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The Contender
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Humanism > Feminism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,135 times Debate No: 63064
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)




Good day, reader! As you can see, this debate is about how Humanism is a better and overall more morally just ideology then Feminism. I make this claim considering myself as a humanist and someone who particularly doesn't like the modern-day feminist actions or some of their ideals. I constantly find myself while arguing with them to say this or something along these lines:

"So, you think that men need to be taught not to rape? How about, not teach ANYONE to rape? Both genders can rape. All races can rape. All sexual orientations can rape. It's not that defined in males. Don't you think it would be a better alternative to explain why rape is morally unjust to EVERYONE? So everyone can then understand that?"

Because that's how I honestly think about it. Humanism is an ideology I think that is more fitting, but also because in Humanism, skeptical inquiry and criticism are beyond welcome. Feminism seems to just let a lot fly as long as it goes under the banner of feminism. Just this morning I saw a debate that said "Men accused of rape should be castrated." Not even proven to have raped, just ACCUSED. That's just making whoever is accused guilty until proven innocent and, need I mention that is a harsh punishment? I feel its sad I have to show why this is wrong, but while we're at it lets make the death penalty for people ACCUSED of murder. Moving on.

I won't go in deep, but that is my general claim. Humanism is a better ideology to possess then Feminism because it has an open mind, it is open to free criticism, in Feminism most people I've seen who oppose the movement are instantly labeled misogynists, and it covers the philosophies and issues of all races, genders and sexual orientations out there. It tries to say that humanity is equal, and we need to put aside our differences and realize that all of us individually have our own prejudices for whoever we are. And instead of placing the blame on others, we need to place the blame on ourselves and be responsible, striving to teach and educate on why in the vast and strange reality we live in, we at least need to accept each other. Life is one big team effort. Thank you for reading, and good luck.


I accept this challenge.
I will not be trying to argue that Feminism is greater than Humanism, instead I will be showing how they are equal and are essentially the same thing.

First I will define terms so that we are on the same page:

Feminism [1]- the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men

Humanism [2]- an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

Based on these definitions, we can already see a conflict with the scope both words are used for. One, Feminism, is more of a social construct while Humanism deals with humanity on a whole in a rational way.

Pro's attempt at combining the two tells me that they believe Feminism is the assertion that women should be dominate and that Humanism is the belief in equality of all humans. In order to continue the argument in a rational way, I will address their belief about feminism.

Feminism was an idea built on the notion that women have not been treated equally to men for quite a long time. They tend to point towards the subjects of Economic Opportunities, Social Expectations, and Sexual Expectations.

Economic Opportunities- Simply put, women have not been afforded the same economic opportunities has their male counterparts for, at the very least, several centuries. They have been expected to only perform "woman" duties such as taking care of the house, the children, and the husbands needs even above their own. The notion of a working woman without a man to support her was an outrageous idea for quite a long time, and it still exists. Many anti-feminist's try and assert that because men are on average, physically stronger, physically bigger, and practically smarter (Practical being used to mean such things as Mathematics or Physical labor), they are more equipped to work and provide income than women. Feminism seeks to get rid of this idea that women are not suited to the same jobs that men have and there have been great successes so far, but there are still areas where a man would be chosen over a woman simply because she is a woman. Physical Labor jobs, running a corporation, holding a governmental position, etc. The pay of the women that DO work in the same areas as men are often lower [3] for no other reason than because of the gender difference.

Social Expectations- Socially, women are expected to be emotional, irrational, physically incompetent, small, beautiful, and accepting. The more a woman go against these expectations, the more man-like she will appear, because of the notion that the opposite qualities are reserved for men only. A woman that likes to wear hats, jeans, no make-up, sneakers, and short hair will often be called a "tom-boy" in reference to her man-like, and thus un-ladylike, appearance. Women are essentially placed into a box of expectations and are ridiculed or defeminated, if they try to step out of that box. Yes, men have their own box, but that isn't the subject of this debate. Often, you will hear men say, "A man and a woman can't be real friends like two men can, because there will eventually be sexual feelings between the two". This, along with variations of that, are an example of the stereotype that have been infused within our society, so much so that men will often act in ways that are offensive toward women without ever realizing it; such as opening doors for them or assuming that they should carry the groceries. The social aspects of sexism towards women is a constant and complex battle with many variables to consider.

Sexual Expectations- On average, women are expected to be sexy and to define their outward appearance to be a pleasing sight. A woman is looked down upon if she doesn't meet the criteria set by society, resulting in women being obsessed with their beauty. A woman is considered unattractive if she is: Fatter than acceptable, more muscular than acceptable, taller than acceptable, skinnier than acceptable, shorter than acceptable, etc. The narrow definition of what society views as "beautiful" forces women to try and conform to this almost impossible standard, lest they be considered ugly and distasteful looking. The result of this have been, overall, disastrous on both the physiological and emotional levels of the average woman. Evidence for this can be found when looking at the vast array of diet plans aimed almost exclusively at women, the vast array of make-up products, of age defying products, of clothing products, and many more. Women are expected to believe that if they don't strive to meet societies criteria of beauty, they are flawed and not being very lady-like. All of this beauty obsessed culture leads to the expectations of women in the dating and sexual scene. Women are typically expected to be demure and secretive with their sexual desires, they are expected to sit back and be courted by men. They are to be the prize men win after a lengthy competition with other men and the woman should save herself for the man that wins her over. In the bedroom, she is expected to be passive and giving, subservient to her man and willing to put his needs above her own. This can be seen when you notice that men typically will try and ejaculate first without ever thinking that the woman needs a release of her own.

Feminism is not women hating on men and trying to be dominant, feminism is women trying to show men how they have been mistreated and that they demand to be treated equal to men in all regards, something which women do deserve. Hopefully this will show you how your definition of humanist coincides with what feminism really is. Sure, there are women who take it too far and believe feminism is about hating and insulting men, but they are the outliers and do not represent the feminist movement as a whole.

Debate Round No. 1


Excellent, thank you for accepting the debate. I agree with your definitions.

Humanism is a social construct. It was crafted during the Renaissance as a social construct, a new one made following the medieval ages by the people post dark ages. Humanism only has its meaning because we gave it its meaning just like Feminism was given its meaning.

Well, no, I don't believe that Feminism is the belief that women should dominate men. I agree with your definition of it absolutely. By the way, if the reader would like to know, I usually discuss paragraph by paragraph of the opponent, so that is how you can know the pattern. Nice and simple.

Yes it was.

There is a lot of debates out there as to this. I personally sit on the fence about this issue, and, as a humanist, I always say "Well hey, Humanism addresses the issues of both men and women economically. Why focus on one when we can focus on all groups plights? Females aren't the only discriminated ones, each and every group of people has their own discrimination they face. Why not help it all? Women aren't the only ones who are prejudiced against."

Now this is an issue I kind of don't sit on the fence about. Yes, it is a stereotype of females that is and isn't followed depending on each individual person. But, for example, men are expected to be strong, emotionless, logical, physically competent, large, handsome and confident. African Americans are expected to be tall, athletic, ghetto, aggressive. Americans are seen as fat, lazy, prideful, greedy, stupid, always partying and being crude. Russians are seen as always drinking whiskey. You see, every group faces their own prejudices. A man that decides to wear more feminine articles of clothing is considered a tom-girl and thus un-masculine. Men have been essentially placed into a box of expectations- You see where I am getting at. You may think this doesn't have much to do with the debate, but it shows how it in fact is. I am saying that each and every group faces their own prejudices. Feminism covers one group. Humanism covers them all. Equality for all. By the way, I open doors for men and women equally. Does that make me a misogynist and a sexist at the same time?

I feel it is rather tedious to use the same argument as my last paragraph, but men are met with similar expectations. You probably know the examples I am going to give out, the exact opposite of yours, so I won't much bother. In fact, as I read through this I believe you fail to acknowledge that men are met with several of their own expectations in regards to sexual activities. If you want examples feel free to ask.

I agree that feminism is not women hating on men and trying to be dominant, I agree fully with your definition. The thing is, I believe that Humanism is simply better then Feminism. Also, may I mention that individuals still make up part of it. It may be a tumor to feminism metaphorically to you. So, if that is the case, then I would suggest then "Feminism as a whole" go and attempt to have some internal debates as well. Extreme feminists, as I mentioned seem to have no one objecting to their words within the system of Feminism. Also, have you ever met an extremist humanist? I sure haven't. A pleasure debating you, by the way,


When we view these two terms in the same light and context as you describe, feminism seems to be exclusionary. It focuses solely on women, and in it's attempt at empowering women so they don't feel like the victims, turns around and makes them the victims of a supposed "Patriarchy". Within these boundaries, it would seem that feminism is a circular argument with selfish goals.

But this is only due to the way inequality is handled within the United States and, possibly, the world as a whole. It is equivalent to the way laws are handled, we don't have a way of dealing with a situation until we are faced with that situation, so if you do something that isn't against the law, but it should be, you won't be punished for it. Racism, for the longest time, was considered a holy and correct thing to do. Even when slavery ended, black hatred stayed around because it was commonly accepted that blacks were lower class citizens, and some even believed that blacks were lower forms of humans. Today, for the most part, these ideas would be shockingly racist and hateful, especially now that America has a black president. However, these ideas would likely have never been scrutinized if black people never rose up to defend themselves. It would still be a perfectly normal thing to do to throw rocks into their house windows or beat them up in the street simply because racist parents where teaching their children to think like them, and the children seeing the way blacks are treated, accept this way of thinking as a fact of life. Now, not all children of the times grew up to hate blacks and some even joined the black marches and defended blacks whenever they could, but those types of people were rare compared to the amount of racists on the opposition side. The need to maintain a "status quo" and not get ridiculed by their fellow peers kept far too many secret anti-racists from speaking out, mostly because they didn't know they could.

Now, I could have been talking about any type of inequality topic with a few replacement of words. This is because each movement of unequaled people has followed a similar path that was originally blazed by blacks (talking mostly about America right now). Women's rights, Gay rights, Religious rights, Black rights, etc. Each of these groups have had their own extremist sections, such as the blacks Black Panthers, but those groups have done almost nothing to slow down the equalizing of the original movement. They were mostly ignored and treated as outliers by the more moderate activists, often saying, "These people don't represent our cause". Muslims is another example of extremists within their community being the most outspoken and violent of the Islamic cause, making some people have distorted views about what Islam is for and what Muslims's want. The same can be said for Christianity when viewing Fundamentalist Christians as the extreme section of the belief. The impact each of the extremist sections has on the views of the people they supposedly represent is entirely on the person who is trying to make an opinion about them. If everyone viewed the Black Panthers as the face of the civil rights movement, MLK Jr would have been waved off and forgotten about as an extremist idealist, but because there were enough people willing to listen to what he had to say, it was clear to most what the original intention of the movement was and that it was an issue that needed to be addressed peacefully.

The point I'm making here is that change doesn't happen over night. Not everyone is aware that there is a problem to be sorted out simply because it isn't a factor in their daily lives. Meat processing is a newish issue that was never thought about as an actual problem until people started looking at the way the cows were being treated and that they, shockingly enough, had to be slaughtered to garner their meat. Now it's in everyone's lives that we mass produce meat to keep up with demand to the detriment of the cows and Vegans have sprung up from that information. It wasn't a problem before because no one thought about it. Someone had to say something, to make a video or documentary, someone had to stand up for animal rights and bring the issue to the public eye.

We can say all day how everyone should be treated equally and no one should be excluded from this, but we don't actually know what the problems are until they are pointed out. In the Islamic religion, women are subjugated by men simply because their book tells them it's what their supposed to do. Now, the Muslim women have a problem; continue to be subjugated and keep their religion, or be free women and lose their faith. Anytime you see a Muslim woman with her head covered, no matter how free she looks, she has chosen to continue with her religion and to accept that her head should be covered, because she is a woman. She has chosen religious freedom over her right to wear whatever she wants because that is how her priorities have been set. There is no middle ground she can reach to be equal in both aspects because her beliefs prevent it.

Feminism, non-extremist feminism, is simply women standing up and saying, "We have been mistreated by men and we demand equality". Now that the feminist movement has started, people are now aware that there is a problem within the status quo. The only way the public will ever see that men are also being mistreated by women, on occasion because it certainly isn't that often, is by standing up and speaking out about it. Men actually have a harder time of doing this because we are not supposed to be victims, we are not supposed to complain about our situation because, as men, we are supposed to fix the problem. The fact that men can't complain will never be considered a debatable issue until the public sees it as one, and the only way to get the publics attention is to cause a ruckus.

As nice as it would be for equality to be a clear and obvious term, it just isn't. Humans don't think that way, we would rather live our lives peacefully and blissfully ignorant of what's going on around us, as long as everything seems hunky-dory. We even invented a word for it, Normal. As long as everything is Normal, there isn't any problems, as soon as we realize there is a problem within our normality, we do whatever we can to fix that problem so we can go back to our previous state. It's up to those who feel victimized and hurt by normal to speak out against it, otherwise, everything just seems... Normal.
Debate Round No. 2


I'm rather confused by what you are saying here, but I will only assume you are talking about how I speak of feminism. Are you telling me that is what you think about Feminism in that paragraph?

No, no, we were talking about the wages of men and women, and all I was saying is that I think its better to confront the wage gap of everyone as equals instead of just women. Since Feminism just focuses only on one and blames males for pretty bad things if you think about it. Patriarchy, misogyny, and responsible in general for a lot of things. Mind you, this isn't what Feminism says it does, but really, the source of their problems they all generally agree is the fault of men. Humanism puts the fault onto typical human nature. Because it pretty much is that if you go to the natural roots, we as a species are at fault for the prejudices we've made on others. What Feminism fails to realize is that even their own gender criticizes it. Does that not say anything of Feminism and the comparison you are trying to make it to racism?

Now, I do dearly apologize and I am going to willingly accept this will come to the detriment of my score, but it is late and there is only five hours left to post this. I must be getting to bed soon. So I will just comment on what I found most interesting skimming through, which was your last paragraph.

"As nice as it would be for equality to be a clear and obvious term, it just isn't. Humans don't think that way, we would rather live our lives peacefully and blissfully ignorant of what's going on around us, as long as everything seems hunky-dory. We even invented a word for it, Normal. As long as everything is Normal, there isn't any problems, as soon as we realize there is a problem within our normality, we do whatever we can to fix that problem so we can go back to our previous state. It's up to those who feel victimized and hurt by normal to speak out against it, otherwise, everything just seems... Normal."

I have had this even told me by some members of my family. That my ideal of humanity just isn't realistic. That it isn't compatible with modern-day standards. But you know what, you know how they say history is doomed to repeat itself? I believe it is also blessed to repeat itself. Another renaissance-type era would benefit the human species greatly. The advancements in not only technology but philosophy was great. And it may seem hopeless now, but I personally believe that if I keep my beliefs, if I have faith that humanity can one day learn that we must join together as a team, not playing a large blame game between the groups of people. I tire of hearing those that say "Oh, this group of people is responsible for the faults of society." I tire of hearing the blame putting on others and not within ourselves. To instead perhaps strive to solve, not to blame. To better, not to degrade. I may be ambitious in my goals but I do honestly believe these things. That humanity can be better. And humanity can persevere. Goodnight, and I acknowledge this argument is on a wing and a prayer and it may not make sense. I hope it does though.


I sincerely apologize if my argument didn't make much sense. I have a habit of turning ideas into long-winded walls of text so I will explain it more reasonably here.
My comparison of racism to sexism is based on the notion that we don't really know what a problem is until it becomes a problem. We live our lives without worrying about what ills other people are exposed to until it starts to affect us directly or indirectly. It doesn't matter if Feminists are correct or incorrect in their assumptions of their being unequal to men, what matters is that they felt the need to speak up about it so that society will possibly open their eyes to a potential problem. If they didn't, society would be non-the-wiser about a potential problem. This applies for ALL problems, not just sexism.

All of the problems feminist's claim to have are directed towards men because it is men that they blame for the source of the problems. If the problem is to be addressed, then it is men who must realize what's going on and to work with women on fixing the problem. So it is, in essence, the humanitarian action that you would want. Even if men are not the true source of women's problems, it's just a technical issue as it still raises awareness of women's rights and the expectations placed upon them. All publicity is good publicity sort of thing.

I do agree with you that humanity should focus on solving our problems as quickly as possible without placing blame or pointing fingers. The blame game is one that I deeply despise since it solves nothing and only creates conflict. However, women who talk about the social issues they face are often told to stop complaining or stop blaming men for all their problems and most of the time, that isn't a fair thing to say. If they don't speak up, no one will know.

As easy as it is to say we should deal with social issues as an equal society, we must first become an equal society. It isn't impossible either, it will just take these types of movements to slowly change our global society into a better one. What you want will happen eventually, maybe on a smaller scale, but it will, we just have to keep encouraging people to speak up and be heard so the hidden problems can surface now, rather than later.

I thank my opponent for this interesting debate. Hopefully I was able to show how Feminism (at it's heart) at least leads to their definition of Humanism, if it is not already apart of it.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
I agree that it was a good one, but I think we were firing at different targets and didn't realize it. I personally take most of the blame since I took on the debate. I also don't think I made my points as clearly as I could have, which might make the debate more confusing than it should be. If so, I apologize.
Posted by A_Flying_Toaster 2 years ago
I appreciate your input. Good debate. My bad also for my final argument. It was shoddy.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
Pro had the burden of proof in this debate. The debate was slightly difficult to follow because it wasn"t very carefully structured. There were no real moral arguments in the debate, although Pro did say that he considers humanism to be more morally just. I get the feeling that if the debate had moved in that direction, Con would have had an easier job.

Pro began with one mistake: He treated humanism as an ideology, and feminism as the sum total of the actions of people he considered "feminists". This failure to address both concepts from the same perspective (either as an ideology or based on the actions of those that subscribe to it) was wisely picked up by Con. Con decided to define both concepts theoretically, and Pro, having not defined them himself, had to accept these definitions. Pro clarified later, though, that he agreed with Pro"s definitions.

The crux of Pro"s argument was this: Humanism focuses on equality and ensuring that humans live free from discrimination. Feminism, on the other hand, focuses only on the rights of women. Since humanism pursues the well-being of a larger and less-arbitrary group of people, it is the stronger ideology.

I found this argument very convincing because it is true that feminism is rather exclusionary. This is especially so, given that certain problems such as social expectations are faced by men as well, as Pro pointed out. (1/3)
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
Con argued that feminism is not, in fact, selfish; it is a legitimate movement that seeks to correct the inequality between the rights of men and women. He emphasized that the world is ignorant to the problems that women have to go through, and that women have historically had a harder time than men do. This being the case, it is necessary to fight for the rights of women over the rights of men. (Basically women have it worse, so it"s necessary to fight for their rights) This argument wasn"t entirely clear (I had to read it a few times), but it was convincing. Two things I think could have improved this argument: I think Con could have been a little clearer: based on my understanding, Con is arguing that there is an inequality between the rights of men and women, and addressing their rights together won"t work. Women"s rights must be addressed on their own. I would also have liked to see an argument on how the achievement of feminist ideals leads to the betterment of humanity as a whole, though. It would have served to merge them with humanist ideals and would have strengthened Con"s argument.

I thought that this was a strong point, but it appears that Pro did not pick it up. The rest of the debate didn"t make a whole lot of sense. I would have preferred that both debaters summarized their arguments in the final round before concluding. (2/3)
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
A problem I had with both debaters is that neither seemed to fully grasp that humanism and feminism are inextricably interdependent. The definition: "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men". This literally is gender equality on all the grounds mentioned. Pro made many arguments on how men"s rights should be considered as well. Well, based purely on the definition, feminism would have failed if they gain, for example, greater social acceptance than men, because that creates an inequality between their rights. If Con had pointed this out, he would likely have won the debate, because it defies the crux of Pro"s argument.

On the whole, I thought that both debaters put good effort into their arguments. It is a tie in terms of arguments for me. Only Con used sources. (3/3)
Posted by Feroste 2 years ago
It's not so much a group against the opposition, contrary to how many radical feminist act like it is. Feminism and Masculism (It's not masculism but the MRM, masculism is anti feminist =/) and groups like the NAACP exist now days more to talk about their issues and get support, not to group up and lash out.

Yes there is nothing stopping a woman from grabbing a baseball bat and beating her husband upside the head for abusing her day after day. Feminism helps to guide that woman to stand up for herself, radical feminist will point to all men (opposition) and call us all misogynist and that we need to learn not to rape ect. even if you're the one being beaten by your wife (probably not but to prove a point).

Men have their group for their issues.

And yes when a big issue comes up that affects ALL of a group that group should speak out as a whole against it. but gender roles are not part of the "patriarchy" they are a result of sexual dimorphism. That seems to be the only real issue feminist try to fight these days and once again the radicals blame it on men (the opposite side of the coin). When really it's a fundamental principle.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
If it has, then that would be my mistake for posting the source without confirming its truth. At the moment I am just repeating the claims made by feminists to show their intention, whether their information is correct or not. I don't actually agree with the idea of creating a group to combat a problem, because it justifies the grouping of an opposition. Basically saying, "You have a group against women? Well my group is FOR women". Essentially placing both groups on equal terms. Instead, I think that Misogynists should just be ignored and treated like the brutes they are. If they disrespect women, the woman who is disrespected should stand up for herself. If a woman doesn't think she is getting equal pay, she needs to take the case to court. But, I do know that the intention of feminism is to be treated equally, and not better. So if you see a feminist get into a fight, treat her equally like you would another man, let her fight her own battles even if she gets beaten down... >.> I'm joking, don't do that, save the b!tch, whether she likes it or not.
Posted by A_Flying_Toaster 2 years ago
Agreed Feroste, but Humanism bears a lot of simalarities, in my opinion actually shared with Egalitarian views.
Posted by Feroste 2 years ago
I think you are actually trying to argue an egalitarian viewpoint, not humanist. I would agree modern feminism is a bit poisoned with radicals.

I think the biggest problem here is that men's issues are never brought up and often suppressed by feminist. Sexism is not a one way street.

and 1 thing to Atmas, your source 3, the wage gap,
Has been explained a long time ago by non-radical feminist Christina Hoff Sommers

To summarize
It's not sexism it's just that women take pregnancy leave, tend to work less hours, tend to take lower paying jobs in the same field (surgeon vs physician, both doctors, different pay), or are even housewives taking a small job to boost the houses finances.

I agree though, Egalitarianism, Masculism, Feminism, NAACP, AARP, and plainly the ACLU are all equal and should actually work together for the equality they all strive for.
Posted by A_Flying_Toaster 2 years ago
Thank you. And like I already mentioned, there is little to no distinction between radicals and non-radicals in Feminism. It seems as if they just let any statement go by as long as it is under Feminism's flag. And yes, Humanism is that. They are comparable because one fights for the equality of humanity and one for mere gender. In this debate, I am comparing the two by placing Humanism a step higher, and not so focused on what Feminism focuses on. I don't know what you mean by they can't be compared, I just did compare them.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by republicofdhar 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.