As of late, I have been hearing a lot of flack regarding particular situations where people interpret a bias as a violation of rights stemming from feminism. In this article, my aim is to explain why feminist rights violation is not the same as a bias influence. If this interests you, click below to read more!
Feminism is defined as, “the promotion of equal rights for men and women through the advocacy of women’s rights.” Bias is defined as, “favor of one thing over another, the favorability being perceived as unfair.” Through comparison of these two definitions, I propose that bias has an influence on feminism but is not a violation of feminism thereby inferring that women are not devoid of rights that men have.
In relation to feminism, a right is something that any person, man or woman, is entitled to on the basis of ethics and morals. A few examples of rights is the right to work, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to freedom of thought and speech, and the list goes on. In modern first world countries, women and men both have virtually equal rights on an aggregate, conceptual level. Women and men may not perceive their equal rights as a result of lifestyle, culture and influence, but this is an entirely different topic that I will not discuss here.
Bias does not have anything to do with the rights that people have except for freedom of speech and thought. As the definition states above, bias is an opinion that someone has which is their right to think and speak of. Every individual has the right to think and speak what they want, therefore a bias is a universal right. It is true that bias is unfair because it favors one thing over another which can hurt particular individuals. That being said, bias is one of those necessary evils. If bias were to be considered wrong, that would mean that people would have to give up their freedom of thought and speech and collectively think and speak whatever society or government dictates. It would be morbid to live this way, imagine being forced to think a certain way and having no right to say otherwise. In regards to feminist rights, freedom of speech and thought cannot be taken away because feminists wouldn’t have the right to be an advocate for women’s rights in the first place. It’s almost as if feminism has gone full circle over the decades.
To understand the difference between feminism and bias, I am going to discuss an example. Let’s say a female manager is looking for someone to hire and has narrowed down her options to a male candidate and a female candidate who are both equally qualified for the job, their only difference is their sex. The manager has a bias towards men because she prefers to work with women because of her experiences in the past. To reiterate, this bias is unfair towards men, but it is the manager’s opinion which she has a right to because of freedom of thought and speech. Because of the manager’s bias, she chooses the female candidate over the male candidate. The manager has not violated the rights of a the male candidate because she isn’t taking away his right to work anywhere, she has merely chosen another candidate over him. The male candidate can still go work elsewhere meaning his rights are still intact. Unfair yes, violation of rights no.
In the example discussed above, you can see that bias and feminism are not the same things. Modern day feminists often confuse the concepts of feminism and bias leading to accusations of rights violation which is merely attributable to bias. The example I discussed above had to deal with an issue that dealt with a battle of the sexes, although, bias occurs everywhere. In terms of hiring for a position, bias may arise over favour of the school the candidate went to, the personal interests of the candidate, the location of where the candidate lives and so on. All of these qualities have nothing to do with the candidates work ethic and ability to do the job yet no one brings up these issues in relation to feminism despite these issues being based on the exact same bias principles.
Problems arise in situations such as the example discussed above because feminists perceive a bias to be sexist and hateful towards women or men. It’s not that feminists are wrong all the time, bias can be a result of sexism which is discriminatory. As wrong as it is, a sexist bias is still a right people have under freedom of thought and speech. Feminists can advocate for change of course, but ultimately a sexist bias is not a violation of feminism.
I am of the opinion that feminism and bias are not the same thing, perhaps it is my own personal bias. That is not to say that I don’t think bias is wrong in particular situations. Everyday people are inflicted by bias, but, to me, you can’t take bias away because then you would have to take away freedom of speech and thought too. Sure, people can be an advocate to change wrongful biases, I don’t think this is incorrect as it is your freedom to speak what you want. Although it becomes a game of cat and mouse because how can we determine which biases are wrong and which are correct? The opinions we believe are right become a bias too, it is impossible to reconcile. It’s important to remember that not all biases stem from hate and discrimination, it may merely be an innocent preference based on past experience that a person has.
People come from all walks of life which shapes their views, opinions and biases. Why is this labelled as a bad thing when related to feminism or anything else for that matter? When did we stop celebrating our differences? Would life not be bland without different views, opinions and bias? Feminists should focus on rights, not bias, because bias is a product of people’s upbringing and experiences that every individual has a right to.