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Feminism is traditionally defined as the movement that aims towards liberating women. This is not to be confused with egalitarianism which is about the promotion of equality. A lot of people might argue that feminism and egalitarianism are the same thing but I’m here to tell you why it’s not and why it shouldn’t be.

First of all, if we are to analyze the etymological structure of the word feminism, then we would find that feminism is a combination of the prefix “Fem-” for female and the suffix “-ism” for pertaining to something (in this case, it is females) which would make the linguistic definition of the word be “that which pertains to women”. This is why in my opinion it would be dishonest to claim that the definition of feminism and equality are the same thing because the basic rules of grammar would have to be discarded and considered meaningless. I predict that one of you at this point is going to come up and state that “Equality between men and women can be a woman’s concern”. Not exactly, because adding men to the mix only serves to change the word from its original grammatical definition, which is something politicians and activists do a little too frequently in my opinion. For this reason, feminists should not concern themselves with the affairs of men, just as we men, as a lot of feminists like to claim, should not concern ourselves with the affairs of women. Of course, there is an obvious exception to this, which is when the actions of one infringe upon the autonomy of the other.

Second, egalitarianism is the concept that all are equal under law, which is in itself a pretty unrealistic and stupid concept for many reasons, but I will tackle the main one which is the inevitability of inequality. If we are to look into the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, one of his major criticisms of egalitarianism is that inequality is a part of nature and that hierarchies are inevitable (read his On the Genealogy of Morals, if you want a more detailed explanation with historical references). The concept of egalitarianism is antithetical to what has been learned throughout the history of humanity because inequality has always existed and will always exist. To give a pretty obvious example, can you argue that you and the president of the US are equal under the law? Of course, you couldn’t, that would be ridiculous. There is a good reason why you aren’t equal: because it is necessary.

Third, the primary goal that women should be seeking is their freedom to do what they like, not to become equal to men, because otherwise, feminism would be what Nietzsche would call, a slave morality: The slave morals in this case being the concepts of redemption and equality. If your only reason for wanting something is because another person has it, then to be frank, I think you are completely pathetic. The primary reason that Susan B Anthony fought for the right for women to vote wasn’t because “men can vote so we should too”. It was because to vote in this case meant that she as a woman had a voice through which she can influence change. Equality might have been a secondary motive but the liberation of women has always been the primary and most important goal.

Finally, to be treated equally is not desirable. An obvious way to explain this would be to analyze the qualities of each gender and how they interact with one another. Allow me to ask a simple question: Would you hit a woman the same way you do a man? If your answer is yes, then you are simply a disgusting individual or you are simply being disingenuous (which is natural when answering a hypothetical, so don’t worry). The obvious reason you won’t do so is because it would be unnecessarily harmful and also because of the fact that women are possibly more sensitive to pain than men (see here).

To conclude, it is a wiser course of action that modern feminism shift its focus from equality to its original and primary goal, the liberation of women.

Published by Omar Jamal