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Feminism vs. Egalitarianism

real movement is not a subset of abstract philosophy or value

Forum: Reddit (/r/AskFeminists)
Date: 06/12/2012


What are the the major differences between the ideals supported by Feminism and the ideals of Humanism? Perhaps more specifically what Humanist goals are not supported by feminism and what goals of feminism are not supported by humanism?


Feminism has a narrower focus. It's not that gender and the oppression of women is the only thing that ever matters, but It is useful to look at one perspective and one set of problems at a time. If humanism is a book, feminism might be a chapter.

I disagree that feminism ought to be "narrower" or a subset of humanism. Feminism is a philosophy and movement informed by and built from real-life experiences of violence and oppressions, whereas humanism is a philosophy built from abstract reasoning.

...with predictable (problematic) consequences of such approach, I might add.


What are the consequences?

Philosophies of justice that are based on abstract reasoning result in wrong of even lack of priorities. The very existence of a particular kind of "men's rights activists" that work to derail feminism, sometimes even invoking rhetoric of humanism and egalitarianism as superior philosophies, is actually a good example itself.


Can you give me an idea how a majority of feminists would view egalitarianism? Is it seen as a positive stance or something else?

Egalitarianism does not, in its definition, challenge what that state of equality looks like; it is indifferent to that. Liberal feminists are egalitarians because they want to achieve equality between men and women (and plausibly people of other genders), but that is not the only feminist position. (On the other hand, all egalitarians have to be feminist in some sense, because equality of all people requires equality between sexes/genders.) This is similar to the debate within LGBT movement about its goals. Some LGBT activists want to achieve full citizenship rights, including the right to marry or the right to serve in the military. Other activists oppose this view, arguing that assimilation of LGBT individuals to the heteronormative imperial nation-state is not their goal. There is a similar debate within feminism also.