Thursday, 23 April 2015

Parody Week 2: Mara Wilson Writes Stuff

Hi. My name is Mara. Sometimes I write stuff.

──────────────────────────────── April 23 2015 ────────────────────────────────

Why I Prefer Feminism

by Matt

Before we get started - I am not Mara Wilson. I considered calling this parody blog post "Matt Anderson Writes Stuff", but that goes without saying. Also, no matter what I do here, Mara Wilson does Write Stuff, just because she didn't write this stuff doesn't mean that the title is inaccurate; I could have also called it "People Sit in Chairs", but I don't really think that's a blog worth parodying . . .
Now, although I'm not Mara Wilson, we do have a lot in common. For starters, I don't star in as many movies these days either. For another thing, I also write stuff, and we both have names starting in "Ma-" and ending in "-son". But finally, most importantly - and also most relevant to this post - we are both Feminists.

Some people think this is odd. Not that Miss Wilson & I have so much in common, nobody cares about that, but rather, the fact that I am a Feminist. After all Feminism is obviously the purview of females (i.e. Mara Wilson, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti, Priya Sridhar, et al.), but I am not one of them. And, I mean, it's got "fem-" right there in the name, how could feminism possibly be anything but a female issue?
Well, it's simple, really, see, the definition of the word Feminist is "an advocate of equal rights and opportunities for women"; and because of the nature of equality, there's no way to have equality for women without having equality for men. I've even covered this in an earlier post that wasn't written during parody week . . . so, that being the case, why am I writing about it now?
Well, there's a recent phenomenon that I'd like to address, because it seems like people are confused about this issue, and so they're trying to further confuse the issue to make some kind of sense out of it. In a nutshell, there's a new problem of people people calling themselves "Egalitarian". Don't get me wrong, the ideology isn't new, and neither is the word, but there's this recent habit of people who have starting call themselves "Egalitarian" in lieu of calling themselves "Feminist". This is, purely and simply, wrong. Let me start by saying, I am never going to call myself an Egalitarian. This is for two reasons:

  1. "Feminist" has half of the syllables and three less letters than "Egalitarian", so it's easier to say and write.
  2. "Egalitarianism" is not what you think it is.
Some people may read that and get confused. After all, we're talking about equality, it's right there in the name! Sure, it's French, but some people anglicize it to Equalitarianism, so surely this is the superior term, right?
Well, no. Let's back up a bit. I've explained Feminism's definition, so, what is the definition of Egalitarianism? Well, Egalitarianism is the belief, or expression of the belief, in the equality of all people. That's all well and good, right? Well, the problem is that it's ignorant of the intent of the word. Feminism was created to combat sexism, particularly misogyny; and it has a history of doing so. Egalitarianism on the other hand was created to combat classism, particularly hierarchy; and it has no demonstrable effects on history, because it's merely a philosophy, it isn't a practical ideology.

Egalitarianism believes that everyone should be equal, politically, economically and socially. But do you know what that actually means?
Political Egalitarianism is the belief that everyone should have equal power; That means the decentralization of power and in practice this is Anarchism, or in some cases, Communism.
Economic Egalitarianism is the belief that everyone should have equal money. This means equality-of-outcome which is the redistribution of wealth, no matter your contribution.
Social Egalitarianism is the belief that everyone has equal worth or merit. Most commonly, this is known as social justice, and ignores the subjective distinctiveness between individual persons.

I won't lie, I'm salt-coating some of this, some Egalitarian principles have merit, but only within their separate contexts, not as a whole. If you'll allow a simile, I believe that it's the same as Socialism: on a wide scale, Socialism fails as the practices are poorly distributed and lopsided; but, socialistic principles such as socialized medicine or socialized education, can be beneficial.
Similarly, on the whole, hardline Egalitarianism requires either surrendered liberty or contradictory policy with results in inequality or inequity, but Egalitarian practices, such as interfaith co-operation,  or feminism, have proof positive that they are beneficial.

Okay okay, we're getting a bit politic-heavy, even I'm feeling tired after reading that. Let's get out of ideology and politics into the real world. Because I can hear you already, dissenters . . .
  "But that's not what it means," you seem to say, in that artificial, straw-man way. "That's all ideological deadweight; pragmatically speaking, meaning is defined by function, and if people use the word to mean 'belief in social equality', then that is what the word means."

Y'know, that is a fair point, and in retrospect, I wish that I had considered that before I did all that research on Egalitarian politics (ugh . . .). But, do you know what's a fairer point?
That's what I've been saying this whole time about Feminism. If you believe that words should not be weighed down by negative meanings which they have had in the past, then it's only fair that you grant the Feminist ideology the same grace; which means that any negativity around Feminism is a moot point.
But moreso, let's get down to the Hard Truth about Egalitarianism - that's not how it's used in practice. I have seen people that use this term, and it is always used to dismiss Feminists; but that is Anti-egalitarian. The sentiment "I believe in equality for everyone - not just women - because Feminists are wrong" is not Egalitarian, it's exclusionary and elitist. But more importantly, if we're judging meaning by usage, then Egalitarianism it's just the new face of Men's Rights Activists - even if they espouse togetherness, the conception of this idea was the same as MRA, to contrast with Feminism and exclude it from the conversation by identifying it as "the one with those crazy women in it".

So, in conclusion, yes, I believe in racial, generational, gender, sexual, disabled & legal equality, but there are other less cumbersome labels that I can use to define those facets of my personal ideology. And I don't believe in equality in everything, not in experience, physicality, wisdom, morality, ideology, philosophy or skill. And most importantly: The reason why I prefer Feminism is because I do not believe that Feminists and Egalitarians are equal, one is the practice of an ideology with demonstrated benefit, and the other is a philosophy that's fun to think about, but falls flat when faced with the real world.

Before I go, there's one final facet of the "Mara Wilson Writes Stuff" blogs that I look forward to recreating on this blog post . . .