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Egalitarianism is, technically speaking, a trend of thought that favours equality for all people. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English: either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights; or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. However, in recent years it has been used by anti-feminists to justify their opposition to feminism and female quotas being on the basis of equality.
Relation to feminism
According to some feminists[note 1]
“”Claiming to be an egalitarian but not a feminist is a distinction without a difference.
“”"Egalitarian" has become a buzzword anti-feminist MRAs use to pretend to be progressive. In their minds, everyone has an equal opportunity and therefore feminism (and other progressive movements) is unnecessary, rather than recognizing how not everyone gets an equal outcome out of that initial equal opportunity.
This is fallacious reasoning. One of the fallacies made by the arguer is illicit conversion. This is a formal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that because "all A's are B's, all B's are A's". To understand why this is a fallacy, let's say A is elephant and B is mammal. It is true that all elephants are mammals, but it is not true all mammals are elephants. In the case of egalitarianism and feminism, an argument could be made that all egalitarians are feminists because egalitarians promote "equality for all" and females would be included within that "all". Arguing that all feminists are egalitarians is not true, however, because there are people who describe themselves as feminists who do not believe in equality for all. Thus "Claiming to be an egalitarian but not a feminist is a distinction without a difference." is false because it causes one to commit the illicit conversion fallacy.
The other fallacy committed by the arguer is an ad hominem attack against people who self-describe themselves as egalitarians and MRAs (a.k.a. men's rights activists). There is nothing philosophically wrong with the view that by promoting equality for all, this will also create equality for females. In essence, the feminist is trying to dismiss the egalitarian view that feminism is redundant and unnecessary if one promotes egalitarianism by attacking those who make such arguments with insults. Such insults do not counteract the legitimacy of the initial claim.
- Assuming that whoever wrote on this stub before May 29, 2018 was a feminist, which appears quite likely based upon the person's verbiage.
- Egalitarian | Define Egalitarian at Dictionary.com
- Egalitarianism - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
- The American Heritage Dictionary (2003). "egalitarianism".
- John Gowdy (1998). Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment. St Louis: Island Press. p. 342. ISBN 1-55963-555-X.
- Dahlberg, Frances. (1975). Woman the Gatherer. London: Yale university press. ISBN 0-30-002989-6.
- Erdal, D. & Whiten, A. (1996) "Egalitarianism and Machiavellian Intelligence in Human Evolution" in Mellars, P. & Gibson, K. (eds) Modeling the Early Human Mind. Cambridge MacDonald Monograph Series
- "A scientist's view: why I'm an equalist and not a feminist". The Guardian. 2013.
- David Cameron justifies his feminism on the grounds of being an "equalist".