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Why 'feminism'? Why not 'humanism' or 'egalitarianism'?

By Edited Jan 1, 2014 1 1

  • If feminists want equality, shouldn't they want it for men as well?
  • What about men and their inequalities? Men suffer under the Patriarchy too!
  • Why "feminism"? Why not "humanism" or "egalitarianism"?
  • But what about the men?

Why feminism, not humanism?
These are questions that frequently come up in discussions on feminism and women's rights. If women want "true equality", shouldn't they strive to make things equal for everyone, including righting of the wrongs done to males? For instance, men are looked down on for entering traditionally "female" professions, such as teaching and nursing. Why doesn't feminism address ALL issues, instead of primarily female-oriented ones?

The discrimination and issues that women face far outnumber and outweigh the issues that men face. Feminism does not seek, however, to discount the issues that men face. The focus is simply on women, the specific issues that women face, and the issues that tend to affect women more than men. It is not that feminists are seeking to elevate women above men; they simply want to level the playing field.

To use an analogy, black people face discrimination on a regular basis. Many blacks actively fight this discrimination by focusing on the way it affects black people. They want equality for themselves, but this does not mean they wish to elevate themselves above white people. It does not mean that they don't recognize that other minorities, such as Native Americans, face discrimination. The focus is simply on blacks. Blacks face similar, but different, issues than what other minorities face and they thus address their specific issues.

The same can be said about feminism. It's not that feminists don't recognize that other people face discrimination and stereotyping. The focus, however, is on females. In other words, feminism is a specific component of humanism and egalitarianism. One does not exclude the other.



Jun 2, 2010 9:44am
Excellent article. Feminists are about eliminating discrimination, which is why so many join GLBTQ members and racial minorities in the trenches of their fight for equality as well. Intersectionality is real!
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