The War Between Feminism And Humanism
Maybe humanism does sound more inclusive, but this is why it should be called feminism.
There’s a stigma around the word ‘feminism’, and what really shocks me is the fact that so many people in our society in this day and age refuse to accept the title, under the guise that it means only women’s lives matter. But this is where it’s all gone wrong.
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a household where feminism was something assumed, not asserted. Similarly, my friends throughout the school all identified themselves as I do, so when I came to university I got a massive shock when speaking to some people, as they refused to call themselves feminists, because of the stigma, and also because they didn’t really know what they were speaking about.
Last year I went to a panel hosted by the Durham University Student Halo Project, titled: Mainstream Feminism: Another Form of White Supremacy? And the questions and discussion from that not only opened my eyes to the wider world of intersectional feminism but also prompted me to write this article.
Feminism, by definition, is equality for all. Not just for women.
And whilst the term humanism does sound more inclusive, why should we change the word feminism to become all-encompassing when it is clear that on a global scale women are those in a weaker position in society.
Yes, I completely agree that sexism affects men and women. I’m not trying to deny that. And I’m definitely not trying to say that women should gain more benefits just because they’ve been in this position in history, where men have been more privileged on a social, economic and political scale.
What I am trying to say is that feminism has a more women-orientated title because of the value it holds in relation to the women that it has benefitted, alongside the men. The majority of people that have fought and gained in order to have some sort of equal standing (not that this has been completely achieved yet) are women.
And yes, whilst all lives matter, some are in desperate need of help rather than others, which may already be privileged and therefore don’t need as much of a focus on.
It was the women in the early 20th century who fought. And it was all the women who, before them, were suffering. So surely the women-orientated term should be kept as a term of respect, to honor the women that have fought for their rights.
The best way of being able to sum this up is something that I read online a few months ago and has stuck by me. This also applies to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to those who think it should be titled ‘All Lives Matter’. If one house on a street is on fire, surely only one needs saving. Yes, it is true that all the other houses have equal value. But one is clearly in more need of help than the others. So, like that one house on fire, we should respect those in need of a fairer position in society.
So the next time someone brings up the idea that feminism should be retitled humanism, because all lives matter, not just women’s, remind them that feminism simply means humanism, and if they’re too embarrassed to be associated with the term, then they’re not really here for equality at all.