Feminism Vs. Humanism

Jessica Mahmoud Marching with MSU at NYC Pride 2016. Photo Courtesy MSU LGBTQ Center.

“I am a feminist and to me that means that regardless of your gender identity or any other identity you should be treated the same,” said Jessica Mahmoud, a Senior Journalism Major with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies Minor at Montclair State University.

For many individuals, they do not want to identify as a feminist because they either do not understand the movement, do not like that it has “fem” in the title, or both. “I would consider myself a humanist..I don’t know a whole lot about it (feminism) but it focuses on the side of women instead of everyone. I believe that everyone is created equal, we are all human beings and we are all equal, racially, by sex, by orientation, by anything, we are all human beings,” Alec Schlotfeldt, an Undecided Sophomore at Montclair State University.

Both of these students virtually have the same beliefs but decide to identify with different terms. Both Mahmoud and Schlotfeldt want the same thing, equality for all. It is hard to fight for a movement using two different terms, it’s hard to be united when the group is divided.

“The reason why it’s called feminism while advocating for gender equality is because females are the gender that are the underprivileged, underserved gender,” Shives says in his video response. “You attain gender equality by advocating for the rights of the underprivileged gender,” said Steve Shives, a feminist blogger.

There are different standards and expectations set in society regarding men and women, it is a clear binary difference. “I think about dress codes, there was a news article where a girl didn’t wear a bra to school and there was a problem with her teachers. They said they were distracted. I used to wear makeup, I don’t anymore, it’s kind of like putting on a face and people will look a lot different and comments are made and it’s insulting in a way by saying ‘wow you should of put on makeup.’ Shaving goes into socialization and it has become a belief with how we should look and what we should do with our bodies. And people will react if i don’t, I could write a whole article about what happened when I didn’t shave for a week because it’s such a big deal to people,” said Mahmoud.

“I didn’t start wearing more casual, comfortable clothes until I got involved in feminism and LGBTQ stuff because I realized it’s not as important for people to care what I think, before that I was more into fashion and wore makeup and heels and would be freezing cold in tights and once I got involved with feminism, LGBTQ studies and activism I changed and that relates back to gender expression which is cool,” said Mahmoud.

Even though Schlotfeldt is a Humanist he agrees with feminists regarding society’s expectations with women, “It’s stupid, why should women have to aesthetically please anyone. I don’t go by gender, I go by human beings, if I think they are attractive, nice person, then I’ll want to go out with them, there shouldn’t be expectations based off of gender. For example it’s humanly kind to hold the door open, its kind to recycle and be kind to one another”.

A 2013 Huffington Post/YouGov poll showed that only “23 percent of women and 16 percent of men consider themselves feminists — even though 82 percent of both genders believe ‘men and women should be social, political, and economic equals.’”

Feminism is about bringing women up and not tearing men down, society needs to provide women with the right tools to be equal.

Overall, whatever term you use, “We are all created equal and we all deserve the same thing, it shouldn’t be based on gender,” said Schlotfeldt.

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