>One of the many reasons I love Husband is that we have a variety of interesting conversations. Sometimes they are about farting. Other times they are about work, friends, family, and/or whatever is happening in our lives. Many times we discuss sports and politics. Once in awhile, we debate philosophical differences.*
Yesterday I wrote on BlogHer about the case of a woman in Saudi Arabia who was gang raped by seven men. Her husband bravely encouraged her to press charges (which led her brother to try and kill her) and while the men were convicted and sentenced to prison, the woman was also sentenced to 90 lashes for going out in public with a man who was not her legal guardian. Her lawyer, a famous human rights advocate, fairly protested that it is absurd and wrong to punish a woman who was gang raped. World attention and pressure ensued. The authorities responded by increasing her punishment to 200 lashes and six months in prison, claiming that she confessed to having an affair. More outrage from the civilized world thus far has not made any difference.
After I wrote the essay, I was depressed. Somehow this led Husband and I to discuss the difference between feminism and humanism. If feminism is, at root, a belief that women and men deserve equal human rights (which is how I define feminism), how is that different from humanism, which is essentially that all people have basic human rights? Husband felt that because feminism (by necessity) primarily focuses on the rights of women, it is easily manipulated by conservatives and right-wing lunatics into a movement that tries to put women above men. Thus we get a lot of bad publicity and all manner of people saying things like, "I'm not a feminist, but I believe that women and men are equal." For example, a humanist will point out that domestic violence is wrong. A feminist will note that, according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 85% of victims of intimate partner violence are women and 15% of victims are men. As a result, feminists focus on women first and demand that the resources proportionally go to women victims. It's not that we dismiss violence against men, its just that we look at the history of violence against partners and statistics and demand that women get help in proportion to the situation. Some (like Husband the Humanist) would say that because there are not enough resources to go around, insisting that women get priority denies male victims, who are even further stigmatized by partner violence than women because they fail to meet masculine stereotypes of being strong, the resources they need, and thus does not treat men and women equally.
It's an interesting discussion. What do you think?**
*Many times these discussions end with me shouting, but not always.
**And if you write about this on your blogs, put a link in the comments, because I'd like to explore this humanism-feminism topic more in depth at BlogHer on Thursday.