Oh for the love of the goddess I get this message numerous times every day.
Aside from the fact that we don’t have to take all words literally, which I would have thought was obvious, but apparently not, this is why I think egalitarianism (although admittedly sometimes well-meaning) is in fact useless and actually counter productive to the goal of equality:
Egalitarians approach the issues of inequality with the false impression that we all started off equal to begin with. This way of thinking is majorly and obviously (I should think?) flawed.
For example, you have a rich person and a poor person. The first has multiple flashy sports cars, three homes, takes many gorgeous holidays every year, can afford all the latest gadgets, and still has cash to spare every month. The second is living on minimum wage, does not have enough money to afford/maintain even a cheap car, can barely feed their children on the small salary they are on, and is struggling to survive and provide for their family.
If someone gave me one thousand pounds and told me to distribute this money between the two people in a way I thought was fair, I would have to give all one thousand to the poor person, because they are the one that needs it. One thousand would mean little to the rich person who earns more than that per day. It would mean a month of paying basic living costs for the poor person.
I think most people would agree with this decision.
Now imagine the poor person is a woman in a patriarchal society and the rich person is a man.
Women are the ones who suffer the most from gender inequality. When men are hurt under patriarchy on the basis of their gender it is because they are displaying traditionally ‘feminine’ traits or behaviour. See male rape victims, male victims of domestic abuse, men being mocked for crying, men being expected to be hyper sexual, men not being aggressive or assertive as they ‘should be’ under patriarchal gender roles and ideals.
Once we understand that both problems stem from a lack of respect for women and a cultural attitude of demeaning and degrading them, we can better try to help the situation.
Women are unquestionably suffering far more under patriarchy. This is not even debatable. Of course men suffer too, but this is whenever they stray from toxic masculinity.
Therefore, we have to support women. That is the only way the problem can be solved. We help the person in most need. This is ESPECIALLY important when in helping this person you will also end up helping everyone else!
Back to my analogy. I would give my help to the woman who is in most need.
Now the man might be unhappy for other reasons. In fact his wealth might even have backfired and made him unable to appreciate the little things in life. He might feel empty because he can purchase whatever he wants.
Is his problem going to be solved by giving him more money?
Are either of the problems going to be solved by giving them the same amount of money/help/whatever the hell I’m using for this analogy?
No, that would only further support the inequality between the man and the woman.
He can quite easily give away his power/money if he wants. (You can see what I’m getting at here, right? That men have more power under patriarchy and therefore if it backfires on them they have an option that women don’t. To work to change it from their position of privilege.)
Basically (and I do not know why I rambled like that it is late and I doubt I’ve been particularly articulate, but I hope you get my meaning) I believe we need to help the person in most need. Or the group in most need.
And I don’t mean that in the sense of some misery grading system or trying to pit oppressed groups against each other. I mean in the sense that the oppressed must be supported and the privileged must not, simply because they have the power in the situation already and giving them more power only furthers the inequality.
So I don’t believe egalitarianism will achieve equality. It’s a nice thought (from some egalitarians, although not all) but in terms of actually making progress it doesn’t stand. It won’t do anything about institutionalised inequality or cultural attitudes.
In a situation where one group is in trouble and the other is benefiting from that, it would be morally wrong to treat both the same. It’s no good giving the privileged the same as the oppressed because they will only continue to use said privilege to further oppress and the oppressed will remain where they are forever and ever.
(This is long and I am sorry for that. Ignore any parts where I don’t make sense. Anyone can add to this if they think they can be more coherent than me, which will not be hard.)
Feminism is the only way to create equality/liberation/a generally nicer society.
Egalitarianism is the easy way to be everybody’s friend and manage to achieve nothing in the process.