It has become a trend for people to call themselves something other than “feminist” despite their identifying as a feminist. One of these other titles is “womanist.” Womanism is also known as Intersectional Feminism. This is because it focuses on the intersections of all the problems that lead to the oppression of women. I find myself drawn more to Intersectional Feminism than I am to any of the other subcategories. However, I don’t like to call myself a womanist. I prefer to call myself a feminist.
Of all the subcategories within Feminism, Intersectional Feminism acknowledges that not all Feminists are cis women, and trans* feminists are oppressed in part because they are trans*. However, to call oneself a womanist in part ignores that oppression. Both Feminism and Womanism can work towards the same end, but Feminism as a title is more inclusive. A lot of people complain that Feminism is an exclusive title because it ignores anyone who isn’t biologically female, but Feminism deals with the feminine, not the female. This means that it can be inclusive to the feminine in everybody. It can be inclusive to those who identify as cis-gender women, but it also includes trans women who are oppressed because of their femininity, it includes all trans* people whether they were born biologically male of female because we are all judged by our femaleness and lack of femininity of our maleness and femininity, it includes cis-gender males who are not straight because their sexuality causes them to be seem as feminine, whether that is true or not, and it includes cis-gender straight men who are forced to hide a part of themselves lest they be seen as feminine. In other words, Feminism fights to make the feminine equal to the masculine in society. This is one reason why Feminism is so divided: some feminists focus on biological sex divisions because having babies and caring for them is the ultimate form of femininity, some focus on gender because women are expected to be nurturing homemakers, which is considered feminine, some focus on getting women involved in politics, because masculine traits are what are valued in politics, etc. In all cases, it is the feminine that is being oppressed, and women/females are oppressed because women/females are supposed to be feminine. But not all women/females are feminine, and not all feminine people are women/female.
Womanism, however, is not as inclusive. Everybody has some femininity in them, but only one type of person is a woman: a person whose gender is woman. This means that only cis and trans women are included in Womanism. I don’t identify as a woman, so I am not included within Womanism, but I’m female, so I’m included in Feminism. As such, I can’t call myself a womanist. I’m all for ending oppression, but I’d prefer to do so in the most inclusive manner possible. And I certainly don’t want to see myself get left behind in the process.
Of course, inclusivity has it’s price too. The movement has to be inclusive without being too inclusive, otherwise it becomes useless. That is why I consider myself a feminist while also calling myself a humanist and an egalitarian. Feminism works towards a specific goal, which is a different goal from humanism and egalitarianism. They are all necessary groups, but they do the most good when they are kept separate.