Pretend humanism

Merrill Miller at The Humanist:

Recently, certain individuals have appropriated the term “humanism” in an attempt to legitimize their anti-women, anti-feminist message. Masquerading as “activists” for men’s rights, these people do not concern themselves with serious problems faced by men in the United States today such as the disproportionately high incarceration rates for Black men or the shocking percentage of workplace injuries that lead to fatalities for male workers. Instead, they spout regressive, sexist views on the Internet that blame feminism and women for society’s ills while promoting a version of masculinity that applauds men who can coerce women into dating and having sex with them.

It’s a popular catch-phrase for anti-feminists – “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.” (It was depressing to see that Meryl Streep said it the other day.) It’s another “All Lives Matter.” Rights for all; yes indeed, good plan; the fact remains that women are a subordinate class in relation to men, and that has not been fully overturned yet, to put it mildly.

One Facebook group, Humanists United Against Feminism, claims that the majority of women who reported being raped are making false accusations to gain attention, even though research shows that only 2 to 8 percent of reported rapes are false accusations—comparable with the rates of false reporting for other crimes. Another Facebook group, Exposing Feminism, dismisses feminism as “female superiority nonsense,” contrary to the definition of feminism, which is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” and “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” Yet another, A Voice for Men: Humanist Counter-Theory, blames women for rape and for the gender wage gap, a pay discrepancy shown by research from many reputable organizations to be the result of societal perceptions of women workers and not the result of individual women’s choices.

It’s not real humanism, it’s fake humanism, mask humanism, gotcha humanism.

While these groups may at first seem ridiculous, humanists should not dismiss them completely, largely because they are attempting to claim the term “humanism” to promote their anti-women agendas. Humanists should also be concerned because, even though there are individuals in the Men’s Rights Movement who identify as religious, many also identify as atheists, agnostics or nonreligious. While atheists and humanists are often quick to rightly criticize the sexism of the religious right, the vitriol spewed towards women by nonreligious men’s rights activists (MRAs) should also be a wake-up call to combat sexism within the secular community.

That’s been obvious for at least the past more-than-four years, but whatever.

Humanists—real humanists who actively promote human rights for all and equality for women—must be vigilant in defining what the humanist philosophy really is—as well as what it is not. Humanism is most certainly inclusive of feminism, and the American Humanist Association’s Feminist Caucus is an example of individuals of all genders and gender identities who identify as both humanists and feminists working toward women’s equality. The American Humanist Association will continue to defend women’s rights, especially from frequent attacks by the religious right to prevent access to necessary reproductive healthcare such as sexual education, contraception, and abortion. But threats to women’s rights are now also coming from people who claim to be humanists, though the views they hold run contrary to the humanist philosophy. Humanists must not let MRAs dictate the conversations surrounding humanism and feminism. Instead, we must continue our longstanding tradition of working toward women’s equality and affirming solidarity with the feminist movement.

Sounds good to me.

Don’t read the comments.

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