Face-to-Face: Should feminism be renamed “equalism”?


Hayden Blum


Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are junior Claire Schulberg and senior Ruby Elson. The two students discuss whether or not feminism should be rebranded as “equalism” in an effort to include more men in the movement.

Do you consider yourself a part of any gender equality movement?

Claire Schulberg: I am for equality, which means that gender is equal between both sexes. I believe that equalism is this umbrella and feminism is under it, and equalism includes everyone whether it’s gender, sexual orientations, trans, or race. I believe that feminism is almost an archaic term now because equalism includes everyone, no matter their gender or race or sexual orientation.

Ruby Elson: That’s a great idea, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works. The definition of feminism is a belief in the socio, political and economical equality of the sexes. If you want to go into gender, that would mean we’d be focusing more on LGBTQIA rights. As much as I’d like to work together on both, and many feminist groups do, it just doesn’t work that way.

CS: I am a feminist, but I also believe that we need to include everyone in order to receive gender equality. We cannot fully empower women and girls without having men included. Men are the other side of the gender and 50 percent of our population. In order to really achieve gender equality, we need to include men.

How do you think changing the focus of the movement toward equality, from feminism to equalism, would impact male involvement?

CS: If Equalism was the new word for feminism, it would include a lot more people and a lot more people would be advocating for it because it not only includes the equality of females and sexes but it also includes the equality of everyone, whether they’re transgender, gay, black, or white. I think equalism would be a broader term and it would be easier for us to accomplish the task, whether it’s gender equality, race equality, or sexual orientation equality.

RE: If people don’t want to label themselves as a feminist then they don’t believe in the equality of the sexes. It’s that simple.

CS: But they can be equalist and not feminist. They can believe in the equality of the sexes but they don’t need to be feminist.

RE: One more time, I’m just going to make sure that we understand that the word feminist means the belief in the––

CS: Equality of sexes. So they could either be called feminists or equalists.

RE: No, because the fact that people want to change feminist to equalist shows that there’s already some sort of reaction that people don’t want to be associated with being feminine. That’s kind of the root of the issue because femininity is being attacked by being open and saying “Hey, I’m a feminist, I believe that everyone is equal.” If men aren’t part of the movement today, then they’re not going to be part of it tommorrow just because we’re calling it something different.

How do you think the feminist movement would be different in 5, 10, or 20 years if the movement were relabeled? What would change?

CS: I think if we relabeled [feminism] as equalism there would be a lot more done. There would not only be gender equality but there would also be equality of everyone. In order to achieve that equality, we need to be equal with one another and we need to include men because men are the other side of our population and we cannot just rely on women to achieve gender equality. If equalism was the term 10 years from now, gender equality would be higher. Countries have already seen this in gender equality. Countries with a higher sense of gender equality are higher on the happiness scale and mostly eastern European countries. If we reached gender equality, we would not only be happy, but we would also reach a level of success with gender equality.

RE: By calling it equalist, 10 years down the line, it’s going to be the same shot but a different day. Feminism is still sociopolitical economic equality of the sexes. No matter if we rebrand it, it’s still femininity that’s being attacked.