Female roles in Hollywood and women in the movie and television industry continue to make further strides due, mostly, to their own efforts and activism for recognition, respect, and equal treatment with the men in the industries and on the screen.
Sarah Jessica Parker spoke on feminism and humanism. In the call for better roles for women, she remarked how this is not simply a feminist issue but, in actual fact, a humanist issue, broadly speaking.
Part of this may be due to the stigmatizing of the term “feminist.” Another part may be due to the universalist nature of the implications, in terms of direct representations, of the term “humanist.”
Of course, the terminology of feminism, in its traditionalist meaning, is universalist, as in women and men recognized as social and legal equals. Humanist simply moves this out into the level of the species.
“The actor reiterated this sentiment in a recent interview, explaining that she believes the LGBT+ community must be included when discussing better representation in film,” the Independent reported, “When questioned over whether or not female actors are being offered higher calibre roles than they have done in the past, the actor stated that she doesn’t feel as though she’s ‘equipped to speak to the quality across the board.’”
Parker’s hope is for the quality parts in movies and television will be part of the industry, not simply as a “call-to-arms” for feminists but, in fact, a general movement for the furtherance of humanism.
A humanist is someone who does not identify with the supernatural — not necessarily the rejection of the metaphysical but the supernatural — and emphasizes human reason, compassion, and science, in addition to their inherent limitations as evolved organisms.
Both respect the human rights of men and women. In that, there is a wide overlap in their outlooks.
“People of colour, gays, lesbians, and transgenders who are carving out this space. I’m not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don’t think it’s just women anymore,” Parker said in 2015, in Cosmopolitan.
She further explained how the movement within the television and movie industry could be even more powerful if this was identified with the humanist movement. Others have proclaimed this as, in essence, an evasion tactic with the aforementioned demonization of the term feminist.
While, at the same time, these can both be true positions; the shift into humanist language may be more powerful than the limitations, currently, of the plurality of feminisms on offer.
But this could also lead to a similar problem with a wide range of humanisms on offer as well. As there is a wide range of humanisms, indeed, these can range from the deistic humanists to the atheistic humanists, and never the two meeting.
The world is complicated; people similarly so. Meryl Streep was also on record as identifying as humanist because of being for “nice easy balance,” which does reflect the casual style and flavor of thinking of the actress.
In addition, Susan Sarandon described her view of humanism too. It is not simply about the distinction but more about the overlap and then the appropriateness of the term to social context.
But certainly, these identifications as humanist by prominent women is an important aspect of the work to modernize the views of the humanist world and, as importantly, getting the title out into the mainstream sphere through prominent and respectable actresses.