Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Feminist and Equalist 

Feminism and equalism are two similar concepts that are often confused with one another. In fact, both feminists and equalists strive for equal rights among all individuals, although feminists seem to emphasize more the differences and inequalities between men and women, whereas equalists take a broader and more general approach to the matter. Feminists start from the assumption that women are generally in an underprivileged position compared to men, and fight for women to be able to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as their male counterparts.

Conversely, equalists believe that focusing on women’s rights rather than on universal rights means implicitly asserting that women are more important than men. For this reason, equalists fight for equal rights for all, regardless of gender, race, sex, age, and physical features. Therefore, while both movements are involved in the promotion of equal rights, feminism focuses on women’s rights, highlighting the need of equal treatment and opportunities between men and women, while equalism employs a broader and more comprehensive approach, promoting equal rights for all, without distinctions.

 

What is a Feminist?

The feminist movement has developed throughout the years, empowering women all over the world and promoting equal rights between men and women. In most societies, women continue to face gender-related challenges and remain underprivileged in many aspects when compared to their male counterpart. In most developed countries, the gender divide has narrowed in the past few decades, although several societies around the world continue to promote a male-dominated culture, restricting possibilities for girls and women, especially in the education and work environments. Even in the most developed countries, significant pay gaps between genders persist, and women continue to face serious challenges related to paid maternity leave and support during and after their pregnancy.

All those issues – and many more – have led to the emergence of the so-called feminist movement, advocating for gender equality and addressing some of the key aspects that characterize gender differences and inequalities. Feminists fight for equal pay and equal opportunities, they argue against the objectification of women’s bodies and promote freedom of choice, highlighting the importance of adequate health care support and non-restricting abortion laws.

While the feminist movement has gathered a conspicuous number of supporters during the years, some critics that believe that feminists believe that women are superior to men, and that they do not actually strive for equality, but rather for women’s superiority.

 

What is an Equalist?

Equalists advocate for equal rights for all, regardless of gender, race, sex, age or physical abilities. They do not base their fight for equality on specific groups or categories of people – like feminists do – but rather believe that every individual should enjoy the same opportunities and the same rights in a universal sense. Some equalists criticize feminists for narrowing down their focus to women’s rights, just as much as they criticize LGBTI advocates or people fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities. According to the equalist perspective, there should be no such categorization, because all individuals are the same, be their men or women, homosexual or heterosexual, old or young, disabled or not. Indeed, the equalist perspective includes in itself the feminist fight, but takes a much broader approach to human and civil rights.

The foundation of the equalist movement can be found in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights.” The UDHR is the key text outlining the basic and fundamental human rights for all individuals, avoiding any type of distinction and categorization.

 

Similarities between Feminist and Equalist

Feminism and equalism are two powerful social movements that advocate for equality and equal rights. While feminists take a women-centered approach, equalists rise above all social categorization, advocating for universal equality for all. Despite this key difference, there are a number of aspects in common between the two doctrines, including:

Rights-centered approach:

both equalism and feminism focus on achieving a more just and equal society, where all individuals can enjoy the same opportunities and the same rights, even though feminists start from the assumption that men already have more opportunities and rights compared to women;

Nature:

both equalism and feminism are social movements supported by millions of people around the world. Even though all societies are different, these movements create a sense of communion that brings together people of various backgrounds. Women in the U.S. and women in Oman live in very different conditions – as do women in India, Australia, China or Ethiopia – but feminist ideals are spread across the world, and women everywhere fight for their rights. in the same way, equalists fight for better and more just societies everywhere in the world, regardless of their geographic location; and

Strategies:

feminists and equalists use similar strategies to achieve their goals. They lobby and promote their ideas through protests and manifests, they fight against stereotypes, cultural barriers and close-minded visions, promoting equality and universality of rights.

 

Difference between Feminist and Equalist

Feminists and equalists are socially engaged and committed in achieving a more equal and just society, but they have slightly different perspectives on equality. Feminism is women-centered and starts from the assumption that women are in an underprivileged position compared to men, and that those differences are visible in all aspects of their social and private life. Therefore, feminists advocate for equality between men and women, stressing the need for women to enjoy the same opportunities and rights of their male counterparts. Conversely, equalists ignore all social categorization, taking a broader approach and promoting equal rights for all. Some of the key differences between the two movements include:

Negative reinforcement:

Feminists are often accused of considering women superior to men. Critics believe that, should feminists achieve all their goals, society would remain unbalanced and unequal, as women would enjoy more rights than men. Conversely, there is no negative reinforcement in equalism, as all individuals are considered equal, regardless of sex, gender, age and physical appearance. In the equalist approach, everyone starts from the same level, and everyone is considered in the same way, without prejudice or bias; and

“The other”:

In the equalist perspective, there is no “other” as everyone is equal and there are no categorizations. Conversely, feminists often see men as “the other,” although it is worth noting that there are various degrees of feminism, with some activists taking a more radical approach and others maintaining a moderate perspective.

Feminist vs Equalist

Building on the differences highlighted in the previous section, we can identify few other aspects that differentiate a feminist from an equalist.

 

Summary of Feminist vs Equalist

Feminism is a social movement that fights for women’s rights, advocating for more comprehensive and just societies, where women and girls can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men. Similarly, equalism advocates for equal and just societies, where everyone can enjoy the same rights. Despite some key similarities, the two movements are quite different: feminism starts from the assumption that women are in an underprivileged position compared to men – and therefore there is a clear need to promote women’s rights – whereas equalism looks at all individuals in the same way, promoting equality regardless of people’s sex, gender, age or physical features. While feminists take a women-centered approach, equalists employ a broader and more comprehensive perspective, eliminating the risk of negative reinforcement against “the other” (i.e. in feminism, men are “the other”) but simply trying to achieve equality as described in the 1949 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


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1 Comment

  1. In an entry where you are trying to provide a balanced view of both terms, I’m not sure why you included a flag equating feminists with Nazis. You compared and contrasted things fairly well up to that point, but the flag made me lose interest.

    I did search for “Nazi” (with zero results) and at least your text doesn’t use that term nor ones that incorporate it. Please consider removing that image. Thank you.

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References :


[0]Assembly, UN General. "Universal declaration of human rights." UN General Assembly (1948).

[1]Butler, Judith. "Performative acts and gender constitution: An essay in phenomenology and feminist theory." The Routledgefalmer Reader in Gender & Education. Routledge, 2006. 73-83.

[2]Phillips, Anne. "Feminism and equality." (1987).

[3]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_equality#/media/File:Igualtat_de_sexes.svg

[4]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/149704400@N07/35383755286

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