Across all the social justice or social equality movements, there are some that are extremely narrowly-minded and others which aim at a broader concept of the term “equality”. The more narrow fields typically are with regards of a specific trait. For example: The LGBTQ activists have their parade every year to remind the world that they exist, and that they do have stigma based on their lifestyle. The Black Lives Matter movement exists to promote awareness of the oppression black individuals suffer from in America.
Now, with these in place, there has always been a reverse mindset, which either wished to conserve the status quo or go back to “how it was before” these people manifested their outrage in the streets. Typically, you’ll notice that those who complain about such things are those who are already in a sizeable amount of privilege. The idea here is that if X was able to pull themselves from a pile of poop, then everyone can. I’ve spoken about this meritocratic view of the world in my post about Status Anxiety, and how detrimental it is to humanity as a whole.
My problem with such views are not that they do not agree with the notion that LGBTQ people has any relevance, but that they oppose this view of a more narrowly-defined inequality with a broader, less sensitive sense of equality. Namely, that of “Egalitarianism”. It being within the spectrum of humanism, the egalitarian mindset typically refers to the belief that all humans, regardless of sex, should be equal. On paper, it is therefore a rather ennobling position and should have all the support of those seeking equal rights.
Unfortunately, those who promote themselves as being “egalitarians” are phenomenally short-sighted, in their world-view. Often times, they will refer to the equality sought after by these more narrow movements as “already acquired”, and that only broader brushes are necessary to further tie humanity together. As such they therefore work AGAINST these movements, who also seek equality for all, undermining the efforts being deployed en masse by these groups. In essence, the so-called egalitarians are actually anti-social justice and social equality, when it affects their world view.
The reality is therefore that these individuals are misguided in their beliefs. It also hides a nastier underside, which obviously calls for the maintaining of the status quo, and therefore of privilege already acquired. Those who would call themselves egalitarians normally do so in reaction to a given outcry by a specific group. The #BLM hashtag is met with #ALM hashtag or the #BlueLivesMatter hashtag. Feminists who publish papers regarding rape culture, are met with #NotAllMen hashtags.
Retaliating in such a manner is only done so dishonestly, because no one in either movements are suggesting that, for instance, no other lives but black lives matter. They do not encourage the murder of police officers. A hashtag that says “not all men” basically means that the individuals making their research should appeal to the sensibility of those men who are not in fact rapists. That is to say that there is also a dire need to educate individuals on the nature of “rape culture”, as it is unfortunately branded as a culture in which every woman is raped and every man is a rapist.
Such is not the case, and those who would claim it is are normally those in the “not all men” camp, in an attempt to straw-man the entire feminist operation and paint it in a much more grim light than it actually is. One needs but take a moment to read feminist papers on issues pertaining to sexism or patriarchy to notice that the goal isn’t to silence men, nor to emasculate men. It is to make life easier for both men AND women.
Yet the egalitarians will feel it necessary to add an asterisk; that feminists are only concerned with WOMEN’s rights, and thus… It is logical to see the Men’s Rights Movement grow in power, as if to usurpate the controversy around feminism, and centralize every issue as a men’s rights issue, rather than a woman’s. The very voluntary mistake here is that feminism is not concerned with only women’s rights, it is concerned with equality between genders, and it has been shown through history and sociology that gender equality has not yet been reached.
Normally, this insufficience originates from women, with regards to men and a society primarily managed by men, for men, with women holding a very minimal role, as nurses, mothers, kindergarteners, teachers, accountants, secretaries, etc… Essentially, women are typically constrained to the soft sciences, where they are in majority. It should not come as a surprise then, that egalitarians will typically find that sociology is a “pseudoscience” and that none of what it has produced should be taken seriously… Although it has, with good effect.
Deductively, we can safely assume that the same individuals who accuse feminism of overusing the word “misogyny” are the ones who are guilty of it the most. Philosophers of Human Rights are among the first to have actually expressed outright misogyny against women and anything they undertook that was not in the household. The same occurs here, but under hypocritical veils, where those who decry sciences followed by women (and therefore feminists) in majority should not be taken seriously. Ironically, these same individuals will not understand the implications of what they are saying.
We can easily determine that the “egalitarians” are simply here to maintain their privilege in front of the disabled, the discriminated and the oppressed. A familiar tactic from egalitarians is to proceed with any argument through sealioning. In their view, this is a virtuous form of skepticism which they believe the social equality movements to have not one; they have merely begun to believe through faith that they are oppressed and have never once bothered to investigate whether they really are.
A very clear downside to this tactic however, is that this is a mere masquerade . The act is to convince whoever you are discoursing with that there is no amount of seriousness surrounding their claim or to tirelessly ask for more evidence, as if the evidence before was not convincing enough. You’ll notice that this tactic also involves misrepresenting, misinterpreting and misunderstanding the evidence in a way to make it seem illegitimate, even when it comes from scholarly sources.
As such, the violent denial of the existence of oppression against social classes casts a weary shadow over the pretense of greater virtue from the egalitarians. Why would they pretend to be for equality between all genders, if they refuse to recognize the very real effects of socio-cultural oppression from the vastly heteronormative societies in which they exist?
The answer lies within the word “heretonormativity” itself: Privilege that must be kept at all costs, although those who engage in such dishonest tactics to undermine the efforts of said social justice groups do genuinely feel they have a better view of the world. They do not act in this manner knowing that they do more harm than good.
History is a very good reminder of such actions from the privileged few upon an unwitting majority. The “savages”, named so by the humanitarians of the 17th and 18th century, when North America was being extensively explored and developed; the indians extensively oppressed and murdered both literally and culturally, there were some who thought that the occidentals were doing the world a favor, by showing the originally free tribes a taste of imperialism.
In the view of these occidentals, the savages did not know the misery of their predicament, and it was up to the “modern man” to free him of his slumber, by showing him the wonders of technology, academia, seafaring… Voltaire held such a view, so did Rousseau, so did Schopenhauer. All of them viewed the savage in some kind of positive light. They saw him as free of all the injustice that is the modern world, though you could argue that Schopenhauer did not much care. In his view however, he saw much irony in the way they were portrayed by newspapers and then-scholars, as their world was full of contradictions itself.
There have been societies which were matriarchal, in the past. A frequent misconception of heteronormative arguments is that the patriarchy is the norm, and as such it is foolish to consider it anything other than natural. Would I ask, like the communist to the capitalist, that we should revert to a matriarchal society? Of course not. I believe any form of normativity oriented toward gender roles is poisonous to society as a whole. There can be no equality so long as we continue to deny the reality that men are only considered men, in our society when they perform along certain rigid norms. Step out of those, and you become less of a man and more of a woman, which becomes wrong and riddled with stigma.
I have provided a lot of referral sources for this article, as I feel it is important to provide as much documentation for those in the egalitarian camp. I must note that the study I have quoted toward the stigma men feel when they act as anything other than men, is from Thailand. Despite this, there is no reason to believe the stigma is any less great in our Western world. America is not the land of the free. One may only have to read Chomsky, or look at the WikiLeaks track record or even Snowden. We may also look at how even in Canada, the government will release ads that simply do not bind with the times (linked is an ad poster which suggests that despite LGBTQ protests, people should realize what gender they are deep inside, and drink according to it – disregarding the fact that it is not gender but weight that has something to do with alcohol intake and tolerance).
The road has not yet been completely paved, and I would invite the egalitarians to truly do some introspection at what they think to be solid arguments, when in reality, history and science both discredit their arguments that our work has been done. Progress does not exist, but in order to shift paradigms, we must move forward. In doing so, people will be bothered, and their privileges will be stripped from them, but a privilege is not a right. If it can be removed to equalize the playing field, I see not a thing wrong with it. As it stands, there is an immense amount of support for the status quo, and its gain in momentum suggests the message has yet to be heard by the egalitarians: Equality has not been reached, and your resistance to it demonstrates why it hasn’t.