Why I want feminism and not equality (and why they are not the same thing)

Unlike equalists, feminists do not want men to share their oppression


How many feminists believe they are working towards equality? How many men self-define as equalists over feminists? Equality is almost universally accepted as the definition of feminism. But the term equality has never been questioned.

I am a feminist and I do not strive for equality. I support liberation. The defenders of equality espouse moderate feminist principles: equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity with no special considerations i.e. positive discrimination, failure is down to the individual, and above all, women must embrace hierarchal work structures where the job always comes first. Equality takes the male status quo as the standard to which women aspire.

To be equal, women have to show they are strong enough to live up to men’s standards in a man’s world. Backers of equality cheer as women enlist in institutionally discriminatory police forces, join the military in invading other countries and committing war crimes, train for the roughest of men’s sports whether its dangerous and cruel horse racing, or life-threatening cage fighting.

Once women have joined male dominated areas of work, nobody asks why anybody regardless of gender would work in these repressive institutions. The crux of the matter is that men live and work in a brutal society, which is maintained through stratified social order based on ritual humiliation, gentleman’s clubs, fights, rites of passage, sexism, and banter.

When women enter the male realm whether law, politics, or a construction site, they find themselves in a repugnant world in which their only means of survival is by undergoing a fundamental transformation leaving them with little opportunity to make any change. We see this manifested in descriptions of women professionals as harsher than men. Assertive women are seen as aggressive bitches.

It is impossible to alter male spheres, which are resistant to outside interference, because women are a minority that could be cut out at anytime, and men have vested interests in preserving the status quo.

The Equality Act 2010, which replaced the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, was designed to give the false impression that women’s subjugation had been legally acknowledged. Political support was gathered because politicians knew no great changes would ensue. Equality legislation exists throughout Europe but nowhere is there equality.

The attitude of the legal profession to equality is best shown by the number of women Attorney Generals over the years: one women in contrast to 202 men. The Act is barely enforceable due to extortionate legal costs and severe costs to time. Of 89 per cent of women health care workers who experience sexual harassment, barely 1 per cent initiate legal actions because they know that regardless of whether they win or lose they will be branded a troublemaker and all hopes of a promotion will be dashed.

The Act is a handmaiden to equality as it strikes down attempts at positive discrimination. Equalists refuse to support positive discrimination; instead they believe in equal treatment and equal outcomes. Here, a contradiction emerges, equalists support 50: 50 men and women in institutions but women will not be recruited in large numbers because ‘equality’ laws have made quotas illegal.

Other unequal situations arise from the equalist debate. A right to maternity leave or an abortion is not an equal right, women are requesting discrimination because of their gendered differences. A woman will never be equal to a man because she can never be the same, and gendered distinctiveness is not valued by equalists.

Arguing about equality or difference results in a debate that drains the life out of the feminist movement. Men plead both equality and difference when it is to their benefit. They argue equality when they want paternity leave, and difference when they want to be paid more prize money for sports.

The equality and difference argument is banal. Equality would be cruel to men if they were treated equal to women: men’s genitals would be sliced up, annual rape of men would increase from 9,000 to 69,000, male prostitution would soar, men’s penises would be sprawled across page 3, men would stroll down the catwalk with their penises hanging out, and the Labour Party would roll out pink vans to attract women voters and blue vans to entice male voters.

Unlike equalists, feminists do not want men to share their oppression.

The equalist debate is one way of preserving patriarchy, whereas feminism seeks to give power to women on their own terms – not mens. This is why I am a feminist, not an equalist. Equality is harmful to women and most men, as they are required to replicate behaviours that are degrading and dehumanising. Once women buy into the masculine terms of society, our civilization will become crueler than ever expected.

Men hold the balance of power. Power is granted in the wrong ways, and used for the wrong ends. Change can come about by redefining and redistributing power, breaking down hierarchal structures, and reevaluating the criteria designed by men.

*This piece was inspired by two of the greatest feminist thinkers of our time, Germaine Greer and Catherine MacKinnon

Charlotte Rachael Proudman is a barrister in human rights law and a PhD candidate in law and sociology researching FGM at the University of Cambridge

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243 Responses to “Why I want feminism and not equality (and why they are not the same thing)”

  1. BetaKing69

    Still, a woman can reproduce without feeling pleasure, if you cut off a penis it is pretty obvious that having babies eventually becomes a side show,.

  2. Kendall

    LOL and yet this account is the one deleted.

  3. Mytheroo

    100% of the fastest humans alive are men. How are you going to quota for that?

    You have no idea what men think, have no idea what they value in other men, give no reason why there should be more than 1 woman out of 202 whatevers, falsely think equalists want equality of opportunity AND equality of outcome (they don’t because that is impossible).

    “greatest feminist thinkers”……not just the greatest thinkers of our time then? They probably only just made it onto the list of greatest thinkers in their own households

  4. NHLfarmteams

    I’m shocked that #1 didn’t garner more comments. While anecdotal in nature it is indicative of the double standards that come along with feminism in general. Feminism has done an exemplary job of keeping the pieces of Patriarchy it finds palatable and crapping on the rest. Patriarchy theory informs us that men are oppressors and women are victims. But it also portrays women as nurturers and men as producers (we wanna keep that part). The double standards are so glaringly obvious that only the truly obtusely brainwashed can’t see it.
    Were men in the 1940’s assumed to be pedophiles if they were interested in children? What’s changed? Could it be 50-60 years of classical conditioning where men are viewed as social pariahs? Could be that even one of the most powerful men in the world has abandoned all reason and flippantly refers to a 1 in 4 statistic that is so grossly inflated as to be laughable?
    Feminism has absolutely nothing to do with equality and never has, period. It is a movement by women (and a few mindless drones like the author of this piece) for women’s privilege. When surveys are created they are biased every time. The entire movement is supported by surveys stricken with confirmation bias. Do feminists care that HR departments are predominantly run by women, no. Are they trying to get more female ditch diggers, sewer workers, construction workers on highrises? No. Why? Because those are not privileged positions suitable for 2nd class citizens, men. We hear endlessly about the number (or lack there of) of women in elected government positions and as CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. Why? Because they are high profile power positions and they are the one’s feminists want. It’s the elephant in the room that no one is willing to talk about.
    The author is quite right that power has been handed out incorrectly in the past (nepotism is a far greater contributor than any feminist would ever admit because you know, sexism) but redistributing power based on genitalia makes about as much sense as Patriarchy theory.

  5. NHLfarmteams

    Because it’s not feminism. Feminism is not and has never been about equality. It solely focuses on areas where men are privileged and ignores where women are privileged. It is rife with surveys loaded with confirmation bias by so called “academic” feminists that cannot separate fact from their worldview. It is a reductionist ideology that refuses to acknowledge biological and societal imperatives.

    Feminism is more akin to a cult or religion. It chooses targets to create maximum empathy for the plight of women. It dresses it up by calling the actions the “fight for equality” when in actuality it is cherry picking. A movement for equality would not deride and dismiss another movement that was trying to reconcile the fact that men are 75% of the homeless, 80% of suicides and 90% of workplace deaths. A social movement for equality would be fighting to even out those numbers.

    So be a feminist if you want just don’t be surprised in the end when you and your movement are exposed as frauds and your legacy is one of disgust by anyone willing to think for a moment.

  6. Bob Roberts

    Seriously, someone who attends Cambridge could come up with this rubbish? I expected to scroll to the bottom and find some angry Gender Studies undergraduate at a second-rate ex-polytechnic, but this is ridiculous.

    “Equalists” do not support quotas because they believe in equality before the law, not equality of outcome. Businesses are not social services, and as a result, they hire the people whom are likely to make them the most money (“the best candidate for the job” – at least as the boss sees it). If the woman would make the business more money (through being more productive than the other candidates), would she seriously be disregarded in the name of petty sexism? Besides, quotas ensure that even if males would be the most productive candidates, they would be disregarded if the pre-existing workers were all male. It is for the same reason that the gender pay gap is bollocks; assuming that men and women are equally productive, their market rate of pay will be the same. If you pay less than the market rate, nobody will work for you. So if there is to be a gender pay gap, it has to be that men receive a “penis bonus”. And why on earth would any profit-motivated business bother wasting their resources paying more than the market rate? And the good news is, they don’t. The fact that the average women takes home 80% or thereabouts of what the average man takes home does not mean that women are being discriminated against. There are no stats to show that “equal pay for equal work” is not the case, and anyway, what is equal work?

    Men and women have equality before the law. There’s no point beating about the bush, if you support any further equality, you are a socialist (or moving towards it). Now I’m aware that this is a socialist website, but perhaps now people will at least acknowledge why opposing feminism does not make you a sexist. Especially when the assertions about how cruel and evil society is have nothing to back them up in this article. Yes, men and women make different choices. Yes, outcomes in life sometimes depend on things over which you have no control. But the examples of equality (of outcome), reductio ad absurdum, were matters of personal choice, other than rape and genital mutilation. But the former is a criminal issue (not one of the imaginary “patriarchy”), and the latter happens to men too. But somehow male circumcision is just another religious custom, whilst FGM is now a crime (for the avoidance of doubt, I think that both should be a crime, unless medically necessary).

  7. Bob Roberts

    That’s because unlike feminists, most normal people don’t see the genders as being groups of people who only share one of two brains in the world. We see people as individuals, and the individuals in power (thankfully, no longer in the UK), saw fit to conscript men. Other men don’t share responsibility. I am not responsible for every action of every male. So I reserve the right to complain about the behaviour of other men. Their gender is immaterial.

    The only reason conscription is wheeled out during feminist debates is to prove for once and for all that the patriarchy is the same as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. There is no such cabal of men plotting to oppress women simply for the fun of it. And other than a minority of S&M practitioners, there wouldn’t be much fun in doing so anyway.

    And I’m not an MRA. MRAs and Feminists are equally contemptible, whiny, irritating anti-individualists. I believe in equality before the law and in treating everyone according to the content of their character. And that is that.

  8. Bob Roberts

    The saddest thing of all is that most other feminst logic is that excruciatingly poor too.

  9. Rocky

    There is no genitalia on page 3, just breasts, why do you insist on equating penises and breasts?Not the same.

  10. kms

    Actually, they are the same, feminism fights for equality. You are simple minded and ignorant.

  11. Leandro A. Pezzente

    The only way to end oppresion is to obliterate all forms of collectivisms ( socialism, national socialism, populism, communism, marxism, cultural, etc ) from the face of the earth, since, they all lead invariably to authoritarian and fascist social structures.

  12. Whothehell Cares

    ” men’s genitals would be sliced up,” Ah, they are, and whats more its completely legal.
    Unless you think infant circumcision is the act of the foreskin just dropping off on its own accord at the wish of the parents.

  13. Good Ken

    Wrong. The frenulum and ridged bands are the most sensitive parts of the male penis. Removing these areas causes sexual dysfunction for countless men. Not only that, but it agony beyond description to do that to an infant.

  14. Whothehell Cares

    The type of FGM you describe (sewing up the vagina) is actually the rarest form of FGM.
    The most common form practiced is clitoral hood excision which is the exact female equivalent to MGM.

  15. Good Ken

    Wrong. The frenulum and ridged bands are the most sensitive parts of the male penis. Removing these areas causes sexual dysfunction for countless men. Not only that, but it agony beyond description to do that to an infant

  16. Whothehell Cares

    ” trying hard to weaken the case against FGM ”
    How can anyone weaken the case against infant/child FGM when it’s already completely illegal in western countries. Where are the hordes of people lobbying to make it legal?

    However, infant/child MGM is not only legal, but pervasive and even encouraged by many so-called medical practioners (butcher is the more appropriate name for them).

  17. MGTOW 4Ever

    If women got equality then they would enjoy much higher rates of suicide, combat deaths, be eligible for the draft/conscription, suffer more homelessness, suffer more injuries and deaths in the workplace. Not to mention life shorter, lose custody battles in divorce, get no alimony, do a lot more glass floor jobs aka 3D Jobs. AKA Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning.

    Yes this is the male privilege.

  18. Fraga123

    This woman is a scourge and a laughingstock of the legal profession.

  19. Doug Lefelhocz

    Male foreskin penectomy can definitely get compared with Type IV Female Genital Mutilation and it does come as more severe than Type IV Female Genital Mutilation.

  20. NatDaHat

    “Who makes that choice to conscript men?”


    Unless their street promotion for duvet fillings was seriously misinterpreted of course…

  21. FreedomFirst

    Women hold the balance of control. Control is granted in the wrong ways,and used for the wrong ends. Change can come about redefining and redistributing control, breaking down social network structures, and reevaluating the criteria designed by women.

  22. FreedomFirst

    Notice the endlessly changing goalposts for Ms. Proudman’s bigoted, reverse-sexist, and female supremacist hate movement. Just when we men were happily considering handing our oppression by The Woman Racket (Moxon) back to women as a gesture of real equality, Ms. Proudman goes and changes the game on on us. Of course, the new goal is left completely undefined, as usual, so as to prevent accountability…and so as to be able to constantly change the goal on the endless quest for an increasingly oppressive feminist Utopia.

    IF this kind of oxymoronic ‘thinking’ is the best that two of the greatest gender-bigot thinkers of our time can produce, heaven help us all.

  23. Robert Ohara

    How dare men talk about their dirty little penises as if they were actual genitalia like a woman’s vagina!

  24. Abraham

    In backwards muslim countries do you think they do the same? How can people be so fucking blind on this issue.. I don’t get it… Doesn’t matter if it is worse for women, both are genital mutilation on an unconsenting child! What the fuck is the problem of giving both girls and boys the protecting cloak of the law on this issue? Fucking people man….

  25. Gully

    Charlotte, you are everything wrong with feminism this day and age. You will drive people away from your organization and you will lose support. Simply because you are a despiccable human being shielding yourself with a false cloak of victimhood to protect your madness from other peoples criticism. The day when absolutely no one is talking about you or listening to you is coming, and what a glorious day it would be! I don’t wish you all the best, cheers.

  26. Jumpmyhedge

    So the white feather campaign is not a thing then? And by the way, how is it not a question about men’s rights not to be conscripted against one’s own will to go and probably die somewhere horrible? What fucking difference does it make that those who send me are men? One question for you: Have you ever thought and tried to empathize with men or men’s struggles at all? Have it ever crossed your mind at all?
    I won’t hold my breath for an answer…….

  27. John Rew

    Men live and work in a brutal society one minute and the next it would be cruel to expect them to take on a woman’s situation. You need to make up your mind Rachel. Of course then you wouldn’t be a feminist would you? Mobile goal posts are part of the game. I doubt very much that cruelty to men concerns you anyway. I can understand why you are baling out of the equality thing though. It really hasn’t stacked up the way feminists thought it would. It wont make any difference to feminism because there is no need to change the game plan when you can just shift the goal posts. Which wave is this? I lost count .

  28. Annoyed

    they are the same

  29. Annoyed


  30. DukeLax

    Eventually guys get sick of defending themselves against the constant flow of non sense that a main stream media run by gender-feminists …..keep puking onto them…and they go MGTOW.

  31. FreedomFirst

    …to build Camille Paglia’s ‘grass huts’ that is.

  32. Alice

    I am anti-war and have busted my derriere and worked to great personal expense to prevent/stop men’s wars for oil, starting with cutting my own gas use to an average of 1-2 gals/week for the past 16 years though I live in suburbia. We haven’t had a draft for 40+ years and US military chiefs say we probably never will again because it’s so much worse than brainwashing people inti “voluntary srrvice.” Regarding registration for males, your quarrel is with the 80 percent of Congress who are male, and our Presidents, which, last time I checked, have been 100 percent male. Most feminists are anti-war. Take it up with your bros in Congress. Instead of MRA’s focusing on feminists. How many calls and letters have you sent to the White House and Congress about ending mandatory registration for anyone?

  33. Alice

    Have you ever conversed with anyone who is anti-FGM but pro-MGM? I haven’t, nor is anyone saying that here.

  34. Alice

    Name all of them. Itcwould probablyvtake a few day’s research. Then name all the male heads of state and Parliament/Congress-members who’ve voted for war throughout history. You’d spend the rest of your life listing all the men.

  35. Alice

    It’s very convcomfortablecomfortable denialism and disproven fantasy to say that patriarchy doesn’t exist and all is decuded based on the merits of individuals.

    There is no cabal of men plotting to oppress women just for the fun of it? Then what is gang rape? Rape trafficking, an enormous US and global crime? Prostitution? The Catholic church? Practically any other religion? Ted Kennedy and his bros preventing the other women from testifying who were waiting in the wings to also testify against Clarence Thomas in addition to Anita Hill? Why are women still not in the Constitution (the ERA)? Rampant pay inequality? Widespread male domestic violence?

  36. Taca

    As a campaigner, yes I am constantly conversing with people who are anti FGM and pro MGM. These are invariably people whose research into the subject amounts to a big fat zero, and know nothing of the anatomical, psychological, historical or anthropological realities of all the different forms of genital cutting. Doesn’t stop them having an opinion of course, one which is founded on some vague ideological worldview of universal and eternal oppression of women by men. Mmm . . . wonder where they got that from. Others, not so ideologically entrenched are horrified when I show them videos of ritual MGM, and evidence of the multi-million dollar trade in these stolen body parts for producing rich ladies’ vanity products.

  37. Taca

    Wrong, infibulation is the most extreme form of FGM and rarely found outside the matrilineal belt of Central Africa. The most common form of FGM is ‘nicking’ the clitoral hood. MGM kills boys in every country where it is practiced including the US and the UK. The death toll in Africa is staggering, especially in the Cape Region. You are obviously unaware of all the different types of MGM; sub-incision, full excision, castration? To try and imply a difference in principal between FGM and MGM is just ideological sexism. Misandry to be precise.

  38. Alice

    Rich women’s vanity products?? Please describe these pro-MGM, anti-FGM people demographically. Who the heck are they?

  39. Taca

    By ‘rich ladies’ vanity products’ I was referring to the expensive anti-wrinkle treatments derived from forcibly-amputated male babies’ prepuces. The global market in these body parts is worth more than that earned for the assault itself (some say $3billion p/a). This ‘donated neo-natal tissue’ (sic, how the f**k can a neonate consent to donate healthy tissues) is sold on to pharma companies for research and skin grafts, and to cosmetics companies who use this tissue as the active ingredient in their anti-aging face creams. Such companies are the US ‘Edge Systems’ and ‘Skin Medica’ for their products ‘Hydrafacial’ and ‘TNS Recovery Complex’, and the UK company ‘Intercytex’ for their product ‘Vavelta’. I’m sure there are others too, these are just the ones I can remember. Imagine if little girls’ most intimate body parts were being harvested for male vanity products? The pro MGM anti FGM people I encounter almost daily are from no particular demographic, they just have one thing in common; their research into the subject amounts to a big fat zero, and in this vacuum they simply default to the female=victim/male=perpetrator model promoted by feminism which now saturates our ‘developed’ societies to such a degree, most people don’t even notice it, it is just ‘normal’. Little boys are killed directly by MGM (RIP Goodluck Caubergs) in the UK, just as in the US and every other country, mostly from hemorrhage, shock or septicemia, and the perpetrators (midwives, doctors, Mohuls, lay amateurs) are rarely punished. Our acceptance of this wicked practice is testament to the huge ‘compassion gap’ whereby males, even baby ones, are simply not worthy of our empathy, as if they were sub-human (in fact in the UK if you did this to a dog or a cat you would be prosecuted). It really does make me weep when I hear people trying to justify or dismiss this horror. All children, girls, boys and intersex should have the fundamental Right to reach adulthood with their healthy bodies intact. After that, if they choose to have their genitalia pruned, because they believe their CHOSEN religion requires it, or to make it look prettier, well, that’s none of my business. But the Rights of children are everyone’s business.

  40. Alice

    I have never heard that male foreskin is used in products. I will look into it. I have never met anyone anti-FGM whobis pro circumcision. Where are you meeting these people exactly? Be specific. I just don’t believe yoy– lack credibility because lack of info given about where you find these people and who they are.

  41. Taca

    Lack of credibility because of lack of information? What, you want names of all these people? I encounter them everywhere; on anti MGM street demos, in the pub, on-line forums, radio phone-ins and tv debate shows. They’re everywhere. You will obviously believe what you want to believe regardless, sounds like you have an agenda.

  42. Continuing our discussion. – joustingwiththeimagination

    […] are we any closer to an answer? Not really. As a tangent, while reading for this I found an article written by a woman that would prefer to not have equality, but espouses very feminist views. […]

  43. Marxist Hypocrisy 101

    “males would have their genitalia sliced up”

    They do. On an infinitely greater scale.

    But you’re not interested in facts or truth or equality or anything but your own privilege and using your own inadequacy and insecurity as a bludgeon because you think being an imaginary victim is a badge of honor.

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