Thursday, April 12, 2007

FAQ: Why "feminism" and not just "humanism"? Or "equalism"? Isn't saying you're a feminist exclusionary?

This question implies that one must be either one or the other. People and philosophies are far more complicated than that. A feminist may also be both a humanist and an equalist.

There's no law that says only one box can be ticked here, and it's hugely important not to get sucked into thinking that one choice excludes the others. A major reason that most populist debate in the corporate media (and in online forums too) is a pitiful sham is that way too many questions are argued on an either/or basis, instead of acknowledging the probability of a both/and stance. The either/or method of framing a debate is technically referred to as a "false dilemma" [more], and is one example of a logical fallacy.

As to why feminism requires a distinct agenda within the equalist movements? The special and distinct problem of misogyny both oppressing and directly harming women, pure and simple. Unless misogyny is directly addressed and acted against, general equalist activism will not be enough. [FAQs: Does feminism matter? and Isn't feminism just "victim politics"?]

P.S. It's also a good idea when throwing around the term "humanist" to make sure that one's audience is on the same page about exactly what you mean.



Andrea Rubenstein (Official Blog): Why “feminism”?

Colleen Wainwright (Communicatrix): ¡Feminista!

Clarifying Concepts:

More on Either/Or and Feminisms
We’re not either/or thinkers here, but both/and thinkers. I am neither a liberal feminist who supports only attacking power by going after its underpinning through the courts and through legislation nor a radical feminist who wants to address how oppression is lived out in the day-to-day. I’m both. Without focusing on how sexism and heterosexism permeates our very existence, attacks our very way of thinking and our daily existence, it’s far, far easier for people to not care because it’s someone else’s problem. But, as I state firmly in this post, it everyone’s problem.
[Amanda Marcotte, in comments to a Blog Against Heteronormativity post at Pandagon]

Lauren (Faux Real Tho): On Feminism and Attractiveness

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