Louise's Feminist Musings

Notes on feminist news & issues

Discussion About Trading In the Term ‘Feminism’ for ‘Humanism’ (it is NOT a good idea)

Nowadays certain feminists don’t want to associate themselves with the term because 1. it has ‘fem’ in it while feminism is not ‘pro-women’ but pro gender equality and it is bad branding for that reason, 2. feminists are thought to be man-hating, ugly bitches without humor and modern women want to have nothing to do with that….they want to say ‘we have humor, we don’t hate men, we are nice’.

I agree with 1: it is unfortunate. But I think that 2 implies ‘be nice, pretty and entertaining or shut up’ . Distancing yourself from the term for reason #2 is to give in to everything feminism is against. If women are denied rights, influence, power and are hurt by violence, why are we not ‘allowed’ to be angry about that? And if we are angry about it, why are we not allowed to show this? Do we have to first take abuse and then also be nice about it, tip-toeing around men’s sensitivities…so that they won’t be angry at us?

Let’s just be proud, ugly, angry feminists. What is so bad about that? Are we alienating men? I don’t think that we are alienating the right type of man. Men who call themselves feminist (or the weaker, but well-meant, ‘feminist-ally’) will presumably know what that means (they have done their research, I assume, and know that feminism has nothing to do with a ‘war of the sexes’) and will be angry too whenever other men belittle women. They will hopefully be angry with us.


See the comments, they are interesting. My nickname is ‘LouC’ in the comments on this page (but in the meantime I have rewritten my opinions in this post).

Some women call themselves ‘humanists’ and think that this could be a good alternative for ‘feminist’. However, it isn’t…the term is already taken…it is as old as the Renaissance and it stands for a human-centered worldview, mainly as an alternative for religion. It has nothing in specific to do with gender equality: someone can be a humanist and still think women are sub-human.

In fact, Richard Dawkins spoke at the American Humanists’ conference this year http://conference.americanhumanist.org/. And here is Richard Dawkins making fun of feminism:

I think he would protest feminism taking over the term ‘humanism’ or merging with humanism. I like him as a fellow atheist, but personally that is as far as I’d like the association to go. (In fact, it is very reasonable to think that because it has been developed mostly by men so far, physics may be gendered. Just like it may be a typical western, white undertaking. I’m not saying that it is….I am certainly not a fan of social constructivism when it comes to science and epistemology, but you’ve got to consider that there could be something to it instead of joking about it and dismissing it because it sounds silly to your British, white, male ears.)

By the way, here’s Christopher Hitchens, fellow atheist, revealing his sexism.

(Notice, hoewever, that the woman interviewing him also has the wrong idea of feminism: she thinks women should work (as well as men) and that is not what feminism is about. Feminism is not here to make all people work. Feminism wants people to be able to develop as they see fit regardless of their gender, which means that a woman can choose to stay home and have a man provide for her if they can afford that, just like a man can stay home and have a woman provide for him, as long as it is a free choice. But many feminists let governments and companies trick them (I think that is what it is, but perhaps I am wrong and these feminists have an extra economic agenda?) into promoting the message that all people should work. That is really very unfortunate. Feminists tend to forget about changing the role of men in society and here you see a frightening consequence. More people enter the workforce, labour becomes cheaper….companies profit, more economic growth….and in the end we end up in a society in which everybody HAS TO work 40 hrs/pwk to stay alive, a single income can no longer provide for a household and nobody can afford (only the rich) to stay at home and take care of their own kids (and men still don’t do housework or pick the children up from school). We are rapidly moving in that direction with the help of feminists who, I think, are blinded by their fight for their own choices (their career no doubt was a fight against sexism), like the woman above. It is frightening because I don’t think there is a(n easy) way back.)

Another gem by Christopher Hitchens: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701

I’d think twice before trading in the label ‘feminist’ for ‘humanist’ when it means associating yourself with these anti-feminist atheists. (Hitchens is not alive anymore…but there are many more anti-feminist atheists:


Richard Dawkins also comes up here and shows himself to be not only outrageously ignorant about women’s experience, but part of the misogynist crowd out there.)

Oh well, I just found out that Richard Dawkins is the Honorary Vice-President of the British Humanist Association. Right, I think this makes my case against exchanging ‘feminism’ for ‘humanism’.


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