Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t identify as a feminist: ‘I’m a humanist’


Let’s jump through some of the questions I have regarding this Sarah Jessica Parker Cosmo cover. One, did she get a boob job or is this dress just really boob-tastic? Two, why does she insist on the center part, still, to this day? Three, does SJP realize that the too-dark eye makeup makes her look older? Okay, I’m done. Other than those comments, SJP looks really good. Great skin, and I prefer her hair with natural curls (just not with a center part). Here are some highlights from SJP’s Cosmo interview. The SATC question is about this Instagram post which some believed was about SJP shilling for a third SATC movie.

On SATC 3 and her Instagram post: “Oh my god. When I posted that picture and people were in a rage at me, I was shocked. They were convinced I had been taunting them. I’m not that clever! And to what end would I relish dangling this idea and then saying there’s no movie? I’m still finding people and being like, ‘No @BoobityBopBeep! Why would I hurt you?’ I’ve never been a mean girl.”

On being a humanist and not a feminist: “As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I’m a humanist. I’m enormously appreciative of the work that my mother’s generation did. We are the beneficiaries of a lot of disappointment, heartache, discouragement, and misunderstanding. But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, 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. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement.”

On whether she has seen any of her Met Gala look’s memes: “The one thing that I saw, which was so amazing—my son showed it to me—was my headpiece cooking Rihanna like an egg. Can I tell you something though? I never saw the headpiece as flames, I never saw it!”

On what the most pressing political issues are for her: “Equality in pay. Paid sick leave. The thing that would change people’s lives maybe more than anything, assuming that we maintain access to health care, is child care. If I could guarantee every mother who is working two, three jobs that she had good child care that didn’t make her anxious all day—people would probably work in more efficient ways. How many times do you hear a wealthy person get asked, How do you do it all? If I’m asked that question one more time… I’m like, are you kidding me? Ask someone who looks like she’s about to drop, How are you doing? How are you managing?”

[From Cosmopolitan]

I like what she says about a humanist movement, and how feminism should be about more than the rights of white women (I’m paraphrasing her words, but I feel that’s what she’s trying to say). There is a hunger to reach across lines, for the feminist movements to ally with Black Lives Matter, for marriage equality movements to morph into larger campaigns for LGBTQ equality in hiring, housing and protective legislation. And on and on. Intersectionality, humanism, you get the idea. I think that’s where she’s going and I like it. And yes, good on SJP for recognizing that her position is very privileged.


Photos courtesy of Michael Thompson/Cosmopolitan.

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77 Responses to “Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t identify as a feminist: ‘I’m a humanist’”

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  1. Hawkeye says:

    I would have liked what she said better if she had underlined that feminism and humanism are not incompatible, especially since she says she identifies with feminism.

    • Kitten says:

      Well said, Hawkeye.

      But I still appreciate the way she articulated her feelings–far more thoughtful than most celebs.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Yep this and also, her “great skin” is photoshopped to death along with the rest of her especially the hands, and I say that as a fan. That’s on Cosmo though, not her.

    • MCraw says:

      Mainstream feminists are annoying as all hell. Would not want that label either.

      • sal says:

        Who is a mainstream feminist? Can you name one that is annoying as all hell?

        Or is this a sort of FOX news fog rolling in with vague enemies of ‘Merica?

      • Miffy says:

        Care to name these ‘mainstream feminists’ that are so annoying?

      • MCraw says:

        Hmmm, where to begin? How about the very beginning, where feminists made it known where their goals truly lie?

        -The suffragists, who were completely against the civil liberties of slaves being granted to them before their demands were met. They revolted at the idea that recently freed black men would be allowed to vote before they did.

        -Margaret Sanger, who was a proponent of eugenics and is on record for wanting to “exterminate the negro population.”

        -Current writers and leaders who do not align themselves with issues plaguing women of color in the U.S., much less the rest of the world.

        -the writer of this article, who tried to make a reasonable argument, but revealed her racism, which is what was really at the root of her anger.

        -All the women who fight for idiotic “rights” like the Instagram free the nipple campaign, but benignly stand by in silence when a 14 yr old girl in a bathing suit in Texas is humiliated by a police officer.

        Gloria Steinem is okay, but only because she recently, finally, said that black women are the founders of feminism and were never properly credited. Otherwise, she’s silent on the Say Her Name movement too.

        The theme here, ladies, is that mainstream feminism has tunnel vision, focusing only on issues that effect white women, since it’s inception. Even with pay disparity, they only mention the gap that white women experience- 77 cents on the dollar. But for black and Hispanic women, it’s 64 and 54 on the dollar respectively. WOC are shut out by “feminists” who only fight for the rights of a select group. And when there is outrage, it’s over something frivolous, like “Beyoncé is NOT a feminist”. Fk that. Fk them and their mysogynoir.

        So, yeah. Annoying. I’ll call myself a womanist and humanist before a feminist.

      • Boo says:

        Gloria Steinem was interviewed recently by CBC. She says she’s a humanist, not a feminist. The interview is excellent and deep about her life, her work etc. Here if anyone is interested

      • wolfie says:

        A womanist is deeply woven into the Christian tradition. A humanist is seems more feminist than Christian – all these labels!!! Where do you and I, intersect? I believe it is as women; I understand you as a woman.

      • QoFE says:

        Christina H. Sommers, the factual feminist. An actual REAL feminist. Search her videos on YouTube. Most “feminists” heads will explode because they can’t handle truth or facts.

    • Kate says:

      Some feminism is though. For starters it’s hard to get past the blatant racism of the early feminists, which still exists in some branches, and the more subtle racism that permeates all branches today. There’s still a lot of infighting when it comes to LGBT issues, transphobia is shockingly rife within certain branches of feminism right now and and a lot of feminists still have issues with gay men. There are a lot of class issues mixed in too.

      Many individual feminists are inclusive, but feminism as a whole isn’t. Just like many Christians are open-minded and accepting of everyone, but Christianity as a whole can’t be said to be.

      My feminism isn’t incompatible with humanism, but my feminism isn’t everyone’s femininism. I would say the two are incompatible right now, which is disappointing as it doesn’t have to be that way.

      • MCraw says:

        Exactly. Bravo. Way better stated than my comment lol.

      • Julie says:

        i agree. you could also see it with Rihannas new video. suddenly every white feminist was crying misogyny because a woman of color tortured a white woman.
        white feminists are only interested in their own gain and not in anyone elses.

        oh and before you start “notallwhitefeminists” please read about “notallmen”. (which white feminists have no problem mocking)

      • V4Real says:

        I often stay away from the feminist debates but I have to say well stated a McCraw and Kate, well stated indeed.

    • carol says:

      The feminism I know is primarily about equal pay and to have real equal opportunities. I have yet to learn about a movement that does not include infighting or members who are not inclusive.

      • Ash says:

        “The feminism I know is primarily about equal pay and to have real equal opportunities.”

        That’s the feminism to which I subscribe too.

        “I have yet to learn about a movement that does not include infighting or members who are not inclusive. ”


      • Ally8 says:

        First of all, humanism values humans above the supernatural or divine. It’s defined in opposition to that, not as some inclusive ‘all humans unite’ creed versus women only. Unless SJP is an atheist, which at least would be novel and more interesting than these I-renounce-thee-feminism (which-helped-get-me-here) interviews.

        Basically telling women to sit down and think of other people instead of themselves and their unique concerns makes me want to scream and is essentially why feminism is still relevant and necessary. If we don’t fight to get ahead and keep our place, we’ll get pushed back. I’m so tired of celebs being asked these questions and giving these dumb answers. Would it ever occur to anyone to ask a black actor to renounce the civil rights movement? A gay actor whether they identify with the Pride movement? You’re a dumb embarrassment, SJP.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think she looks like death warmed over on that cover. Boobs. Hair. Nose. Makeup. All bad.

    • minx says:

      Just awful. The center part has got to go. And the eyeliner/shadow under her eyes make them look small and beady. And the boobs….
      Was that really the best shot they had for the cover?

    • phlyfiremama says:


  3. Julie says:

    i never understood the need to push celebs into identifying. what does it help? you’ll get some lipservice and thats it.

  4. lizzie says:

    the white suit picture is beautiful and natural. that cover is not flattering. why cosmo?

  5. Mia4S says:

    No sorry, still dumb. Yes feminism needs to be more inclusive but humanism? It is a philosophy dealing with the agency of humans versus divine control or faith in a higher power. It’s a theory embracing human freedom and choice, and a trust in science over superstition. So you can easily be feminist and humanist. Saying you are humanist as an alternative is just dumb.

    • Gretchen says:

      @Mia4S Yes! Thank you! I’m all for people being into intersectionality, but this continued misuse of ‘humanism’ is really frustrating. I mean, is she saying that she rejects the idea of divine and supernatural powers and that she values logic and scientific knowledge above all else? Or has she just fallen prey to the idea that feminism is a dirty word… My bet is on the latter.

    • wolfie says:

      The first thing that I did this morning is look up the word “humanism” . As a matter of fact, I remember the word being used in college – but it was more along the line of the classics, and secular concerns, characteristic of the Renaissance. I will wholeheartedly agree that it is a good thing for us to be involved in all good causes, however, one might as well just call themselves a Christian, if one needs an umbrella. Feminism is an historic movement, with a great deal of research and application, but most importantly, with movement forward. Women will always be able to find themselves on the same page, regardless of any other intersections of life, in feminism. We are half the world; already.

      • LAK says:

        Brava!!! Wolfie.

        You too Mia4s.

        I don’t understand why people don’t understand that being feminist doesn’t exclude you from being other things.

        Perhaps it’s the world of multiple choice that we live in. Too many choices are confusing people. If we were living in a world of limited choices, people would see that a basic concept like feminism embraces all of us and our choices no matter race, religion, belief system.

        I also object to the idea that feminism is a ‘white women’ thing. I’m black with African roots, and i’m surrounded by black and Asian women, back in Africa AND in Europe, who are proud feminists completely baffled by the notion that to identify as such means they are propping up a system that celebrates ‘white woman’ only. It’s infuriating where this notion came from.

    • Sullivan says:


      • Blythe says:

        You really think so? Because feminism has now become this “you can’t sit with us” club. It’s really becoming tiring. Many feminists online come off as angry and intolerate – especially towards other women who do not agree with them on every stance they have. From what a lot them say, it becomes aparent that they do not welcome men into their “feminism club” and that they are hell-bent on “getting even” with patriarchy. Not all, but many. Stop masking hate for men by the feminist label, especially when you think feminism is for men and women. Feminism isn’t about hate. It shouldn’t be about revenge.

    • MAC says:

      Thank you!!!!!!!!

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing. I understand the spirit of what she was trying to say but felt like she doesn’t understand the true definition of humanism. Still, I like her and feel like her heart is in the right place.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I really don’t think she meant the secular/philosophical definition of “humanist”. She was just using it as a synonym for “egalitarian”.

      Am I the only one more familiar with the latter definition? Actually, when I hear “humanist” my first thought would be something about humanist psychology (Maslow, self-actualisation pyramids, etc). Egalitarian would be my second guess. The secular definition would be a very distant third.

      • Doc says:

        @Lucrecia – That’s how I think she was using the word humanist too.

        It seems she wanted to get rid of all the (unfortunately) negative connotations that are associated with feminism and emphasize the equality part. Or am I reading too much into it?

        I also agree with someone here who said that feminists nowadays prance on you should you not agree with every aspect of feminism, which makes it a scary, ‘you can’t sit here’ club, which it shouldn’t be.

    • sal says:

      This is coming from the actress who shunned raising the pay for the other 3 actresses in Sex in the City. She wanted to be the only producer/actress in Sex in the City because it raised her pay (producers get a big percentage cut of residuals) and fought adding any of the other actresses. She iced Kim’s suggestion that they band together like the Friends actors for better HBO pay and made it clear that if you were a friend of Kim, you were not her friend.

      Yup. Not a feminist. Not even a great co-worker.

      • Ash says:

        I think there was an interview or two where it seemed as if SJP was kind of throwing shade at single women, which is funny given that she portrayed Carrie Bradshaw.

    • Tragic Sandwich says:

      Thank you. A “humanist” is actually already a thing, and it’s not the thing she’s saying she is.

  6. zinjojo says:

    Gah, that is a bad makeup job. It’s like her nose has been outlined and the contouring is all off. Instead of highlighting her cheekbones, she has the sides of her face contoured in a a weird way.

    And yeah, boob job or boob-tastic dress? The girls are out!

  7. belle de jour says:

    Utterly ridiculous. How could she not see the flames in that headpiece?

    Oh, and the other thing: I’m not done with the word ‘feminism’ – not by a long shot. Sometimes it’s important to be very clear who you are fighting, for whom you are fighting, and why you are fighting. We’re not done fighting and winning yet, and I’m not done with that strong, specific and specifically empowering word yet.

    Also: she might want to look up the word ‘humanism.’

  8. Elisa the I. says:

    You don’t have paid sick leaves in the States? That sucks…
    My best friend was on a 8 months sick leave last year for depression & burn-out. She would not have been able to survive (literally) without getting the money from our public health system.

    • zinjojo says:

      No paid sick leave except at the discretion of your employer, and no paid maternity or paternity leave either 🙁

    • V4Real says:


      I think this was a generalization on sick leave as a whole. Yes, we do have paid sick leave but to a certain point. My job has benefits, paid, vacation, personal days. We also have worker’s comp and disability.

      Hey I’m on a two week paid vacation right now, with vacation time to spare.

      SJP is most likely saying that every on the book job in America should have those benefits but as a whole we don’t. There is also back up insurance you can purchase. Yes you pay monthly for it but it can be worth the cost. I have Aflac. If I took out the pregnancy part of the insurance I get paid up to six months for maturnity leave. If I have to be admitted to the hospital, I get paid 100 dollars every day I stay in the hospital. If I’m out of work due to an injury, surgery and so on, after 14 days I get about 1500 a month. You can opt for after being out of work immediately or for 7 days but I chose 14 days. Plus on top of that you will still be paid for your sick time from your employer. If I’m injured on the job my job will also pay my short term disability while AFLAC is also paying me.

      This might not be the case with every company in the US but my employer along with the extra insurance does pretty well for their employees.

  9. TheOtherMaria says:

    It’s nice that she’s acknowledging marginalized groups (something many white women fail to do), however, a humanist movement seems so redundant to me—why should we have to be inclusive to men when our fight already benefits them, especially given that all we’ve ever asked for is to be equals?

    • Kitten says:

      Good point.

    • Hawkeye says:

      Every movement needs allies; marginalized groups should not have to go it alone. They didn’t marginalize themselves and create inequality. Men were part of breaking it, so men must be part of the solution. Specifically feminism needs men because men and women live in society together, and men who embrace equality are much better people. Male allies are better partners, better parents, better bosses, better neighbours, and better citizens. Feminism, even though it’s about women, raises all boats.

      A male feminist

      • The Other Maria says:

        I completely agree with you, however, the idea of a humanist movement is stupid because feminism does not exclude men–that was my only point. She acknowledges intersectional concepts without realizing they’re all intertwined.

        No where in my post did I insinuate men can’t be allies, on the contrary, many of the thing we fight for benefit them.

      • Hawkeye says:

        @The Other Maria you said “why should we have to be inclusive to men when our fight already benefits them, especially given that all we’ve ever asked for is to be equals?”

        I don’t think you’re implying that men can’t be allies, but you seemed to be asking. So I answered.

    • sal says:

      Actually, she failed to acknowledge other margin groups many times in her history. When it came to her own co-workers on Sex in the City, she iced them when it came to them asking for more equitable pay. When Kim suggested they band together like the Friends actors and ask for more pay from HBO, she made it clear to all on set that a friend of Kim’s was not a friend of hers. She asked for an got an exclusive executive producer deal and created a frosty environment. As executive producer then she was in on NOT adding any other actress. They could not get on until films were in the works.

      For a time, she fought adding any other actress to the producer ranks of the show (producers get a percentage of the media sales), so she is not such a broad minded person if you are up close and personal to her. No wonder she chooses her words carefully. Charity event where she can get her picture taken – she’s there. Local justice for women on her own job site….not so much.

  10. Jadzia says:

    Funny how it’s only women who are required to become activists on behalf of all kinds of other people, if they’re going to be good feminists, that is. I never hear AIDS activists or gay (male) activists or anti-war activists or any kind of activists in movements that are primarily populated by men, for example, being told that in order to be taken seriously, they really should be out spending their energy on causes other than their own. I wonder why that is? I’m not criticizing intersectionality as a concept here. What I am criticizing is that it is ONLY required of women. Who are socialized pretty much from birth to put other people first.

    • lisa2 says:

      never thought of that way; and I think you are correct.

    • OhDear says:

      There’s actually a lot of discussion regarding intersectionality (gender, race, etc.) in those communities as well (particularly with gay activists in the examples that you cited).

    • A says:

      It’s the same thing with black people. Everyone expects black people to be activists for all because “they should be more understanding since…” which frankly is offensive.
      Gay LGBTs, White women, disabled people, other “POC”, glutens etc and their mothers expect black people to not only rally for them but to take the damn wheel and steer it too! Because of course.
      “You’re black so you SHOULD understand and you SHOULD know better” and blah blah blah.
      Like they don’t have enough of their own problems to deal with! It’s not like white gay activists take it upon themselves to support black people, it’s not even asked of them. Never heard Mexicans say a peep about all the abuse Obama received and still receieves, or Michelle for that matter.
      Look, if anything it is the most privileged group who should take their hands to lift up marginalized groups because they actually can and have the resources to do so.
      White feminists (mainstream ones) do not actually want equality, they just want to be equal (or more powerful) than white men. That’s it!

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Would you like to have chicken or fish served at our wedding, My Love?

      • wolfie says:

        “A” – your statements carry so much pain. Most people, with the empathy gene can feel it. I look for answers, yes, in black history. I believe that the best answer is the one in our Constitution. It is obvious as the noses on our face, that God created us equal. Why some people want to be more equal than others, is perennial. We can, as a people, move the agenda forward. Until equal means equal, I struggle with you. Remember, many whites have died for your cause – don’t forget us.

  11. Katenotkatie says:

    Yeah she’s just describing intersectional feminism. “Humanism” is not a thing unless you’re talking about secularism/science and rational thinking over religious dogma. Really has nothing to do with social justice.

  12. OhDear says:

    Humanist-feminist thing aside, I thought her response was very thoughtful, considered and self-aware.

  13. Tracy says:

    Sarah has always seemed like a normal and very nice person. I love that she seems to accept herself and her physical attributes and turned away from rhinoplasty, removing large facial moles, etc. But for the life of me, I cannot fathom why she insists on the approaches to both hair and makeup she has embraced for years. Her hair always looks fixed and stringy, and a third grader could tell you that a center part above a very long face with a very large nose is a nonstarter. Volume and height would do so much to balance out her long, somewhat haggard face. Her makeup is always aging, too exaggerated, and way too dark for the way her features are put together, i.e. eyes pulled down at the corners, blush in the wrong spot, poor contouring, etc.

    • Kitten says:

      I agree with you about the makeup but I disagree about her hair. She has AMAZING curly hair that for whatever reason, she insists on straightening. When she embraces the natural texture of her hair, it looks really gorgeous IMO.

    • LAK says:

      What Kitten said.

      Also, she had a rather large mole on her chin removed after SATC ended.

    • Crumpet says:

      Actually, a center part works well for people with long faces, so it’s a good look for her. It’s all about adding width rather than height. The fact that her natural hair has tons of texture works great with her features.

    • Ange says:

      For a while on SATC she had white or blue eyeliner on her upper lid and it looked really great, so fresh and youthful. I don’t know why she didn’t stick with it.

  14. Alexandra says:

    I like what she said about asking wealthy people how they manage to do it all. I’m so sick of people asking actors/actresses that. That can manage it because they don’t have to worry about money!

    • lisa2 says:

      When you have money you don’t worry about that.. but just because you have money doesn’t mean you don’t have other things to worry about. There are just other lane worries.. They may seem silly but they don’t to the people that have them.

      Money brings its owe types of worries and problems. If there were no worries Rich people would be the happiest in the world.. and many of them are not.

  15. Diana says:

    Definitely a boober

  16. Lucy says:

    …Yeah, she still has no idea what she’s talking about.

  17. db says:

    Humanism is fine and dandy, but feminism, to me, is the nuts and bolts of “how we get there.” We get there by equal pay, and the right to our own bodies . And right now, that takes work. There is tremendous resistance to acknowledging that women have even these simple “rights.”

  18. HoustonGrl says:

    Quoi?? Well, that was dumb. Just say “yes” to feminism, please. End of story. Humanism aka human rights isn’t invalidated by proclaiming yourself a feminist. It just reinforces the whole idea.

  19. Josefa says:

    I think she expressed herself well. It wasn’t one of those “Im not a feminist, I love everyone, not just women!” statements. She actually makes a lot of sense.

    Never been a fan of SJP and I detest SATC but I’ve always considered her very smart.

  20. Who ARE these people? says:

    She’s fairly thoughtful AND thanks y’all for the true definition of humanism.

    One thing, did she really say women should be free to work “two, three jobs” and not worry about child care? Women should be free to work one well-paid job, not around the clock. But she was just talkin’ and maybe things came out funny. She acknowledged both pay disparities and inadequate child care. Those 2 issues dovetail.

  21. nic919 says:

    SATC was a very materialistic show and most of the women were shallow and stereotypical. She ends up with Mr. Big after having dropped her entire career and life in NYC for a spell in Paris… so I never understood why this show was trumpeted as a positive one for women. Jane Eyre from 200 years before is more empowering. Outside of Samantha remaining sexually active in her 40s and 50s, she was still treated as a joke more often than not.

    All this to say that I don’t think SJP has a friggin clue what the real fight for feminism was about. As stated above, she certainly wasn’t in solidarity with her female co-workers for them to get higher pay. She would have had the star power to make that happen. So no SJP, you were never really a feminist I guess. You were greedy and banked on a trend in the 90s. By the time the movies came out it was okay to throw in racism without thinking about it.

    Does feminism fix everyone’s problems at all times? Of course not. No movement does, but the more “feminist” becomes a dirty word, or one that means intolerant and not one of the “cool girls”, the more we all have lost. Men and Women, Cis and trans.

  22. wolfie says:

    One of the most moving statements that I have ever read, was Sojourner Truth’s statement, I did all that, and “ain’t I’m a woman?” British colonization has been a curse to all, who just wish to sit in the shade, after a day of whistling while we work …


  23. enya says:

    Why in the world does she continue to do her eye makeup like that? Is she looking into enchanted mirrors that remove 75% of that black eyeliner? Has no one ever told her how bad it looks and how small it makes here eyes appear??

    • Doc says:

      The comments about her make-up are quite cruel, but also – since we are on the topic of femisnism? maybe bashing another woman about her looks isn’t what we should be doing. Also, I think maybe people put make-up on to have fun, something they like, without necesarily focusing on how it will make them look. So what if her eyes look smaller or her nose looks bigger? The aforementioned features look the opposite on Kim K, but SJP appears much less burdened by the whole idea, and I suspect feels better in her own skin, hence the lack of surgery on her face.

  24. Foile says:

    feminism means equality for the sexes, especially concerning rights (human & property) as well as financial equality. It says nothing about race, sexual orientation, nationality etc. in so far as it asks for equality regardless of the above. Yes there were a few crazy and a few racist feminists in history, that does not mean women should not be equal to men.
    I cannot understand how a woman could not ever be feminist, because to say I am not a feminist amounts to saying I do not think I should have the same rights and opportunities as men.

    And for those who think that “humanist” is completely unproblematic term and always favourable to feminism, they should really educate themselves.