27 April, 2017

Introducing Egalitarianism

For a long time I've had a tumultuous relationship with feminism. I identify with femininity more than masculinity, and I actually like females better than males. I've wanted to like feminism because I'm concerned about women's issues, I believe in gender equality, and, frankly, in modern culture, not being a feminist is equated with sexism and misogyny. But, having been born a man, I feel "left out" of the movement in a fundamental way, where I can only, at best, play catch up in a community that's predisposed to assume I'm their enemy. No matter how imperative the cause of feminism has been framed by our culture, I've never been able to get comfortable with it - there's always been something that has felt a little bit off. Especially considering feminism's problematic and inconsistent approaches to sexuality.

Enter egalitarianism. It's not as though I didn't know the term "egalitarianism" existed before, but I'd assumed it was merely a way of saying "feminism" without using the word "feminism" - which is basically how I've identified for a long time: supporting the basic tenets of equality without wanting to associate myself with the feminist movement (except as a form of protest). But I've learned now that I was working under a fundamental delusion that has been deliberately cultivated by feminists. They want you to believe that "feminism" is a synonym for "gender equality"; that if you support gender equality, you are a feminist, and that if you criticize feminism, you are contributing to a culture of sexism and misogyny. But in actual reality, this is not true. Feminism is not the only - and not even necessarily the best - route to gender equality. It's possible to criticize feminism, and still support gender equality. In fact, for an ostensibly eqalitarian position, feminism makes the critical flaw of prioritizing one sex over the other. Despite being suspicious of feminism, I've never taken to the Men's Rights Movement either, for the exact same reasons - a tendency towards extremism and divisive politics, and prioritizing the struggle of one sex to the exclusion of the other (while often ignoring the struggles of those who reject the gender binary). Women have issues, and so do men. Neither one is more important than the other. And equality can only ever be accomplished through a bipartisan strategy.

So, now, thanks to this incredibly well-reasoned essay I found linked on reddit, I can finally come to a definitive conclusion about where I stand, and stop feeling bad about not being a feminist. Feminism's monopoly on gender equality is over. I am an egalitarian!

If you're intrigued, even if you're not quite convinced yet, I urge you to read the Non-Feminist FAQ linked above. Whether you're a feminist or not, anyone who's concerned with true progress and social justice, free from partisan bias, owes it to themselves to give it consideration. It is not - I repeat not - anti-feminist. Nor is it affiliated with the Men's Rights Movement. But it does provide a refreshingly reasonable alternative to the feminist echo chamber.

tl;dr - I am not a feminist, I am an egalitarian. I think women's issues are important. I also think men's issues are important. And equality can only be reached from both sides. A bridge that reaches only one shore is just a dock.

P.S. I used to think that wearing a speedo was a feminist act, because it promoted gender equality. But there was always something a little bit off about that. Now I know why. Feminism isn't about gender equality - it's about female empowerment. What I was doing wasn't a feminist act, it was an egalitarian one. It makes so much sense now!

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