On Feminism, Humanism, and Priviledge


I promised to share my thoughts on this a while ago. So here it is.

Sometimes I’m inclined to say to some men: “you say feminism like it’s a bad thing. ” Sometimes, sometimes, there are guys who seem to think ‘feminist’ and related words are epithets.

I think such guys are wrong. For them, I’m proud to call myself a Feminist.

However I’m not really a Feminist. This offends some of my Feminist friends; the ones believe that feminism is an unalloyed force for good. These friends actually perceive humanism and feminism as synonyms and any hint that sometimes people who label themselves as ‘feminist’ are being sexist themselves or pursuing advantage or self interest is insulting to them. I still persist in calling myself a humanist. People are people and NO interest group is without those who have extreme agendas or who merely are seeking unilateral advancement.

A strongly feminist transman I know, is one of those offended by the term humanist. Perhaps less so, since he was shocked by the misandry and transphobia expressed by some women who write under the label ‘radical feminist’. Still just the same, at the time of the conversation I’m recalling this young angry man was one of the feminist true believers. I never did get to explain that when I appeared to … view some of his opinions with amusement, I was more likely being ageist rather than sexist. I’ve gotten older and more cynical and experience has taught that some women will never view a man or even a transwoman as an ally. Perhaps you could say that those women aren’t real feminists but unfortunately that risks the ‘no true scotsman’ fallacy. So lets just say that in my opinion feminism isn’t always on the same side as humanism (though we can often be strong allies).

Male Privileges exist. So do female ones. and ones for any local or widespread demographic. When working construction crews you might seriously consider talking about Turkish or Italian privilege. There are, even in this polyglot city places and times where you will get the shaft if don’t speak some language other than the two official ones. Does that mean feminism has achieved its mandate? I think not. but that’s me.

Having taken a high heeled step towards the outer edge of the ‘circle of privilege’, and while ‘passing white’ actually being biracial my opinions on racial and gender based privilege might different from others. Still, most transmen report having more respect, personal space, attention paid to their words than when they were female. Likewise, one unconscious, and universal thing I’ve noticed is the neither men nor women yield to other women in foot traffic. I USED to walk in straight lines and didn’t even know others were yielding to me until they stopped. Now I serpentine through crowds and clobbered a lot more often by other ladies’ purses. Privilege is real and present in our unconscious behaviour. However, Females do get some privileges too. Are they enough to dilute the gasoline that fuels the feminist fire?

I’ll talk more later. This post has waited long enough.

more to follow.