"folks ought to receive equal treatment and opportunity-is that really such a scary idea?"
I'm right with you on that - depending on what you mean by "equal". Absolutely I hold that one's gender should in no way limit the choices available in any field - be it career, travel, hobby, anything at all. Believe me, I've encountered racial and sexual discrimination myself, so I know how infuriating it is. And I believe that everyone deserves a fair go, first and foremost.
The problem I've encountered is that some people, mainly feminists, and especially male feminists, often seem to have a weird, Orwellian definition of the word equal - in that all people are equal, but some people are more equal than others. In most dictionaries equal has the definition "having the same value; the same as." But let me cite an example of the kind of Orwellian thinking I'm talking about here: a so-called "equal opportunity" pamphlet given out to all students at the local TAFE (tertiary college). The first sentence in this pamphlet is "Equal opportunity does not mean everyone is treated the same."
Now to paraphrase the great Douglas Adams, this is obviously some strange usage of the word equal that I was not previously aware of. It does mean "the same as" in every dictionary I've ever read. But not to these people. What "equal" means to these people is something along the lines of "You are not allowed to stereotype people along the lines of gender or culture, but all white males are privileged, rich and powerful, and so don't deserve equal treatment like females, non-whites, and so on."
If anyone cannot see the absolute hypocrisy inherent in that statement they have a serious problem. I, for no other reason than being white and male, have been refused entry to educational courses, passed over for jobs and promotions, and denied my right of equal opportunity many times - simply because my skin is a particular light colour and I was born with a penis. This, by people who claim that stereotyping others on gender and skin colour is a bad thing. Obviously it's not such a bad thing if you happen to be white and male.
This is why I don't like "feminism". I do like "egalitarianism" - the belief that everyone should have the same rights, not just that women should have equal rights in the Orwellian sense. The clue is in the name: feminism. It's about rights for women, not rights for everybody. And this is as bad a thing as masculism - rights for men only, which in my view is just as ridiculous. Do you see?
So no, it's not a scary idea at all. What's scary is that an awful lot of people seem to be buying into the idea that it's OK to vilify, ostracise and discriminate against men in the name of so-called "equality", while sanctimoniously (and hypocritically) beating their breasts about stereotypes. And what's scariest of all is that people are trying to justify this stance under the banner of fairness and equal treatment for all.
And it's not.