Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Words, man...

This was going to be a status update but then I realized it was going to be way too long for a status update so now it's a blog.

I am a feminist and I am a humanist. These are two different things. I happen to be both. But they are not interchangeable. I feel like I have to say that because I've noticed more and more people trying to distance themselves from the word feminist and using humanist instead. Sorry, humanist already means something else, so stop it.

Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I feel like I should put that there because people tend to have a hard time holding on to the definition. I've written about it before here. My take is if you aren't a feminist there is something deeply wrong with you. Now I get that you don't want to be thought of as one of "those" people. The ones who whine and bitch and moan and carry on about things and claim it all in the name of feminism. But why do you think that means you should abandon the name? That makes as much sense to me as if Christians and Muslims stopped calling themselves Christian and Muslim because the fringe elements of their groups do crazy things.

Or if you are a republican/democrat and some crazy person starts ranting about things you don't believe and says they are doing it because they are republican/democrat do you then say, "Well I'm not a republican/democrat." or do you say, "Don't agree with that." You don't abdicate the name because the fringe is crazy.

I'm a feminist. I believe men and women should be treated equally. Period.

Now for those of you who are trying to distance yourselves from feminist by using humanist. I get what you are trying to do. You want to be inclusionary. You think that just by the name and by the association it seems feminist means promoting women over men. And feminism is promoting women. But not ahead of men, just to same level. The reason why it's not genderneutralist is because the movement is about raising up a segment that is being treated in an unequal fashion. It's not about dragging men down, it's about raising women up. Not above, but to the same level. Equality. I for one will be thrilled when it's not an issue anymore, but we aren't there yet.

Humanism: a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism).

And that is what being a humanist is. It's a philosophy. Not an equality stance. It's about reason instead of magical thinking. It's about evidence over faith. Being a humanist goes with my lack of religious belief, not my belief that men and women should be equal. It's not the same thing. Get it? I am a humanist. And I am a feminist. But you absolutely can be one or the other and not be both.

Words mean things.

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