By Kamya Ramaswamy
“If the whole point of feminism is to achieve equality between the sexes, why isn’t it called Equalism,” yet another meninist declares in yet another Facebook comments section, not really wanting an answer. Every feminist has seen this non-question before, and we’ve all felt the resounding triumph in the question-asker’s post, as if the very act of asking this question that he is sure no man has ever asked before, is enough to shut us all up once and for all.
It’s akin to shouting “All lives matter!” when (and only when) anyone brings up that Black Lives Matter. The straightforward answer to this not-really-a-question is that women are striving to achieve the status that men typically enjoy in society—more specifically straight, white, rich men. Men aren’t struggling to achieve the lifestyle and opportunities that a black single mom living in a housing development has, or those of a single woman in her early 20s trying to break into a STEM field, or a stay-at-home-mom who is completely financially dependent on her husband.
We’ll call it equalism when some of the following happens:
- Men demand equal work for equal pay because they’re only making $0.79 to a woman’s $1
- The percentage of single fathers eclipses the percentage of single mothers worldwide—and if this phenomenon happens because all the deadbeat moms decided to bail when things got too tough and they couldn’t stand the sleepless nights
- A new restaurant chain opens, called “Balzac’s” where young, buff male waiters wear only a Speedo as their uniform. There will be a Balzac’s near every major airport because of all the businesswomen on layovers wanting to ogle some of these waiters while lording it over them that they control a significant tip. The more the poor waiter plays ball and giggles at his own objectification, the bigger the tip will get
- We rejoice when a new head of state appoints more male cabinet members because women have disproportionately been ruling cabinets in countries around the world for several decades now—and when Facebook comments subsequently abound with, “Why are we appointing so many people just because they’re men? I just want the most qualified candidate for the job!”
- A new chain of men-only gyms opens up, where men can work out in peace without having strange women take pictures of them and block their way to the juice bar while pretending to “bump into” them
- When young, single men wanting a vasectomy are asked, “But what if your future wife wants children?” by the doctor, or are flat-out refused, or are told that they must wait until they are both 30 years old and have fathered at least 2 kids
Now, all of this is satire, not railing against men, but simply written to point out the immense level of privilege that men have always had and most men do not recognize. Women want these things too. And we are happy to have woke men as our allies so that we can ALL have nice things. Absolutely no one wants to subjugate men the way women have been subjugated for centuries—anyone with an ounce of compassion and decency would not wish that on other members of the human race.
This is also meant to illustrate to people who still don’t get it that feminism has been a struggle that started well over 100 years ago when our (great-)grandmothers were beaten and jailed for demanding they get a say in who runs our government. Men (white men, specifically) never had to fight that fight.
There was never a time when they were seen as the property of either their mothers or wives, nor was there ever a time when they were not allowed to have a bank account or credit card in their own name, or banned from running their own businesses in their own names. There was never a time when a man with good credit and a job tried to purchase an apartment on his own as recently as the 1990s, but was asked by the mortgage company whether the downpayment would be coming from his mother.
Demanding that feminism be called equalism completely dismisses that women have been second-class citizens since the dawn of time, and still have their rights infringed upon today. If a man has cells growing at a rapid pace in his reproductive organs that he does not wish to host, he can simply have them removed without fuss or controversy. And that’s what they are at the point that most women surgically terminate a pregnancy—non-sentient cells.
But despite the fact that a woman must go through immense discomfort throughout pregnancy and delivery, and then almost always be the primary caregiver for the baby she brings into the world, everyone and their grandpa seems to want to infringe on our bodily autonomy and force us to go through with the pregnancies and motherhood that we do not want for ourselves. The same people would never dream of infringing on the rights of a corpse and harvestings its organs, even if those organs could save another life, but with women it’s somehow a group decision.
“Equalism” doesn’t make sense because men have never faced similar struggles. Equalism conveniently forgets the history of women’s fight for societal rights, and evades the ongoing political struggle that activists wage to this very day. Equalism sugarcoats a bitter reality that is the life of many a woman that you know and love.
Do you really believe in equalism, my MRA friend? Then any time a little boy wants to wear pink, or a dress, or a pink dress, jump in and say, “Yes! You should absolutely be allowed to wear that because boys and girls are EQUAL!” When two gay men want to adopt a child more than anything but are facing discrimination because of their sexuality, jump in and say, “Yes! Your ability to love and nurture have nothing to do with your sexuality! You are EQUAL to any heterosexual parent!” When a male buddy confesses to loving bubble baths and lavender lotion, you say, “Yes! Toxic masculinity can kiss my butt because you are no less of a man for liking those things! Your likes can absolutely be EQUAL to those of any woman!”
Unless and until you’re willing to put your activism where your meninist mouth is and stand up for the “equalism” you so ardently vouch for, it’s feminism. With a capital F.
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