Feminism? Humanism? Can't We Have Both?

By: Amaranthia Gittens-Jones, Guest Blogger

I am a humanist. I believe humanism is a movement that can help us to solve many problems in the 21st century. A humanist is someone who believes in solving all human issues. It includes women's rights, men's rights, and civil rights. It involves thinking critically about solving these issues.

Here are the definitions of feminism and humanism:

Feminism: The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. (dictionary.com)

Humanism: Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems. (Google)

I think the issues some people have with the term feminist is because of the root word. Feminine is the root word for feminist. It causes confusion because it seems like the meaning is “only for women.” Recently I saw an article where someone said in a comment they don’t like humanism because it includes the word “man.” Doesn’t the word “woman” include man?

In my opinion, when you say you're a humanist, you're saying you're for everyone's rights (LGBTQ, men, women, children, and people of all races). This always has been my own definition of humanism.

Some may say humanism isn't a movement; it is more of a belief. I always thought of humanism as a movement. I create art and stories including issues related to humanism. I've donated art to humanist movements. My favorite comic/manga artist, Tezuka Osamu, was a humanist. In his comics and animations, he showed his main characters helping others. Some characters were fighting specifically for equal rights. There was always a humanist teaching inherent in his work. I think showing humanist beliefs in this way is a type of movement.

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Humanism for the 21st Century, by Amaranthia Gittens-Jones

Sometimes humanism is defined as not involving religious beliefs. I don’t believe that. Gandhi and Martin Luther King took moral components of Hinduism and Christianity and used them to bring across humanists beliefs. You can take parts of your religion or belief system and use it as a basis to teach humanists principles. Being a humanist is acknowledging these threads from religion that can be used to help others. I believe at the core, most religions are humanistic.

What I've noticed about feminism is that people have to say “intersectional feminism” which includes issues regarding race. We shouldn't have to create a separate branch of feminism to include ethnic groups. Feminism should include people of all races without creating a separate group. I say this from my perspective as an African-American. It is for this reason that I prefer humanism. Some may define themselves as feminists or for equal rights, and that's perfectly fine. For me, humanism fits my view of life perfectly and it helps me to get my message across more effectively.

So many people look down on feminism because of these facts. It’s hard because when you bring up feminism, people might take it the wrong way. I believe feminism and other similar movements are branches of humanism. Feminism is just specific to empowering women. I recognize feminism as a positive movement fighting for women's rights. We need to stop looking down at both movements and recognize the key benefits they bring to our society as we move deeper into the 21st century.

Let's Chat!

What do you think about Amarathia's perspective? How do you define Feminism? Humanism? How do you see these movements working together or are they at odds with one another? How can we respectfully communicate our beliefs?

About Amaranthia:

Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-Jones is 15 years old. She aspires to be a mangaka (manga/comic artist) and graphic artist. In the future, her goal is to finish her graphic novel/fantasy novel Whimsy by the end of high school. Anti-bullying: http://iamproudofwhoiam.com; Art: http://amasepiaworks.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html

 

 

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