30/07/2014 10:31 BST | Updated 28/09/2014 06:59 BST

By 'Feminism', Do You Mean 'Egalitarianism'?


Men tend to lean away from the radical, spittle-flecked diatribe of a drunk feminist at a dinner party. But perhaps it's them, as much as you, who are just not listening.

The feminist debate has been written in so many ways, in so many forms, that it is impossible to fathom. But for all the white, Western, masculine tendons that press this article to life, I would classify myself as a 'feminist'.

I want people to be equal, regardless of gender. I want people to have equal opportunities, equal salaries and equal educations. I want this Eden to transcend boundaries, governments and race. I want people to live in harmony. And I would also like to think of this without a gender at its apex. Wait, what's the word for that? It's not feminism, is it - it's 'egalitarianism'. Yes, this is the space of thought I like to occupy because feminists - in general - can't seem to see past their own noses.

What women have fought for these hundreds of years is for a world where they can action their lives against persecution. Where they can breathe equal air into their bronchioles, and down into their equally dual lungs. Where they can walk down the street and not be abused. This is feminism, and that is why it exists.

I was catcalled in Oxford Circus the other day. Despite my preconceived idea that this would be an entertaining, if unexpected, whinny of female appreciation, the gesture took place as an egg sandwich dripped over my chin and hands so I assumed it was probably a joke. I would go as far as to say I was left feeling uncomfortable.

Women are treated much worse than this (and so are men), and I am certainly not trivialising the problem. In a Western, police-controlled environment such as the heart of London, catcalling may often be as bad as it gets. But it's still a terrible, grotesque extension of desperate chimp-cooing. In the animal kingdom, of course, the male pervert would be beaten by the female's mate, but sadly in the human world builders tend to possess crates of heavy tools.

Relating men to animals, as above, it is in the interests of equality that I do the exact same with feminism. Coming from an earthy, rural upbringing I know more about badgers than I do women. And I can see from my hill how the narrative of environmentalism can turn an average citizen into a hackled ball of panic. Why? Because there is always a dearth of association between humans and things they perceive as threatening. We instinctively shy away from what is unfamiliar, or dangerous. Incidentally, this refusal to interact with nature has concluded in a little shock called global climate change.

Women are no different to men, but for some reason we are on the brink of another disaster. Every day women are persecuted, mutilated, exploited and trafficked. But we, in the Western world, dig into the deepest gulches of feminist theory, pull out a squabble then blame ourselves. I suppose it is important to get equality right in one place first before spreading the love, but to do this feminists need to get through to men.

These days a woman might not need a man to protect her. But she needs men around her who love her, make her laugh, enrich and confuse her. You can't get away from men - we're everywhere. So why use a term like 'feminism' to convert blokes from a version they already understand - something called 'equality'? Especially when a high proportion of us already subscribe to it.

So wise up, feminists - scrap the 'fem' in your 'ism' and start thinking big. Because you need to get through to the other half of Earth's humans in order to achieve the dream of equality we admire you for.