Sexism is essentially the judgement of another person based primarily on their gender. It isn’t exclusively the physical discrimination of a person, for example by treating them as inferior or denying them equal opportunities, because these actions are preceded by the belief of sexual superiority in a person’s mind.
Since a person’s character should be evaluated by their chosen morals and free actions, to judge someone based on unchosen factors is to ignore the only basis on which to properly evaluate another human being. Not only is this irrational, but it treats the other person as sub-human; a being without a mind, without conscience, with volition. And since rationality is the most fundamental moral choice, irrationality is antithetical to all human life. In short, sexism, like racism, is an evil.
Throughout history, and mainly due to religion, women have been seen as second class citizens. It was ultimately reason and (its corollary) political freedom that enabled women the chance to demonstrate their ability on equal footing with men. A similar thing happened with race. Sadly, there are many parts of the world where these revolutions haven’t taken place.
I can’t help but notice a similarity between the revolution of female political freedom and that of the American Revolution; both based on the principle of individual rights which demands equality before the Law. Whilst the US was founded on the right ideals, the driving principles were not clearly identified and thus became distorted, hence the total mess that is the modern concept of Rights. Similarly, whilst the sexist ideas and discrimination of women slowly started to evaporate (and in many respects and places, still need to), they have morphed into something else; a formless mess of false notions and irrational demands. The same could be said of other groups demanding more Rights, such as ethnic minorities or gays.
Let’s be clear: the basic principle underlying the moral evaluation of all human beings is: we are all free-willed individuals with the capacity for reason. We should be praised or condemned for our actions, not those who share our gender, skin colour, or race. The political expression of this moral principle is freedom before the law, i.e.: no forcible discrimination against us and no special favours either. Political freedom means freedom from the use of force from other humans; it means equality of treatment by the government. It not does not apply to the chosen interactions between private citizens, which may or may not be moral or rational.
Political correctness has taken the concept of Rights and equality as moral and political ideas and corrupted them in terms of practical effects. The egalitarians operate on the same premise. In other words, whilst all human beings should be politically equal, the simple fact is that we are not all morally, intellectually, or physically equal. As these factors are not determined by our gender or race, they cannot be equalised by special treatment in favour of said gender or race. Egalitarianism in politics and metaphysics is impossible and self-contradictory, and so is political correctness. It is wholly hypocritical. It is hypocritical because it pretends that all human beings are necessarily equal regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, height, age, weight, skin colour, but in an attempt to make the practical realisations of individual traits equal, it promotes certain groups of people over others, based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, height, age, weight, or skin colour!
From what should be a demand for political equality: the right to life, and therefore the right to liberty, the pursuit of happiness, property, the right to vote – various pressure groups, such as women’s rights, gay rights, ethnic minority rights – are all demanding more and more. But it’s actually special treatment they are asking for; the entitlement to something beyond political equality, for example a job or a pay rise.
I’m not saying that these groups are treated perfectly; far from it. Even today in the western world, sexism, racism, and sexual ignorance are present. They should be opposed ideologically and intellectually. But they shouldn’t be opposed by over-compensating and granting a group of people special consideration. Special consideration is precisely what activists claim to be fighting, when it isn’t in their favour, that is.
I am totally supportive of those who are discriminated against for irrelevant attributes. What I don’t support is the use of the word “Rights” here. There is only one type of right: individual; individual rights apply to all individuals, but only individuals.
It is true that men and women, gays and straights, whites and blacks all have rights, but to say “women’s rights” or “gay rights” is to misuse the word. It seems harmless enough, but it conceals a false premise: that a certain group is entitled to something. But contrary to popular belief, a right is not an entitlement; it is the freedom to act. It’s the freedom to try and get a job, but not freedom to be given a job because the employer already has “too many” of a certain colour. Freedom to vote, but not freedom to be given what you demand, like a minimum wage. Freedom to marry whom you wish, but not freedom to be approved by the ignorant by flaunting your sexuality for prestige, “cool” points, or to make a political statement. Freedom to work hard and merit a pay rise, but not freedom to be promoted or remunerated to meet an “equality” quota. Freedom to use reason to overcome bias, prejudice, and discrimination, but not freedom to have respect or followers through emotional blackmail.
I oppose feminism, because it is not a movement asking for freedom and equality, but special treatment to evade and ignore the reality that men and woman are different. Not different intellectually, morally, or politically – but different emotionally and physically. To take one example: the feminist campaign to have the New York fire department’s criteria for strength changed so that a certain (arbitrary) number of women could pass the requirements test. To use an extreme example, should the requirements be further changed to allow the wheelchair-bound or blind to become fire-fighters? The strength requirements would exclude many men who fell short, but the feminists didn’t want the rules changed to be more objective and tolerable for all, but for women simply because they are women.
The premise of feminism is that women are disadvantaged deliberately based on gender, and thus feminists must fight for entitlements based on gender. But this isn’t equality! And it ignores the truth that the real requirements for a great many things have nothing to do with gender, but objective standards (for example, being a fire-fighter, or simply being good enough to obtain a job). Arguments for equality should be made by pointing out why exclusionary criteria are objectively wrong, not by promoting women simply because they are women. Men and women do have natural differences and although neither sex is “better”, it is a fact that some tasks are more suited to one gender than the other, and that people of one sex tend to prefer certain occupations over the other, hence the apparent disproportion in occupational demographics. But to pretend these differences don’t exist is a denial of sexual identity.
What we should all be demanding is what we have earned, and not be demanding what we haven’t; the word we should be using isn’t equality or Rights, but justice.