you for your comment! I see your point and think that you’re right about the fact that using the word humanist can be an excuse to avoid using feminist.

    However, I don’t think the comparison to general physicians and specialized doctors is applicable in this case. An ear-nose-throat doctor is essential for someone with an ear-nose-throat problem, whereas people without such a probem don’t need to concern at all.

    Feminism, on the other hand, is a concern to EVERYONE and could therefore be considered as a matter of humanity. We are all humans and deserve the same treatment no matter of ethnicity, sex or religious views.

    The problem today is that feminism ISN’T a genereal concern. In relation to the ear-nose-throat case that means that feminism only should be a matter to them that suffer from it – women.

  3. 3 ubuntucat August 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Well, you found the whole in my analogy.

    Another way to think of it that’s related would be as to parts of the body, with the body itself representing all of humanity. If one part of your body is in pain or suffering from an illness, every part of your body should be involved in that one part’s recovery. If one part of your body starts attacking another part of your body, the offending part may need to go into therapy and the offended part may need treatment.

    We are, in a way, as humans all part of one body. To say there’s no place for exploring throat concerns as the body is about only general body issues is a cop-out. But to say the rest of the body can ignore what happens to the throat is short-sighted, especially if there’s some kind of cancerous tumor attacking that area.

  4. 4 ubuntucat August 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Doh! That should read Well, you found the hole in my analogy.

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