Good morning, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.
So I talk about feminism a fair bit on this channel and a certain class of person likes to jump into the comments and say things like,
“Why are you a feminist? Feminists treat women differently from men, so by default you’re being unequal. If you really care about equal rights, you should be an egalitarian.”
These same comments crop up when you talk about civil rights as well, or gay rights, or basically the rights of any portion of society that’s having a rough time.
Egalitarian, of course, means you believe all people should have equal rights regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. etc.
This seems to be a good default attitude to have, and should be considered the default state.
There’s just one problem, which is that taken to an extreme, an egalitarian will treat everyone the exact same—regardless of how OTHER people, and the rest of society, treats that person.
So if, for example, women tend to earn less in the workplace then men do, an egalitarian might say,
“Well, when I hire people, I pay them equally regardless of their gender.”
That’s good. Great—for you, and YOUR workplace, and the women that work there.
You’re not…you’re not making the world any WORSE, okay? Well done on that.
But you’re also not making it BETTER anywhere else, and that’s where I FEEL the difference lies.
Because a feminist might try to evaluate what factors in society contribute to women making less in the workplace in America in general, and try to fix those factors.
Now if we do that, we are by default treating women differently than men, because we are trying to solve a problem that affects women and does NOT affect men.
See, if you imagine the world as a balancing scale, and a type of person is receiving unequal treatment, so their side of the scale is lower.
Egalitarianism says you should put equal amounts in both person’s scales by treating them equally.
Now mathematically speaking this makes the scales MORE equal—but it will never create actual equality, it will only improve the ratio.
Feminism, or civil rights, or gay rights, is the attempt to find out why this side of the scale is so much lower and lift it up.
Now of course this is a limited analogy because rights and equal treatment are not a zero sum game.
It turns out women and minorities CAN be treated equally WITHOUT sacrificing any of the rights of the straight white male.
So to me, the difference is that egalitarianism treats everyone equally regardless of how the rest of the world treats them—which is kind of the epitome of blind justice, but is better than sexism or racism or homophobia.
Whereas feminism, or civil rights activism, or gay rights activism, recognizes actual problems that affect people in the actual world, and tries to correct them.
If the world were equal already, egalitarianism would be the best possible method of dealing with it. But unfortunately it’s just not.
So while egalitarianism isn’t bad, I mean it’s certainly better than racism—now there’s a ringing endorsement—I don’t see how it can actually create the equality it purports to believe in.
And if your response is that egalitarianism DOES try to correct injustice and unfairness, and WOULD reach out to correct gender oppression, then we’re just disagreeing about terms.
If you’re interested in helping correct injustices against women in our society and you want to call yourself an egalitarian, that’s totally fine.
If I do the same thing, I’m going to call myself a feminist—and I’m going to think of you as a feminist as well. And that word just isn’t an insult.
Thank you for watching, Rebels, remember: never read the comments, and I will see you tomorrow. Maybe. Byyye.