This is going to be a short little post just to think some thoughts out loud.
Recently, I have heard more and more people describing themselves as “egalitarian” instead of “feminist”. This is sort of fine, I suppose. As long as we all work towards equal treatment for everyone, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, right? I’m not so sure about that. I think that choosing not to identify as a feminist might be a little bit more significant than one might think.
Femininity is undeniably the root of the majority of sexist issues faced by any gender. Women are perceived as weak, emotional, temperamental and suited only for a domestic lifestyle. Men, on the other hand, are scorned for displaying any perceived feminine characteristics. There is a stigma around men crying or talking about their emotions. They are ridiculed for being so-called “metrosexuals” if they take even the slightest interest in fashion or their appearance. Taking the “fem” out of feminism fails to deal with this problem which is totally counter productive.
Secondly, why are we wasting our time talking about the name of the movement? Focus on FGM. Focus on child brides. Focus on the fact that suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the developed world. Talk about “lad culture” and how it contributes to the binge drinking problem that clogs up our A&E rooms. Talk about anything except the name. What a waste of airtime!
Another problem with egalitarianism is how vague it is. The movement is defined as “a trend of thought that favors equality for all people.” This is, of course, a lovely concept. The thing is, though, it can’t exist as a movement on its own. If your movement isn’t specifically dealing with individual issues, it will lose its focus and direction and achieve nothing. Being such a broad term, egalitarianism can’t possibly tackle racism, sectarianism, homophobia, classism, ableism, ageism, elitism and sexism all at once. It just can’t!
Lastly, until there is there total gender-neutrality in the English language, I don’t think the word “feminism” should be an issue. If you want feminism to have a gender-neutral name but you say things like mankind, foreman, manpower and manmade you can take your double standards and go and stand outside, thank you.
I just don’t see how anybody can identify as an egalitarian but not a feminist. It just quite literally does not make sense. Perhaps I am entirely wrong in thinking this way. Let me know if you agree or disagree. It’s an interesting discussion.