What Is A Feminist Humanist?

"What is humanism?"

The American Humanist Association defines humanism as a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

"So then what's a feminist humanist?"

A feminist humanist aggressively challenges the harmful notion of gender inferiority. A feminist humanist believes in the humanity of all human beings and works toward an equal and just society based on human reason, compassion, empathy, and fairness.

"Humanism and feminism seem to be the same thing. Why combine the two?"

In theory, humanists employ human reason to advocate for the equal treatment of all individuals and alleviate unfair hardships.

The only problem is, not everyone practices what they preach. This is both an unconscious and deliberate response resulting from established, culturally ingrained prejudices. Due to unintended bias, even humanists can act in ways that overlook and contribute to discrimination that uniquely impact the lives of women, trans, and genderqueer people.

Specific issues deserve specialized scrutiny. This is why we need feminism. However, feminism that doesn't regard intersectionality is flawed and incomplete. This is why we need inclusive feminism.

“But isn’t feminism anti-male?”

The term feminism signifies “qualities of females” and is used to emphasize femininity and womanhood—a state of being that is subject to discrimination, mistreatment, social dispossession, and oppression.

Feminism isn’t a social movement defined or designed to be “anti-male.” Rather, feminism is the act of open rebellion against cultural norms that grant social power and preference to men at the expense of women. 

Certain forms of social inequality are gendered and are likely to affect non-men disproportionately. The name “feminism” purposely highlights this specific issue.

The claim that the objective of feminism is anti-male is an attempt to recenter male voices and invalidate the purpose of feminism, which is to defy and dismantle sexist and misogynist social systems that influence common cultural beliefs, values, and behavior.

 “The word feminist seems divisive. Why not just say you’re a humanist or an equalist or that you support human rights?”

Because we don’t yet live in a world where true gender equality is a given in common thought and in the mechanisms of our social institutions.

When we say “feminist” or “feminism” we are making a political statement, one that highlights the specific bigotry and biases we are trying to address. To dilute this explicit message by concealing it with vague terms is an act of devaluing, denying, and erasing the goals of feminism.

Worldwide, there is a longstanding tradition of disenfranchising women and degrading femininity. While feminism pursues a particular realm of human rights, leaving gender out of the association and call-out when it comes to gender-based issues leads to what we presently see in our society, even among humanists: severe gaps in gender-related analysis.