The great debate: Feminism vs. Humanism

A friend recently shared an article and asked me to blog about it. Here we go!

The article, titled, “10 Celebrities Who Say They Aren't Feminists,” shared pictures and quotes of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Susan Sarandon who have all given statements about their choice not to identify as feminist. Susan Sarandon, an actress I really enjoy watching, was quoted:

"I think of myself as a humanist because I think it's less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident b--ches and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education, and health care. It's a bit of an old-fashioned word. It's used more in a way to minimize you.”

In reading through these quotes from powerful women, I hearkened back to a soul-searching conversation with a group of philosophy students I moved through college with. One asked me why I identified as feminist rather than humanist. My explanation then and now is that feminism is the lens through which I came to understand oppression and privilege.

Sarandon’s quote, in my humble opinion, tells me that she distances from feminism because of what other people think about it. Just because other people have misconceptions or stereotypes about an identity doesn’t make the platform or experience any less true. Our society is wrought with misperceptions about people who are raped. We don’t just stop talking about it, we educate. We strive to change the culture.

Part of feminism is embracing lived experience and respecting other women’s decisions to live their own experiences. My experience teaches me that this world needs feminism, feminists, and great discourse about identities. It is not until we have dismantled the systematic oppression of one particular gender/identity that we're ready to coast into the platform that everybody should be treated equal. We're not at an equal starting point folks.


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