Why are feminists so hurt

Why feminism is not just a special case of humanism

Why? Again and again: Why? Ever since I've been dealing with feminism as a social movement, political theory and, yes, ideology as well, I've been haunted by this one question: Why are you doing this? This question is often flanked by the remark that equality "and so" is all well and good, but that I am in much better hands with humanism with my demands. After all, it includes all people and consequently includes the rights of women.

Women at all! With my interest in gender equality and freedom from discrimination, I am not in very good hands with feminism, because after all, and who does not know, it only wants to replace the predominance of one gender with that of the other.

So far, so subjunctive. And it's not as if I am not prone to this possibility. To deal with individual forms of discrimination and their connections is just terribly exhausting. Where man was just so privilegedly comfortable. That sounds like a good idea: If it's really about equality and not about replacing one gender-centered form of rule with another, why don't we call it humanism? But it is not. It is an abbreviation, a generalization, an appropriation.

Humanistic generalization

One reason for this, as my colleague Katrin Rönicke explains in her podcast, is the story. Feminism also includes the visualization and (re) discovery of the participation and achievements of women in relation to historical processes. To cover this up again with a humanistic generalization would not only be unfair but also negligent. The understanding of us as a society and as individuals would become even more incomplete and flawed than it already is.

Another is what I would like to call the humanistic fallacy. Humanism does not produce non-discriminatory societies, it just postulates them. Humanism gives out the great maxim that human dignity is inviolable, but it lacks the answer to how we should deal with it when it is tampered with. And it will, again and again. Every day, every hour, every minute. Especially those of women and minorities.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant provides a good example of this humanistic fallacy. Because the ability to develop the categorical imperative obviously did not protect him from indulging at the same time a dull, extremely short-sighted racism: "Humanity is in its greatest perfection in the race of the whites. The yellow Indians have less talent. The Negroes are far deeper, and a section of the American peoples stands deepest. [...] The Negroes of Africa have no feeling of nature that goes beyond the ridiculous. "

Feminism, to be clear at this point, does not lead to a non-discriminatory society either. That is not possible at all. Even a society that, according to the thought experiment of another philosopher, John Rawls, would be devised by people who would have to live in that society with any, unpredictable social status, would not be perfect in this respect. Even if all known forms of discrimination were excluded because they could affect you in the brave new world, there would still be the unknown. Then it would be those born in November with lush nose hair, with a tendency to wax earwax, whom we would discriminate out of selfishness or ignorance. We always think of something.

One grand gesture is not enough

We want to put ourselves at an advantage over others and discriminate against them for this purpose. We reserve the right to affect the dignity of others. And it is precisely against this that intersectional feminism, with its focus on discrimination intersections and power dispositions, is a very useful tool.

Discrimination cannot be done once and for all with one grand gesture. She is far too much a part of all of us for that. Even the best of all possible societies has not completely eliminated discrimination, but rather knows about its fallibility and seducibility and holds against it as well as possible. For example with feminism. Because it has never been enough to just declare things and conditions to be improved, fairer or finished. (Nils Pickert, August 27, 2017)