Activist Mommy

{June 29, 2007}   Feminist and humanist

Joyce Carol OatesJoyce Carol Oates has been named the 2007 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. Oates is an author with more than 70 novels, short story collections, literary criticism, essays, poetry volumes and plays in her belt.  She also is associate editor of the literary magazine, The Ontario Review, and has taught in Princeton’s creative writing program since 1978.

“Ms. Oates has strong humanist credentials,” Speckhardt continued. “In particular, she has been outspoken in her feminism, often pointing out the bias in society against women and bringing attention to the challenges female writers face. She serves as an inspiration to all who struggle to be appreciated on their individual worth, rather than their sex.” Oates Named Humanist of the Year

Robin MorganShe was honored along side Robin Morgan, who was awarded the 2007 Humanist Heroine Award. Morgan is a former child actor that grew into a powerful feminist activist, writer, poet, and editor of Sisterhood is Powerful and Ms. Magazine. During the 1960s, she participated in the civil rights and anti-war movements; in the late 1960s she was a founding member of radical feminist organizations such as New York Radical Women and W.I.T.C.H.. She also founded the Womens Media Center.

“Morgan embodies all the qualities of a Humanist Heroine,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the Association. “She has worked tirelessly for feminist causes, both in the United States and internationally, and her classic Sisterhood anthologies represent a significant contribution to the feminist canon.”

I love these two strong, powerful, feminist women out in the spotlight. Women’s rights are human rights, the two go hand in hand. How can we raise a nation of empowered people when they grow up under mothers who are seen as less than? It seems impossible. I found a blog post from last year that explains it far better than I ever could. Shakespear’s Sister‘s post Feminism is Humanism.

“If men were smart, they wouldn’t fight against feminism. They would embrace it for what it really is: Humanism. (And stop fretting over whether the term “feminism” is exclusory; its principles aren’t.) They would incorporate the principles of all civil rights movements and collaborate with their proponents on the genesis of a vast humanist movement. Instead of feeling threatened by or put upon by these movements, instead of feeling they somehow denigrate straight, white men’s lives or their ability to be who they are, men would apply these ideas in an effort to improve their own lives, along with everyone else’s. What we need to do is confer all the rights and privileges that these men have traditionally enjoyed upon everyone else, and then, once we’ve done that, we can start thinking about what new rights, obligations, responsibilities we can confer on everyone, in order to make our society a more egalitarian and fair place to live.”

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dew says:

I agree that feminism and humanism are the same thing, and that men benefit from feminism as much as women do.

[…] Activist Mommy’s post honors Joyce Carol Oates and Robin Morgan, who have won awards from the American Humanist Association for their contributions to feminism/humanism, particularly through their writing. Activist Mommy says, “Women’s rights are human rights, the two go hand in hand.” […]

EXCELLENT post. Thanks.. I hadn’t read of either of these women being celebrated. Well deserved. Hopping over to read more of Shakespear’s Sister’s post.. great excerpt.


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