The idea of equality today is far more complex than it was decades ago. The rise of new social movements has caused the definition to alter and new status quos to be put in place. The term equality can be defined as the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities and numerous civilizations have tried to achieve this state of equilibrium only to have failed time and time again. The current approach to achieve equality is just as ludicrous as before, but the only difference is this new system achieves equality by implementing ideas that were deemed oppressive in the past.
The journey to attain equality has been a rough one and as a community, we have sought equality in terms of race, gender and socioeconomic position for many years in the hopes to one day live in a fair society. Issues revolving around gender and racial discrimination have been the highlight of the 21st century as many moral activists try to deconstruct systemic biases once and for all. Millennials and Gen Z have been considered the leading generations when it comes to social activism and the fight for the greater good. This war for a better society has pretty much become the motto for every individual to practice in their day to day life.
The guidebook to being an ethical and compassionate human being has been written and everyone is programmed to abide by the rules. Opposing opinions are now easily shut down by noting them as ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ remarks causing many to be afraid to voice their opinions due to the scrutiny caused by the court of public opinion. We have reached a point in which the words of oppressed groups of people hold more value in the current climate of social justice. A woman who claims to be raped cannot be questioned under the basis of women rights and the accused individual is deemed ‘guilty until proven innocent’ in the eyes of the public.
The concept of equality has altered into the need to assert dominance, it has become predetermined that one class in society has to be better than the rest. Statements such as ‘there must be representation from all genders in high paying positions’ insinuates that an oppressed individual who is a minority has to be given a seat at the table regardless of qualifications. Companies today have bent the knee to public scrutiny when it comes to equality in the workspace based on qualifications and have instead adopted the ideology that they must hire a set amount of underrepresented workers merely to meet the social requirements set by the public.
Dysfunctional Quota System
Forcing the idea of more representation by adopting the quota system to get more women in parliament is pointless as the people who get in are not doing so based on merits. Representation for the sake of it is nothing but a joke as power should only be given to the most deserving candidates. Wanting to be more inclusive by making sure all communities are represented seems more disingenuous than anything. This attempt at seeking equality is not sustainable and maybe someday there will be a diverse group of people in power of a failing system by the end of it all.
The quota system ostracizes certain groups of people by implementing an emphasis on other groups. This system was initially used as a tool for oppression but now it has become a tool of empowerment for minorities. The quota system exists to prevent companies from seeming racist/ sexist and thus companies are incentivised to diversify the workforce to prevent a lawsuit. Deserving people don’t get the jobs they desire due to the existence of such systems and in this current sociopolitical climate, diversity is key for the longevity of a business as consumers seemed to be more worried about who works in the company rather than the products produced by the company.
The implementation of the quota system is also evident in the education system to offer study options for those who are underrepresented in communities. There shouldn’t be a necessity to have a certain amount of women in STEM jobs, an increase in numbers should appear organically rather than it being forced. People can be encouraged or incentivized but they shouldn’t be given preference over those who are more deserving. Implementing the quota system for the sake of more representation will just allow undeserving people to hold powerful positions and that may seem like short term empowerment but it will lead to long-lasting problems.
This system allows people to believe they are something they are not. It tricks the average man into thinking he is great when in reality he was nothing more than a necessity for the sake of maintaining a good public image. Getting benefits based on race or gender became the definition of privilege yet now that is being used by those who are fighting for equality in the system to attain a certain percentage of minorities in parliament, STEM fields, ivy league, etc. It may be hard to look at an institution that doesn’t represent you but at the same time that does not inherently make that institution biased. The current philosophy behind equality is everybody has to be represented everywhere and this mentality spawned from anger rather than rationality.
More Media Representation Isn’t Always Better
The media is now pushing for a more female narrative all across the board and while some find it empowering others find it to be a joke. The constant need for Hollywood to replace male casts with female characters seem to be ruining so many beloved franchises. Traditional male roles for movies such as M.I.B and Ghostbusters have been replaced by female roles only to be hated by the public and the reason being is that the main focus of those films is to prove that women are being empowered rather than to focus on the storyline of these amazing films. Casting women in these roles shouldn’t be the main highlight, Hollywood doesn’t have to emphasise that a change is finally being made to bring in more women into mainstream media.
There are many films that empower women by placing them as equals alongside diverse casts of both men and women. Many female characters are the highlight of films due to their ability to shine next to powerful men and to be viewed as complex human beings who are not only seeking empowerment. Any role on television is loved due to character complexity and the many emotions each character portrays and all-female roles seem to ignore the plethora of emotions that make us human.
We also see a push when it comes to casting more culturally diverse groups and even this is done in vain just to make movies seem less ‘white’ when in reality who cares about the skin colour when the true depth of a film relies on the storyline and the ability of the actors/actresses to portray a character that resonates with the viewers.
These feminist roles often times take a WOKE approach and condemn society due to the inability to accommodate women in society and all these empowering messages are littered in sci-fi movies. Most directors seem to miss the mark as people who walk into a cinema to watch an action film don’t necessarily want to be lectured about how their gender has single handedly destroyed the female population.
This form of empowerment often comes of as arrogance/ self entitlement and many women prefer not to associate with such a mindset as well. Women who have found success in the world view such films as a cry for help and it is seen as degrading to all those who have fought to attain a level of reputation in society.
Many WOKE representations in the media are paired with a sense of bitterness and anger as if only now the world has woken up and realized that they have been members of an oppressive system all their lives. These movies/ series make the most minuscule details seem like an attack against women and this need to drill the idea of race/gender/sexual orientation takes away from the premise of such shows making it seem much more like a cult-like indoctrination.
This narrative of equality through more representation isn’t the saving grace humanity needs rather it seems petty for the most part. People do not need to see their skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, etc portrayed on the big screen to feel empowered. If more people adopt that mentality, then we are reliant on others to have a sense of worth and form human connections. Empowerment is not achieved through the mirroring effect and sometimes it is okay to just take entertainment at face value rather than dissecting it based on a sociopolitical lens.
The push for more minorities in the media is done in a manner that these individuals have no flaws and they are perfect people if society didn’t hold them back. This form of representation in the hopes to attain equality is belittling others in order to achieve greatness, and ultimately nobody is perfect. Minorities don’t have to be portrayed perfectly and every character can have flaws as this is what allows people to connect with them.
Nobody wants to watch a show for the sake of empowerment, people watch these shows because they see real-life struggles beyond the walls of society. People connect with the personal struggles of these characters and removing such struggles, makes such representations two dimensional. An honest representation is what people truly need, not some made-up fantasy world where minorities are perfect so long as society isn’t racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Representation for the sake of it will never bring any good in the long run.
The current narrative of equality is still quite murky as many don’t know the protocol for an equal society. We live in a world that praises everyone for everything and everyone should be accepted just the way they are. Ludicrous life choices are masked by the notion that everyone would be allowed to do what they want so long as they are not harming others. This thought process is fair for all but this philosophy also crucifies those who have an opposing opinion or view. Individuals are not allowed to criticize others on the basis that it is hate speech and this later categorizes them as racist, sexist, etc.
Jokes are considered personal attacks due to the existence of political correctness. We are taught to embrace everything on the basis that everyone is equal and thin people are just as capable as fat people, women are just as capable as men and someday children may just be as capable as adults as age is just a number. We choose to ignore all differences and embrace equality yet we turn a blind eye to the reality that not everyone is equal, if so there would be no classifications in sports, health benefits or educational privilege. Levelling out the playing field is one thing but trying to make false claims and at the same time setting up biased structures for the sake of preventing an emotional outbreak is a weak attempt at attaining equality.
Recognizing disadvantages and fixing them is the only way to truly progress but we constantly choose to not shame others and allow for personal betterment. We have created a delusional world to make everyone feel better about themselves but this will only create a false sense of existence that isn’t true to reality. Equality can only be attained when people realize their differences and find ways to reach an equilibrium based on their weaknesses.
There is a growing need to address one’s privilege in order to attain equality but society has already deemed certain groups of people to be privileged due to inherent laws that are put in place. Making use of an upper hand isn’t necessarily oppression rather it can be seen as working smart and using ones environment to their advantage. Shaming someone for abiding by a system is unfair as not everyone wants to be a social justice warrior and nobody is morally obliged to do so either. Many people just want to get by and live a simplistic yet fulfilling life so there shouldn’t be a call to action against those who just choose to live their lives.
The Definition has Changed
We are so fixated on diversifying different forms of equality to fit the needs of even more people but the original definition for many social equality movements have been lost over time. Pop culture has definitely influenced social movements either for the better or for the worst and just because more people are talking about it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right path towards change. Human beings in general are programmed to seek a better life than the one that is currently offered as our understanding and philosophy in life is that there is always something more that we can attain.
The fixation of wanting to be something that we are not and fantasizing about the lives of others who are possibly easier than ours is the current basis for equality. People rather compare race and gender than look at personal ability and skill set when deciding a bias or struggle. The world has deemed the lives of white heterosexual cisgender men to be the easiest when in reality every individual has a unique set of challenges in life. To disregard a persons struggle based on categorization is demeaning but it has become the poster image for many equality oriented movements. Most organizations villainize others in order to make their points stand in a court of public opinion.
The fight for equality is done in the hopes that every individual will someday receive equal opportunities in the world. For decades people have tried to uncover biases and allow for each individual to have a shot at life but due to differences in economical, social or racial backgrounds that fair start has never been attainable. Some people have a head start over others and this has always been the case but the current generation hopes to level the playing field someday. The fight for equality is a tricky one that oftentimes contradicts itself by nature.
Equal rights for transgenders in sports have been a hot topic due to the fact that transgender men are disempowering women in sports by winning by huge margins and breaking world records. Segregation by implementing a separate category for transgenders may be the simple answer to solve the issue but this contradicts with the general notion of equality that aims to deconstruct segregation once and for all. The idea that everyone has an equal shot at success has clouded the judgment of millions in the sense that the bigger picture is forgotten merely to tackle a single issue at a time.
With more and more social justice movements on the rise, the definition for equality continues to be more complex and the methods of implementing this utopian sense of equality borders the line of fantasy. Multiple movements are never in line with each other rather they cross paths at times, creating even more division amongst teens. Millennials may be the first to embrace change but the idea of change has fully consumed Gen Z making it a personality trait for many. The need for change is more like a way of life rather than anything as most people today eat, sleep and breathe political correctness in the attempt to be the most well balanced and morally perfect human being.
In line with attaining equality, many believe that empowerment is the only way to achieve an equal society. However, the concept of empowerment today is flawed on the basis that people practice the philosophy that they should be allowed to do whatever they want and be praised for it and never shamed for it. Most individuals are under the idea that they can do no wrong and that every action is justified due to the fact that they are a minority. Race, gender and sexuality have now become the selling point for facts as words mean more coming from the mouths of certain groups of individuals. This idea of empowering minorities is detrimental as irrational variables are considered in such circumstances.
The current state of empowerment hopes to fit individuals into a set mould. While we may be continuously fighting for freedom, the reality is people who identify as a certain group are led to think the same way, vote the same way and hold the same political views. This is caused due to the nature of modern-day empowerment that ensures individuals think based on the same ideology and due to the vast scope of many social empowerment movements. Feminism has seen 3 different waves over the years with the 1st being in 1848, during the Seneca Falls Convention which primarily focused on the basic rights of women in society through the “Declaration of Sentiments”. The first wave ended in 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed and women were given the right to vote.
The 2nd wave in the 70’s focused more on sexuality and the ability for women to use birth control and to put anti-sex discrimination laws in place. This was in line with the sexual revolution that allowed for a wider acceptance of sexuality. Now for the 3rd wave, things get a bit trickier due to the agenda that happens to be all over the place with modern-day feminists fighting against the gender wage gap, reproductive rights, sexual discrimination as well as the need to end white patriarchy.
Today there are many subdivisions for the third wave, widening the scope even more with the addition of intersectionality, sex positivity, vegetarian ecofeminism, transfeminism, and postmodern feminism. This trend is evident in every major form of social equality movement in the 21st century and this brand of empowerment hopes to categorize individuals as a whole rather than appealing for a single agenda.
This massive divide when it comes to attaining an end goal is what causes there to be such a divide amongst people when it comes to social justice movements in general. They are led to believe in empowerment without understanding the full context of what they are being labelled as. Social justice has become a political game and it has merged with the political ideologies around the world in order to aid in presidential campaigns. In the past empowerment was something that was agreed upon by everyone as equality of opportunity is what we all want. However now, it is much harder to agree with one point due to the many subpoints that come with it and so individuals are trained to think in the same way in order to fit the poster image of social empowerment from all aspects.
Equality vs Equity
Identity politics is now the future of politics in the world and this is where equity vs equality becomes relevant. The idea that not everyone can attain an equal playing field through the application of equality insinuates that equity is the only route to take when it comes to forming a balanced civilization. The premise of identity politics is built on the notion that a political approach should be taken based on gender, religion, race, social background, class or other identifying factors when developing political agendas. Meaning everyone should not be given an equal bonus rather a bonus should be given to people based on their groups of identification and the challenges those groups face in order to ensure that everyone is equal at the end. Thus a person of colour should be given more incentives compared to a Caucasian man as POC are generally facing more oppression and are paid less in the workforce.
This idea of attaining equality through division is disrespectful to those who may be wealthy but are categorized in groups that are typically viewed as a lower social class. The fantasy is that women should be given all the incentives necessary to advance to the same position as men but this assumes that all women are lesser than men and that women require more odds in their favour to attain the same successes as a man.
Equity creates a sense of weakness as favouritism exists for individuals who identify in social classes that are typically attached to negative connotations such as poverty, low education, less power, etc. In most cases, men and women earn different median salaries as men work longer hours across the board and men typically choose to work in competitive industries. Pay equality has already been enshrined in law and pay discrimination is an offence but this is no longer the focal point as people today do not wish to attain pay equality rater they want pay equity.
Equity ultimately disregards merit as identity politics fails to recognize an individual’s ability and achievement when it comes to giving out rewards. Based on equity a clerk should be paid just as much as a manager on the basis that both individuals are spending the same amount of time but maybe the clerk lucked out in terms of education due to systemic racism thus he/she should be offered the same pay on principle due to identity politics.
At its core, every human has value and it is hard to put a specific price for each person but this has to be done for the advancement of civilization. Equality of outcome based on identity politics is nearly impossible to achieve as new groups will continue to emerge and even now based on the principles of gender fluidity, there are a near-infinite amount of genders. With the constantly increasing numbers, equity will end up causing a seismic shift in power to those who are deemed ‘lesser’ based on public opinion.
While equity may seem like the obvious option over equality, there are still many underlying issues that have to be discussed. An obvious one is what are the criteria that contribute to an individual receiving XXX amount of benefits over another individual. How do we know who needs that extra boost to reach an equal playing field and is this decision made based on a group or done individually? Does this system end up forming negative classifications against individuals who are beyond the norm in their social class?
Removing identity politics makes things much simpler as everyone is given the same set of benefits from a ruling institution or government but things become much more complex when various social identities have to be taken into account when making a decision as the reality still stands that a balanced outcome will never be achieved and such a system will only form resentment amongst people.
The Future of Equality
The current narrative is flawed and the status quo has to be altered in order to allow for a more sustainable precedent to be set. The future of equality shouldn’t be monopolised by a specific group rather it should be based on intertwining issues that go beyond just the face values of equality. Generations to come should stop idolizing equality as a form of politics and seeing equality as the solution to the world’s problems. Our fixation to define equality of opportunity or equality of outcome has caused us to ask the wrong questions when it comes to politics as a whole.
Maybe the constant need for equality isn’t the answer rather we should question the existing standards that have already been set when trying to attain an equilibrium. The reality is our thirst for equality has lead us to strive for things to be equally as bad for everyone as equality insists that every individual should face the same set of challenges and advantages. Thus, rather than eliminating the challenges altogether, we advocate for a society that finds ways to allow everyone to face equal struggles.
Humans are ultimately unequal by nature and our constant thirst for an equilibrium is pointless as absolute equality is unattainable on the basis that two people would have to be the same people in order to be truly equal. Both individuals would have to be equally happy and in pain, both individuals must have the same amount of money, same opportunities, same quality of life, etc.
Those are too many dimensions to take into account when it comes to attaining equality and many people choose to ignore this multi-faceted issue and focus on one that appeals to the common individual. Identity politics can be manipulated and shaped into whatever the individual desires and the same can be done when discussing an issue such as equality. The issue is so broad and it continues to grow as we move towards a society that chooses to accept gender fluidity, making the categorization of human beings endless.
In the modern world, we hope to achieve an ideal society where every human being is equal, thus as we evolve we have chosen to abandon specialization and focus on the bigger picture by embracing a collectivistic view rather than an individualistic one. The flaw in the ideology is when this theory is put into practice, as an individual is not legally obliged to humor the idea of collectivism and equality is only a functioning concept if literally everyone chooses to embrace it.
This would cause more people to give up individual freedom and accept the notion that all their actions have to justified for the greater good and each decision that is made has an equal impact on everyone rather than only benefiting oneself or a small group. Morality is subjective to the individual thus if a government was to take over and enforce a system that catered towards equality for everyone, this would cause the state to have more power over the individual causing there to be a conflict of interest in regards to individual freedom in many regards.
The future of equality is as bright as it will ever be as more people try to find the perfect solution to form an ideal world. There will be multiple bumps along the way due to many failed attempts but it will all be in the name of something positive, so long as those mistakes do not have dire impacts on the very core of humanity. We may even end up realizing that there is more to life than the constant search for equilibrium and the narrative of equality causes more of a divide than anything. Regardless, changes are constantly being made for better or for worse and only time can tell if this utopian dream can become a reality.
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