An individual’s ability to be called a Humanist is defined by their advocacy of Humanism, so what is humanism? Is Feminism a fraudulent ideology? Well, your friendly neighborhood South Delhi boy might believe so! And to counter his emasculate argument he will question “do women need feminism?”, with his vices, you might even spot a privileged girl seeking to explain “NO, it’s a faux unity created by urban women for superiority and all that rural women care about is roti, kapda aur makaan”.
Starting with the basic because people need to understand what are alphabets to us them as letters. Feminism and Humanism are both ideologies, to be more precise for our avid learners, ideologies are defined by their action statement. An ideology only passes as an ideology when the set of ideas that produce it not only devise an action plan for a fundamentally oriented system but also a justification as to why should that system be followed.
Feminism is not called Humanism because these are two distinct theories. (TWO DISTINCT, i.e., with different narratives and notions) When Humanism is a branch of philosophy and ethics that advocates for equality, tolerance, and secularism. It recognizes that human beings do not “require” religion to develop moral systems or behave morally. More simply, Humanism is the theory that humans are allowed to use logic to decide what is ethical instead of using a higher power to define for them. Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. It specifically focuses on the equality (emphasis on equality) of sexes which boils down to ending gender discrimination and bringing about gender equality.
Now when the issues relating to the obvious meaning of terms have been tackled we are faced with another important question of the decade. “Why is it called feminism?” again, quite enthralling. The answer to this is the salience of Feminism. This ideology sprung during the 19th century as an upholding context to the Suffragette Movement, it was coined by a man (emphasis on man) Charles Fourier, a utopian socialist. Yes, it is important not only to show that the term women back in the 1800s used for themselves was deemed unacceptable but to also propagate that it was a man who first understood the essence of feminism. The initial doctrine of feminism started with seeking gender equality in political, economic, and social terms. Women fought for their rights to vote, own property, marry, abort, and to-not-be owned as a commodity. It was focused on one gender, the upliftment of the ‘second sex‘, some people saw this revival from suppression as an oppressive movement on them which again led to numerous waves of feminism.
Now Feminism wasn’t just confined to women but soon it was gathered that in this fight against patriarchy and misogyny, men are at the vile end as well. This lead to the practice of modern-day Feminism of not only helping women out of the webs of discrimination but also men from the hands of toxic-masculinity. Hence, it is only fair to the suffragettes that we keep on calling this enormous movement Feminism as it instills the values they began their fight with. In the same context, we, unfortunately, can not use other prominent ideologies such as Humanism or Egalitarianism to propel the doctrines of Feminism because they are different ideologies with a distinct school of ideas (in a simple sense these names are already taken).
Subsequently, Feminism is needed for the upliftment of all women still suffering in the hands of patriarchy, and even if you come across a woman from a rural background that seems to just be concerned about roti, kapda aur makaan, its a kind request that you ask her if she has ever felt used, undesirable, been discriminated or been assaulted only because she was a woman. If the answer is “yes“, you know what to Google. And if you somehow still feel that Feminism is not something to be aligned with here’s a quote by Arundhati Roy to favor your statement.
“Cool, young women who say they are not feminists. If you’re not a feminist, go back into your veil, sit in the kitchen and take instructions. You don’t want to do that? Thank the feminists.“
Author's Disclaimer: This article is solely written for educational purposes and has no intention to hurt anyone's practicality.
Amber is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Malaika M Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.