Feminism is a word that – to me – stands for the proposition that sexism sucks; that what’s between our legs doesn’t dictate who we are or what we can do; that women are unfairly disadvantaged in our society; and that we should be actively working to change all that. I’m not gonna back away from a word that means all that.
The reason that people object to “feminist” but not “equalist” isn’t that “equalist” is a better word. It’s that no one knows what equalism stands for.
But what would happen if all feminists decided that “feminist” was a bad word, and switched to “equalist”? Within a month, all the right-wingers who have worked so hard at making feminism a swear word would re-aim their guns at “equalist.” Whatever the word is that means “our status quo sucks, it hurts all of us but women especially, and it’s gotta change,” that word will be reviled.