The Instigator
QueenEsther
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
awr700
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Feminism: Equality of the Sexes

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
QueenEsther
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/4/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 715 times Debate No: 69456
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

QueenEsther

Pro

There seem to be many people who would like to argue against feminism. The definition of feminism is believing men and women are equal SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY, and POLITICALLY. Physically they are DIFFERENT- that is not the point of feminism. Feminism advocates for women's rights and the respect of women.
Answer me this: Is feminism a positive movement for women GLOBALLY, or a negative movement that "belittles" and "threatens" men?
awr700

Con

I accept. I would like to add that I am not in any way anti-feminist and am not calling for the abolishment of the movement (as I definitely agree, support, and follow certain aspects of the ideology) but there are flaws in feminism, modern and historical, that I would like to bring to light, particularly the lack of emphasis on race, ethnicity, and economic class.
Debate Round No. 1
QueenEsther

Pro

Firstly, I would like to state that every movement is flawed, because humans are flawed- no movement on Earth is perfect. I am arguing that the overall effect that feminism has globally is positive, despite those who identify as feminists, but who are truly NOT feminists.

People who identify as feminists but, for the purposes of this argument, are in fact NOT feminists include:
-people who say women are better than men
-people who advocate and support women of only certain ethnicities (for example, if people only support white women as opposed to other women, these "feminists" are not in fact feminists- because feminism supports ALL women)
-people who say women should be treated differently than men
-women who shame other women, whether it is for their clothing, actions, or religious beliefs (for example, if a woman from a Western culture tries to restrict Muslim women from wearing their hijabs, because they believe the veil is oppressive, that Western woman is NOT a feminist)

I am arguing for the current definition of feminism, not what feminism was decades ago. Now, today, women are being denied access to education, women are being sold as sex slaves, and young girls are being shamed for what they choose to wear to school. Please keep this in mind when you reply to my argument. Any mention of a "feminist" as defined above (someone who claims to be a feminist but by the real definition, is in fact NOT a feminist) will not be a response to my argument.
The most untapped resource on this Earth is the woman. She has, for eons, been restricted and oppressed in varying degrees. Yes, the woman that is denied the right to vote and to drive is oppressed on a higher level than the girl sent home for wearing yoga pants. However, this does not diminish the suffering of anyone who is treated differently because of their sex.
I would like to present to you a true feminist organization, the National Organization for Women (U.S.). This organization advocates for LGBTQ rights, and advocates for the end of domestic violence. This organization, IN ITS CURRENT FORM, is a true example of the beneficial effects of feminism.
Finally, I would like to state that a "victim mentality" is not what I support. Many men treat women with respect and dignity. Women, in most first-world countries, enjoy varying degrees of almost-equality with their male counterparts. But it is important to recognize the damage of thousands of years, and the damage that is still taking place today. This is not an argument on the topic of male-female interaction. This is an argument for feminism, the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
awr700

Con

feminism [1]
noun
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. feminine character.

The definition alone separates men and women into two binary categories, with men assumed to be in a position superior to women, because if this was not true, the advocacy of women's rights would be pointless. However, this is too simple a generalization. If we are sticking to definition-specific feminism, then it does not take into account racism or classism both women and men face in addition to sexism. Race and economic class complicate the matter of equality, so simply advocating gender equality is not actually advocating true equality of the sexes. Allow me to explain what I am trying to say, using the wage gap as an example.

The racial group with the lowest average annual salary are African-Americans, as it has been for the entirety of American history [2]. Second lowest are Latino people, then white people, and finally, the highest-earning racial group are Asians. The average white salary is nearly double that of the average black salary, at $57,009 and $33,321, respectively.

Women's salaries as a percentage of white men's salaries also varies as well [3]. Latina women earn a meager 53% of a white man's average annual income, then black women at 64%, then white women at 78%, and finally, Asian women at 87%. The gender wage gap, if all races are taken into account, is that women earn 85 cents for every man's dollar.

While this information is presented, please keep in mind that the average white and Asian person, regardless of their gender, *always* earns more than the average Latino or black person.

Feminism applied in this instance is confusing. Equal pay is a hot issue among feminists, but even if you were to equalize all the gender earnings--Latina women were earning the same as Latino men, white women the same as white men--you would still have the issue that Asians are making twice as much as African-Americans, so there's no possible way that the sexes are equal then, because you still a whole heap of racial differences holding minorities back.

You might argue that feminism *would* work to equalize races as well, but it does not seem to be paying any attention to it currently, and the definition is to vague to say that the "definition-perfect" feminists would pay attention to it either. You have probably heard the common myth that women make a mere 77 cents to every man's dollar. Not only is this not true--for any of the races, though whites and Asians come close--but it is also, once again, taking the racial component of the wage gap away from it. Black and Latina women both earn approximately 90 cents for every dollar earned by men of their race, but earn around 80 cents for every white woman's dollar. Advocating women's rights in this situation leaves the question: which group's rights are we actually trying to get?

What I am trying to say is, saying ALL women are economically worse-off than ALL men is leaving out important class and racial nuances that skew the data into all kinds of different directions, making feminism ("the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men") not actually equalizing women to men.

In summation, though feminism is, by definition, equality of the sexes, the reality of the movement and how this equality is being attained is not going to achieve what it advocates. As you can see, dealing with only one issue provides a lot of variables and idiosyncrasies in the data, all caused by class and consequently, race. Simply separating the population into two groups, male and female, and then trying to equalize one to the other is not going to garner the intended results.

Sources:
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[3] http://www.aauw.org...

(If I had a nickel for every time I said "race" or "advocate" or any of its derivatives...)
Debate Round No. 2
QueenEsther

Pro

Just came home from my district band practice to answer this, now realizing that I have no life. I will try to refute your arguments in a list, for systematic organization
1.Please, please, answer the debate's original question: "Is feminism a positive movement for women globally, or a negative movement that "belittles" and "threatens" men?" I cannot argue against a point that I am not trying to make. Please answer my question proposed above.

2.We are using the definition I first provided- not the definition you are trying to impose into this debate. I will repeat this definition, since still, we are unclear as to what feminism is- "Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes." The only feminist "group" that I have endorsed, and that I will accept into this debate, is the (United States) National Organization for Women. I noticed that the third definition, "3. Feminine character" you mentioned was not discussed- this shows me that you are cherry-picking definitions that will fit your argument. If you include "feminine character" you must expand upon it.

3."The definition alone separates men and women into two binary categories, with men assumed to be in a position superior to women, because if this was not true, the advocacy of women"s rights would be pointless." Later in your argument, you provide resources that indicate that the women in this country (United States) make less than their male counterparts. Therefore, from a monetary standpoint, men are superior to women. Feminism advocates to change that. "If we are sticking to definition-specific feminism, then it does not take into account racism or classism both women and men face in addition to sexism." I am not ignoring the fact that racism and classism exist- on the contrary, the only feminist group I have endorsed, NOW, states: "NOW advocates for a wide range of economic justice issues affecting women, from the glass ceiling to the sticky floor of poverty. These include welfare reform, livable wages, job discrimination, pay equity, housing, social security and pension reform"... Note that NOW advocates for "pay equity." I will expand upon that in my next argument.

4."The racial group with the lowest average annual salary is African-Americans, as it has been for the entirety of American history." Despite the injustice in this statement, this does not answer the original question posed: "Is feminism a positive movement for women globally, or a negative movement that "belittles" and "threatens" men?"... "Feminism applied in this instance is confusing. Equal pay is a hot issue among feminists, but even if you were to equalize the gender earnings, Latina women were earning the same as Latino men, white women the same as white men, you would still have the issue that Asians are making twice as much as African Americans, so there's no possible way the sexes are equal then, because you still (added: "have") a whole heap of racial differences holding minorities back." Please excuse my analogy, but you are grouping races as if they were separate socially from other races entirely- it seems you are grouping a Noah"s Ark of white men and white women, Asian American men and Asian American women, African American men and African American women, and Latino men and Latina women- they seem, in your argument, to be on completely different levels of possible equal income. For example, you seem to want to equalize Asian women's pay to only Asian men's pay, which is not what feminism advocates for at all. I am going to propose this: Feminism, supporting the economic equality of the sexes, implies that every single man, regardless of race, and every single woman, regardless of race, should have equal pay for equal work. I am not in any way saying this exists now.

5."You might argue that feminism *would* work to equalize races as well, but it does not seem to be paying attention to it currently."". To reply, using the only feminist group I endorse, NOW,: "NOW is a multi-issue, multi-strategy organization that takes a holistic approach to women's rights. Our priorities are winning economic equality and securing it with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will guarantee equal rights for women; championing abortion rights, reproductive freedom and other women's health issues; opposing racism; fighting bigotry against the LGBTQIA community; and ending violence against women." (1) Please note "opposing racism".. A quote that rings true from their Racial Justice page, "NOW condemns the racism that inflicts a double burden of race and sex discrimination on women of color." (2) This directly addresses your point that feminism only benefits the well-off and privileged women- you are simply wrong to think that NOW would be content with African American and Latina women earning "80 cents for every white woman's dollar." Because, to repeat myself, African American women and Latina women are, simply put, women- and until African American women earn 100 cents to every Asian man's dollar (because, remember, race and sex are not two separate parts of a person- we are looking at the whole person, who possesses both race and sex) NOW will continue to fight for economic equality for women.

6."Advocating women's rights in this situation leaves the question: which group's rights are we actually trying to get?" To reply honestly, we are trying to "get" women's rights, regardless of race. I am not saying that there are no economic classes in America, and many of these classes can and do revolve around race- I am saying that feminism, in the definition I have outlined, will work to equalize every single man and woman- not, every single Latina woman to her male Latino counterpart, leaving her far behind the white male- that is simply not what feminism is.

7."Saying ALL women are economically worse-off than ALL men is leaving out important class and racial nuances that skew the data into all kinds of different directions, making feminism not actually equalizing women to men." I never said all women are worse off than all men economically. I cannot argue for something I never said.

8."Simply separating the population into two groups, male and female, and then trying to equalize one to the other is not going to garner the intended results." Feminism does not advocate for separating men and women into two groups, and matching them up to their same-race counterpart, and equalizing pay that way.

To conclude: Please respond to my original proposed question: "Is feminism a positive movement for women globally, or a negative movement that "belittles" and "threatens" men?"
I do not mean to offend anyone who does not consider themselves male or female. NOW advocates for LGBTQIA rights. For the purposes of this argument, I chose to compare men and women, but every single person deserves economic, social, and political equality.
I appreciate awr700's discussion. However, I think she is arguing against something I am not saying...
Sources:
1)http://now.org...

2)http://now.org...
awr700

Con

Thanks for the prompt response (I understand the whole "no life" predicament).

"People who identify as feminists but, for the purposes of this argument, are in fact NOT feminists include..."

While I would love it if there was some sort of sub-movement for people who agree with the traits you listed, the fact of the matter is you can't simply eliminate members of a movement because they don't follow the perceived proper agenda. The members of the Westboro Baptist Church, while renounced heavily by most other Baptists, are still technically Baptists. Similarly, even though misandrist "feminists" don't follow the proper tenets of feminism, they are still technically feminists.

"[A]nswer the debate's original question: 'Is feminism a positive movement for women globally, or a negative movement that 'belittles' and 'threatens' men?'"

Sorry, I (evidently wrongly) assumed that your question was whether or not feminism was about equality of the sexes.

belittle [1]
verb
1. to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate; depreciate; disparage.

threaten [2]
verb
1. to utter a threat against; menace.
2. to be a menace or source of danger to.

The definition of feminism, like I said, separates society into two categories: men and women, with women as the disadvantaged group. And as I demonstrated, the reality of things is much more complicated, with race being the more prominent problem than gender. Does this belittle the struggles of men, particularly MOC and those in poverty? Yes, it does portray their problems as less important than those of their female counterparts, seeing as feminism is a movement geared toward getting women's rights equal to men's, and not vice versa in situations in which that might be necessary.

Proving that feminism is "threatening" to men is more difficult, as it is generally a subjective opinion what a person finds threatening. The Taliban found Malala Yousafzai and her quest for girls' education to be threatening and attempted to assassinate her, but most people, particularly those in the West, think of equal education not as a threatening matter but one that is a no-brainer. So I, as a girl, could never prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that feminism was threatening to men.

However, there is a law in the UK that could possibly show that feminism is a threat. It is summarized very well in the opening paragraph of The Telegraph [3] article on it: "Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated."

This law a) doesn't provide any legal protection for men who might have been wrongly accused, b) perpetuates the stereotype of a male rapist and a female victim, and c) completely throws the right to be innocent until proven guilty out the window. There is also a lot of confusion as to how one is supposed to prove consent, especially if it is spoken consent. While rape is an abhorrent crime, this new law is literally taking away people's rights.

"We are using the definition I first provided- not the definition you are trying to impose into this debate."

You said that, "feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes."
I said that feminism is "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men."

While there are slight semantic differences between the two, they are similar enough that it wouldn't provide much issue. I was simply trying to provide a definition with a source. I'll continue with your definition, though.

"Later in your argument, you provide resources that indicate that the women in this country (United States) make less than their male counterparts. Therefore, from a monetary standpoint, men are superior to women."

The wage gap calculation doesn't take into account different professions. The statistics I provided were made with averaged salaries for individuals of a certain gender or race across the US. Women are statistically more likely to choose lower-paying majors during college, and even those who choose more lucrative majors still go into lower-paying professions [4]. Generally in middle- to upper-class families, men are the primary breadwinner, perhaps leaving women with less of a desire to pursue a high-paying profession and instead go into one she enjoys. It could explain why whites and Asians have a higher gender gap than African-Americans and Latinos.

"[I]t seems you are grouping a Noah's Ark of white men and white women, Asian American men and Asian American women, African American men and African American women, and Latino men and Latina women- they seem, in your argument, to be on completely different levels of possible equal income...which is not what feminism advocates for at all."

I was equalizing it the way I did to make a point that racial discrepancies in the wage gap are more significant than gender discrepancies. Of course true equalization would never work to separate the races so much.

"'NOW is a multi-issue, multi-strategy organization that takes a holistic approach to women's rights. Our priorities are winning economic equality and securing it with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will guarantee equal rights for women; championing abortion rights, reproductive freedom and other women's health issues; opposing racism; fighting bigotry against the LGBTQIA community; and ending violence against women.'"

While I understand that NOW is an organization advocating women's rights, the polarized focus on women is exactly what I was talking about when I explained how feminism is belittling male problems. Though 77% of murder victims are male [5], and victims of assault are more likely to be male than female [6], NOW advocates ending violence against women and says nothing of men.

"I do not mean to offend anyone who does not consider themselves male or female."

Me neither, but for the purpose of this argument, debating cis men and women is easiest.

Sources:
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
[4] http://www.npr.org...
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[6] http://www.bjs.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by QueenEsther 2 years ago
QueenEsther
I thank you for the time you spent reading the debate, Sidcinnati! I believe awr700 and I are simply interested in the social issues of today, and there are many issues in America that surround both gender and race. NOW is a great organization, I highly recommend! :)
Posted by Sidcinnati 2 years ago
Sidcinnati
I can honestly see where both of these arguments are coming from. Despite how far women's rights has taken this society, there are still plenty of problems that we need to fine tune in order to truly advocate the success for all people. Once race and class are thrown into the mix, it becomes very difficult to get everyone on an equal setting. The idea of feminism as a whole is not unappealing to me, I do believe that we still have quite a lot of ground to cover, like equal education, the rights to drive, and the right to vote ( this is referring to Non western countries). But the issue still stands that the glass ceiling not only applies to females, but to racial minorities as well, and that includes men. Ultimately, I think that feminism is an honorable idea, but in practice can sometimes withhold opportunities for other minorities as well. Also, awesome references and sources you two! I've never heard about the National Organization for Women, and I'd love to do some research about ( which I'll probably do right now).
Posted by QueenEsther 2 years ago
QueenEsther
It was an educational debate! I appreciate the time you spent researching, as well. I think perhaps we disagree as to the definition of feminism on a basic level- you understand it as the movement, I understand it as the belief singularly.
Posted by awr700 2 years ago
awr700
Thanks for the excellent debate, QueenEsther. It was interesting playing devil's advocate for once, especially against such a capable opponent.
Posted by QueenEsther 2 years ago
QueenEsther
I apologize for the wall of text I posted! However, it had to be said. I cannot argue for something that I am not supporting- it seems that perhaps my argument was misunderstood :)
Posted by QueenEsther 2 years ago
QueenEsther
I am not arguing whether men and women are different, I am arguing whether feminism is ultimately a positive force, excluding the extremists. I appreciate your input :)
Posted by Esiar 2 years ago
Esiar
Men and women are different but equal.
Posted by QueenEsther 2 years ago
QueenEsther
I think you misunderstand my argument. I am going by the definition of feminism- that men and women are equal socially, economically, and politically. No movement is perfect, because humans are flawed. I am not arguing for the extremists. I am arguing against those who say feminism- by the definition I have previously stated- is inherently wrong. Thank you for your input.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by gannon260 2 years ago
gannon260
QueenEstherawr700Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: con never stated the belief that equality between sexes is bad, merely that there are other problems that are neglected. Con therefore concedes that feminism is a positive movement. Pro on the otherhand needed to be more specific on the debate topic.