I’m sorry I’m late to this discussion. This thread is amazing and goes to show that there should be academic courses about the books and tv show (if there isn’t one already)! You could write a thesis about these issues.
I agree with Hope that even with humanism you’d need feminism. I think it’s important to understand the historical and current meaning of “humanism”, which is essentially a philosophical stance rejecting the notion of a divine and emphasizing rational and scientific thought over faith. Sometimes this can get confused with how the term “humanist” is used to include a stance that all are equal no matter what. Also, feminism isn’t just for women and about gender, though “society” tends to make it about women and gender (early feminism though had a lot to do with women’s issues, but with the successive waves of feminism, it has evolved to cover greater issues). What feminism is sometimes concerned with is the problem with patriarchy – in which men (or white, heterosexual men) have the most power and that this hurts everyone, including men.
The books and the show have been fantastic in portraying strong female characters who don’t let patriarchy hold them down, whether it’s with the decisions they’ve made (Claire’s career) or their relationships with others and men. The use of sexuality and sexual relations to demonstrate this is brilliant – using something that either objectifies women or is withheld from women as a tool to demonstrate female power. I love how much the show and Ron has respected this, it’s such a central part of Claire’s story and her relationships with Jamie and Frank.
My husband and I the other day were talking about female characters on TV and how awesome Ron and the producers/writers have been with strong female characters in BSG, Helix and Outlander in which these female characters don’t fit certain stereotypical molds of women (the wife, the nurturer, the sweet one, the b****, the cunning one, etc.). These characters fit most if not all these molds and then some, they’re much more complicated and yet more relateable than the female characters you see on other shows. It’s pretty awesome I gotta say and it’s pretty exciting!
I’m reading Voyager at the moment and haven’t read the books beyond that yet. I don’t meant to change the subject and maybe this requires another thread, if so let me know. But I wonder about the portrayal of race in the books and how it will be done on the show. I was specifically thinking of Mr. Willoughby. Are there any thoughts on that?