Words and language are to my mind enormously important. How we choose to describe things both describes and influences how we think and feel about them. In the battle for gender equality, I believe that those who support it are disadvantaged by the fact that the primary word in support of it is a word used to describe those who favour it, rather than those who are against it. You have to choose it, you have to become it, rather than naturally being it and consciously choosing its opposite. So does this describe our current state of affairs?
I rather think it does. We are, we must be, somewhat ambivalent towards the concept of true gender equality (and by ‘we’ here I mean, I suppose, those in the developed English-speaking world, as that is the one I’m most familiar with, and also the one the language of which I’m describing, although of course the struggle for gender equality goes on all over the world). Otherwise we wouldn’t behave and speak as we do, and we wouldn’t allow others to behave and speak as they do.