Jen, Author of “Blag Hag” on freethought blogs and Rebecca Watson, "Skepchick", are making my head hurt.
Jen says “Dear smug humanists: You realize my critique of the atheist movement included you too, right? I’ve spoken at many humanist meetings, and they are consistently overwhelmingly old, white men who tell me I should be a “humanist” instead of a “feminist” because we’ve already achieved equality and feminism is about man-hating. You have a huge diversity problem too. Stop acting like you’re already perfect.” (read it here also)
Jen, lets set the record straight. Humanists are not perfect, nor do we think we are. Not all humanists groups are “old white men”, (that is a sexist statement in and of itself), and not all humanists are represented by the very few humanist groups you have visited. Even if all of humanism was represented by what you have personally seen you have not accounted for what worldwide humanism has accomplished with the leadership of women and men fighting for women’s rights together. We have been at this for decades, working though the United Nations, and other organizations. We have spent our time in the trenches. We have taken criticism from all sides. We are also not easily deterred by such comments.
I have a tremendous respect for all of the leadership that has been provided by the thousands of women within the Humanist movement worldwide. It should be no surprise that women have already accomplished tremendous things as humanists on our planet, in some cases they have done so because they are women, and yes, because they are not men. All of the humanist men I know seem to know this already. We need women to lead campaigns. We are willing to step aside when needed. Lead, follow or get out of the way, I say. I am not afraid to follow a woman into battle.
I joined the Humanist movement BECAUSE (yes I am yelling), because it has an outstanding record on fighting for the rights of women. Far better than any other organization I know. It also fights for numerous other causes. It is one of the only worldwide organizations that I choose to belong to for that very reason.
For Rebecca Watson to say, “So it would be nice, I think, if we could work on kicking the assholes out of humanism and helping the humanists march forward on all these issues we find important.”, is mind numbing, condescending and arrogant. It is truly undeserved by us for you to say such a thing. You are wrong about us. Please visit the International Humanist and Ethical Union web page, please, please, before you say such things. Check out the American Humanist association and see what they have done for women's rights. Check out Humanist Canada, together, we have done so much more than “some good things”.
Let me politely remind Rebecca and Jen what a few humanist accomplishments have been over the years. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comes to mind but, never mind that, I will make this point by directing my dear readers to news stories from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, where issues like the ones recently posted on Rebecca’s and Jen’s websites have been openly discussed for decades.
Those are just a few of the “quick hit” news stories that cover what Humanist women (and men) have been accomplishing and discussing. We really do work together on these things. It is possible to be a humanist and fight for women’s rights. We’re more than just a bunch of “old white men.”
Look, it’s as if you have forgotten that we are actually on your side. We care deeply about all humans and want to make sure that no one is discriminated against based on their gender. Would it hurt you to admit that Humanists consider your rights to be just as important as anyone else’s?
If you want a place of leadership within our community, come and join us, and then lead the way. We will follow. But please, don’t be distracted by some of us who have our own projects on the go already. There are many causes to fight for and we don’t make a habit of stifling those who find the ambition to move forward in their own way. We enjoy the diversity of issues within the humanist movement, and that is nothing to be complained about.
Jeffrey Olsson, President, Humanists, Atheist and Agnostics of Manitoba