I have had to defend feminism many times from both Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) and from women. I’ve heard such things as “you are are really just a humanist”, “we have equality already”, and “feminism poisons everything”. Yes it’s a word which has become so semantically diffuse and emotions so heightened with “group think” and politics, that what the word means or meant or why it is still relevant today gets lost in the noise. And that’s a shame.
In my 20’s feminism was simple:
“Feminism is theory that men and women should be equal politically, economically and socially.”
How can something this simple a concept become so complicated and controversial? This naturally happens with any group that forms to protect their interests; a small group can infiltrate and use Identity Politic tactics to bring their own agenda to the forefront. Any group. Feminism is simply a logical viewpoint of any sane humanist, if you consider yourself a humanist you are a feminist. It is obvious that at one time women in western society got a very bad deal, but surely it is obvious women in other countries are still getting a bad deal– (and there are still places in the west http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f133/san-francisco-musicians-protest-gender-discrimination-77376.html).
Is it not logical then to work on the core feminist ideals where it is applicable instead of fighting about terms?
As a humanist we have to consider everyone not just women. Do we have to allow ourselves to be divided and conquered? When we stop listening to the pain of others but lash out with our own pain against others, we dehumanize other human beings and lose some of our own humanity.
What can we do about this? I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. All I can do is challenge other people’s preconceptions to try and get them to put themselves in another persons shoes, so they try to understand why they are hurting. Maybe I mostly fail with this, maybe I sound angry but one thing I will never do, is allow an ‘ism to dictate how I treat another human being.
We all get only one life folks, be nice.