Apr 292011

Recently, I was on a (first) date with a woman who was telling me about previous encounters that she had had. One of which was an ardent anti-feminist who believed that women should be stay-at-home slaves to their male masters. I mocked his bizarre views along with her, before adding that I, too, was an ardent anti-feminist; but for very different reasons. When those reasons were explained, the potential death of the date was avoided, but it came up again in a follow-up conversation.

After sharing this blog with her (pointing out my previous post: Feminism vs Humanism – part 1) I was given a number of reasons why the feminist drum should still be loudly beaten. Every single reason is, however, encompassed within humanism. I had a similar response from another female liberal – and (bizarrely) a humanist, at that. The arguments regarding the rights and abilities of women is one that I whole-heartedly agree with… but, to repeat my earlier position, it is an argument that is better done within the wider scope of humanism.

Here’s a wee analogy which might help explain my point.

The Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (RSPCA) looks after the welfare of animals. Now, imagine if there was an RSPCFA which just looked after female animals. If you were to make a contribution to an animal-based charity, would you prefer one that looked after all animals, or one that checked between the animal’s legs before deciding whether or not they would help it?

Arguing that women have fewer rights than men and that, for that reason, feminism is needed until equality is reached (and humanism can replace it) is a nonsense argument. Some animals are treated much worse than others, but an organisation fighting for all animals is a much stronger and well-equipped beast than one that picks and chooses which animals it will help.

Despite acknowledging all of the above, a consistent reason for staying onboard SS Feminism is that a prolonged adherence to one meme cannot lightly be given-up without the person feeling a little foolish about being onboard the wrong ship. Ego is a strong motivational force and, when accepting that the fight for male rights shouldn’t be ignored, searching for a more far-reaching self-label is easier-done if SS Feminism isn’t totally abandoned for SS Humanism. And that’s a shame, because SS Feminism has long-been sinking.

Humanism has had multiple meanings over the years, but in modernity it includes the fight for the equal consideration of all humans, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity. Any quality that is bestowed at conception/birth is not a quality that should be used to weaken the position of some humans regarding other humans. This includes gender, and the fight for everything that every feminist holds close, is done in the name of humanism. Apart from the whole disregard of men. That’s the preserve of some feminists, and it is a preserve that tars-and-feathers everyone who claims the feminist mantra, when non gender-biased belief-systems are in place… which fight the same fight. Without the gender bias.

When my previously-mentioned date told me that she had male friends who were feminists, I revisited a previous search that I had done regarding men who embraced the feminism meme. Sadly, this included a comedian I’m very fond of: Bill Bailey. In the following image, the first T-shirt (“This is what a feminist looks like”) is what he was actually wearing. The other 2 images were done by me to make the following point.

If you meet a man who tells you that he’s a feminist, ask him if he’s also a masculinist. If he isn’t, ask him why he favours the rights of one gender over the rights of another gender – particularly when that gender isn’t his own. If he claims to also be a masculinist, tell him about humanism. A quick Google will provide the relevant information, but if you want to aid his education, here’s a link to the British Humanist Association.

If he maintains his claims to feminism, he’s one of two things: a man who wants to better his chances of getting inside your pants, or an idiot.

  6 Responses to “Feminism vs Humanism – part 2”

  1. You needn’t be an anti-feminist to prefer humanism over feminism. The problem with humanism vs feminism debates is people assume you can’t be both, when they’re actually two seperate philosophies.

  2. You are right in pointing out that people are afraid of not agreeing with feminists, because it is pretty much a good way to make enemies!

    That fact, in itself, is worrisome. It shows, to me, that feminism is indeed a dogma. Feminism operates similarly too religion. It is subscribed to by many people. Many people say that they are agreeing with feminism, just not to be called a misogynist — probably similarly to people in orthodox countries afraid of speaking against their religion.

    I am a Humanist too, because it is inclusive! Fortunately, Humanism has not been attacked much by the new wave A+ people, although many are apparently douchebags according to FTB.

    I also do not understand why it is a problem that many humanists are white males. Humanist groups are incredibly friendly and welcoming, in particular to peope who add to the diversity, at least that is my experience. It is not their fault there is an underrepresentation of women and colored people, and you cannot just blame their honesty of not agreeing with the feminist movement.

  3. I am a male feminist. I am also a humanist. YOU are defining feminism as sexist. Wanting women to have equal rights to men (which they do not currently have) is NOT in any way trying to take anything (but an unfair advantage) away from men. There is NO contradiction in being a man & being a feminist.
    Your analogy about helping animals is also broken. There are MANY groups who help specific sub-groups of animals. It is easier to accomplish narrower goals, & does not cause harm by not doing EVERYTHING.
    The term feminism draws attention to the goal.
    As I said, I am also a humanist. I value the goals & work of humanists, but the term is much less well known, & therefore does not have the name-recognition that feminism (or atheism) does. This is not a “bad” thing. There are times it is quite a useful aspect of the term.
    Your re-defining feminism as something negative is harmful to your stated goals, & alienating to many like-minded people.

  4. I also think a holistic approach will do far greater good than ‘feminism, a la western privilege’ in places like the Middle East and Africa.

  5. The definition of political feminism, as employed by what I’d take to be a majority of gender activists, does not favor the rights of one gender of another. May I ask, where did you get that conception?

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