Posted by: Jack | October 10, 2007

Feminism: An Onomastic Blunder

No, I am not a bigot. I do not oppose the pursuit of equal rights for females or any historically oppressed categorization of people. I do believe that the biological differences between the sexes do need to be more widely accepted and considered when pursuing equality but that’s a different subject. Staying on track, I oppose the way in which the terms “feminism” and “feminist” are used to label the pursuit of equal rights for all people. Consider how the general public would receive a movement of the same philosophy but under the title of “masculinism”?

Is it really that hard to come up with a term which is not literally and connatatively biased? How about “humanism”? Nope, that’s already taken. Maybe “equalism”? Doesn’t really have a solid ring to it but does that really matter? I wouldn’t mind labeling myself as an equalist.

And while I’m on the subject, how about we do away with the rest of the anti-discrimination organizations which are inherently discriminatory? What I’m going to say next is certainly politically incorrect but if you’re unwilling to consider anything thats not “PC” I’m probably not worried about your opinion anyway. Let’s use an example of an organization that everyone knows; the NAACP. Their mission statement is clearly directed towards the equality of all people rather than the advancement of colored people as their title infers. Now I can’t say this for sure but it would be my educated guess that the NAACP generally puts most of their effort into ensuring equal rights specifically for African Americans. There is nothing ethically wrong with this but why should a group pursuant of equality have a focus population? In order to signify a select group that an organization intends to assist, differences must be recognized and defined. Again, I’m not sure how the NAACP goes about defining “colored people” but I’d be willing to bet that they do so by some means. A common defense of this tact is to argue that the goal is not to ignore differences but rather understand and accept them. But, let’s look at this idea a bit. Continuing with the above example, let’s say that an African American and a white American (seems that the term Caucasian has gone out of style) are competing for the same job as an office assistant. These two individuals have at least some minor biological differences (this statement would apply to any two people, save for identical twins) but a job such as this in no way requires a specific physical trait that is not common among all humans. As such, taking the biological difference into account is decidedly wrong. Further, treating the two individuals differently in any way because of their biological difference could be construed as racism. But why should the employer be expected to recognize and accept that there is a difference between these two people that is based upon their “race” yet not allow this acceptance to influence his actions in anyway? Either there is a relevant difference or there isn’t. In this case, there isn’t. And my argument is that in cases regarding rights, there is never a relevant difference based upon race since the concept of race is arbitrarily defined. So why not do away with organizations whose existence implies that certain groups of people, although inherently equal, require extra assistance in assuring their equality.

So how about a step in the more general direction? The ACLU does what it can to ensure the constitutional rights of all Americans, regardless of any further categorization. That seems pretty good to me. Maybe in the distant future they could drop the “A” and become a global organization but I can see how that would complicate things.

There was a South Park episode about this and it made a very good point. Discrimination is the human condition. If I don’t get a long with you, I will act differently towards you than I would towards a friend. But discrimination based upon generalization is learned and too often, taught. Generalizing about groups of people, even in an attempt to ensure equal rights, only propagates the idea that generalizing is a valid and acceptable means of determining a person’s merit.


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