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Sarah Jessica Parker discusses ‘humanism’ when asked about quality of female roles in Hollywood

‘It’s not just about a feminist call-to-arms, it’s humanist’

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 20 February 2019 12:15 GMT
Sarah Jessica Parker says she was heartbroken when she heard Kim Cattrall never considered them friends

Sarah Jessica Parker has described the need for better quality roles in the entertainment industry as a “humanist” issue.

The actor made the statement after being asked about whether she thinks there's a greater variety of parts for women in today's day and age.

Parker, best known for her portrayal of fictional writer Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, has spoken previously about preferring to identify herself as a "humanist" rather than a "feminist".

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.

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".

She then added that, in her opinion, the discussion isn't solely a feminist issue.

“My fervent hope is that the quality of parts will get better because we’re having the conversation that it’s necessary,” Parker told Metro.

“But I think it’s not just about a feminist call-to-arms, it’s humanist…it’s about the LGBTQ community. We have to do better by everybody.”

The difference between the definitions of feminism and humanism has long been a source of confusion for some, due to their belief that the former is less inclusive than the latter.

However, "humanism" actually refers to a philosophical movement made popular during the Renaissance.

A person who defines themselves as a humanist "rejects the idea of the supernatural" and places their trust in science "when it comes to understanding how the universe works," as outlined by

They also make "ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals".

A feminist, on the other hand, "believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes", explains writer Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.

In 2015, Parker talked about identifying as a humanist in an interview with Cosmopolitan.

“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," the actor said.

"We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement."

Several people have criticised Parker's stance on the topic, explaining that being a feminist and caring about the LGBT+ community don't have to be mutually exclusive.

"Why is #feminism still a dirty word? The #humanist argument is like #AllLivesMatter - It misses the point. @SJP," one person tweeted in 2016.

"@SJP surprised and disappointed hearing you're not a feminist via Cosmo. Feminism means supporting women, you can be both a humanist & feminist," another person wrote.

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Parker isn't the only celebrity to describe herself as a humanist.

In September 2015, actor Meryl Streep told TimeOut London that she's a humanist, saying: "I am for nice easy balance".

Actor Susan Sarandon also stated that she's a humanist during a 2013 interview with The Guardian, saying that she thinks the term is "less alienating" than feminism.

Actor Tina Fey expressed her opposition to the notion of humanism during a 2016 interview with Bustle.

"The question is, do you want to be paid the same for the same work? The question is, do you want control of your body? Let's retire 'I'm a humanist'," she stated.

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