The definition of feminism (based on merriam-webster):

the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

While egalitarianism is defined as:

a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs

Egalitarianism appears to touch on true equality (rather than just gender equality), but if one were to identify as an egalitarian (as it relates to gender issues), would there be any difference in simply defining oneself as a feminist?

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    This was debated to death a few days ago. Possible duplicate of Feminism being referred to as equality for all, as opposed to equality for women – WS2 Feb 25 '15 at 16:47
  • @WS2 I think these are related but different questions. – Nicole Feb 25 '15 at 17:47
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    The major point made on the now closed thread was that words are used as people wish to use them. If the Saturn-lovers Society suddenly decides to concentrate on Neptune but likes the original name, the name loses a lot of its original meaning. Thus Anti-Semitism is rarely thought of as being opposition to all Semitic races. Using the above two definitions, feminism appears to be a field of study and egalitarianism a belief system. Using more matching ones, feminism is a hyponym of egalitarianism. Using some of the definitions I've seen, ... – Edwin Ashworth Feb 25 '15 at 18:44

Egalitarianism automatically encompasses feminism, but feminism does not necessarily encompass egalitarianism. In other words, if you are an egalitarian, you are automatically a feminist as well, because egalitarians believe in gender equality. It's therefore unnecessary to specify that you are a feminist in addition to being an egalitarian, just as it's unnecessary to specify that you are a primate in addition to being a human; if you are the former, you are also the latter, so it goes without saying.

Of course, it's possible to be a feminist but not an egalitarian, just as it's possible to be a primate but not a human. You could, for example, believe in gender equality but not racial equality, socioeconomic equality, etc. Therefore a racist feminist would be a feminist but not an egalitarian.

  • In real-life, I've read about feminists that are for women's rights but not for gay rights or transgender rights. Now, it seems many feminists have moved toward the "gender-inclusive" direction. – Double U Sep 17 '15 at 4:23
  • Using only the dictionary definitions, you are correct. However there are MANY people who are egalitarians, but are vehemently Anti-Feminist. – DRendar Jun 20 '17 at 15:11
  • @DRendar Said people are usually against specific forms of non-egalitarian feminism, e.g. TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists). They believe in gender equality, but see western 3rd wave feminism as moving away from it. – forest Dec 20 '18 at 4:33

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