The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Feminism is necessary

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 603 times Debate No: 82422
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (19)
Votes (1)




This is an important debate topic that can be sometimes difficult to discuss. I am here because I am a proud feminist and I am the head of my debate team so I am forming my arguments. Please be respectful. I know there are only 2000 characters available. That is because I believe this debate can be held without extremely long arguments. There are also multiple rounds so there will be a chance to say everything you want to say. Please keep in mind that this is meant to be a respectful debate. I'd like to thank whoever takes this debate ahead of time and say good luck :). The first round is just an acceptance round.


I accept. I look forward to having a fruitful discussion!
Debate Round No. 1


Feminism is defined as "the advocacy of women's rights in the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men." So many people still wonder why we need feminism, why any woman in this day and age would call herself a feminist. The word itself has become a dirty word. Instead of seeing it as something good, the idea of feminism has been warped and shaped into something cruel and oppressive, something that supports abortion on demand. Feminists are seen as man haters and women who want to take over and eliminate men. Many still ask the question "Well why do you still need feminism? Women have the right to vote, go to school, own property, etc." We need feminism because if someone never told them they were wrong, men would always treat women as objects, like a subordinate, like property. Feminism is the fight against this. But that's over now, right? That's no longer necessary? We fought our war, but now we are done, right? Men have not evolved from their original nature. Men have not surpassed and outgrown their feeling of superiority over women. Every single thing a woman does is sexualized. Girls are sent home from school for wearing yoga pants because "It's distracting to the boys." Fifty year old men will cat call 12 year old girls on the street. Girls are taught to walk down the street with their key between their fingers in case they are attacked. In cases of rape, women are asked, "Well what were you wearing?" We are told "You must have been asking for it." Girls are taught to cover themselves up instead of teaching boys not to rape. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "In 2014, female full-time workers made only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gape of 21 percent." Feminism is not a hateful idea. Feminists are people who believe in equality of the sexes. Yes women have the right to vote and to own property. Yes we can go to college. But we are not yet treated equally. This is why feminism is 100% necessary.


I would like to thank my opponent for her opening arguments. At this
time, since it wasn't defined in the first or second round by my
opponent, I would like to offer a definition of the word "necessary".

Necessary: being essential, indispensable, or requisite [1]

This is a common definition, so I presume Pro will have no problem with it.

Now for a little history of feminism:

"Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word "f"minisme" in 1837.[10] The words "f"minisme" ("feminisme") and "f"minist" ("feminist") first appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872,[11] Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910,[12][13] and the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1852 as the year of the first appearance of "feminist"[14] and 1895 for "feminism".[15]" [2]

So, with this in mind, I think I can address all of my opponent's arguments with one general rebuttal: Since there was once a time when feminism didn't exist, it's clearly not necessary. It's not essential for our survival, nor is it indispensable, or a requisite. Feminism may or may not be a good thing to have, but it's NOT necessary. We have lived without it in the past, and could do so in the future.

Remember, we're NOT debating if we SHOULD practice feminism. The debate resolution is about whether it's necessary.

Treating women as equals is a nice thing to do, but it's not NECESSARY.

I turn it back over to Pro.



Debate Round No. 2


I do not accept your source from Wikipedia as it's not reliable. It is true Charles Fourier coined the word feminism, but the beginning of a word does not define the beginning of an idea. The idea of feminism has existed throughout history. According to Simone de Beauvoir, "the first time we see a woman take up a pen in defense of her sex" was with Christine de Pizan in the 1400s when she authored Epitre au Dieu d'Amour. Concerning your argument, if you define necessity by length of existence, one could argue that nothing is necessary as nothing has always existed. Using the same logic, would you argue that the 13th Amendment was unnecessary? The Declaration? Value and necessity is not define by how long something has been around. With that argument, there would be no fight against abortion because those fetuses have only existed for a few weeks, so what's the value, right? This movement, though has been seen more prominently as of late, has been around for centuries. If your belief is female equality is simply "nice", I urge you to consider what it provides and inspires: a sense of empowerment, a drive, self and mutual respect, and identity. Would you classify these ideas as unnecessary?



My opponent may not be fine with my source, but I accept hers. I accept it because it proves MY point. If feminism began in the 1400s, as my opponent says, then feminism is not necessary, because we used to live without it.

Necessary vs. Should

AGAIN, we're not debating if we should have feminism, we're debating if feminism is necessary. If my opponent wanted to debate if it should be on implemented, she should have crafted a different resolution.

Definition of "necessary"

My opponent did not argue with the definition of "necessary", so I can only presume she agrees with it. With this in mind, let's go over it again so I can build a foundation for my rebuttal:

necessary: being essential, indispensable, or requisite


My opponent gave me a litany of issues, and asked me if I thought any of them were necessary. Well, to answer her question, we need to ask if they're "essential, indispensable, or requisite"

13th amendment? No. The Declaration? Nope. Abortion ban? Negative. Empowerment, respect, identity? Not at all. Don't get me wrong, I support all of those things, but they're not necessary. We COULD live in a world without freedom, respect, and identity. Therefore, feminism is NOT necessary.
Debate Round No. 3


Using my opponent's logic, one could argue that nothing is necessary. The world itself is unnecessary. This seems like a very bleak way to live. I disagree with this logic. His definition of necessary is "essential, indispensable, requisite." It seems two of these words are synonyms for necessary. I would, however, like to define the last word. I would define requisite as "a thing that is necessary for the achievement of a specific end." As indispensable and essential are synonyms for necessary, I would elaborate on the definition (not change) with the definition of requisite. In the cases of the Declaration and the Thirteenth Amendment, I would argue that these articles were necessary for their causes. The Declaration ended oppression from Great Britain. That document was necessary for the achievement of a certain end. The Thirteenth Amendment ended American slavery and the Civil War, the bloodiest American battle in history. I would also argue that it was essential for the achievement of a specific end. In the case of feminism, this idea and movement is essential for equal rights among people. This movement, as I stated above, provides an identity for those without one. It encourages strength in the oppressed. So yes, I would argue that feminism is necessary, to the end that equality is necessary for a functional, fair civilization.

Requisite: googled


Thanks Pro for the timely response.

Definition Problems

There is a problem with Pro's definition of "requisite"... it defines
"requisite" as a noun, while the word "necessary" is used as an
adjective in the debate resolution. We know this because when one
diagrams the sentence "Feminism is necessary", the word "necessary"
describes "feminism" and is therefore an adjective.[3] With this in
mind, Pro's definition of a noun isn't interchangeable with the
adjective "necessary". In other words, Pro's argument concerning the
definition of "necessary" should be disregarded.

Logical Fallacy

Pro has engaged in a logical fallacy known as "Moving the Goalposts".
I doubt if she did it on purpose, but regardless of her motivation, her
argument should be disregarded nonetheless. Let me explain:

Moving the goalposts: "Moving the goalposts, similar to "shifting
sands" and also known as raising the bar, is an informal fallacy in
which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed
and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded. That is, after an
attempt has been made to score a goal, the goalposts are moved to
exclude the attempt. The problem with changing the rules of the game is that the meaning of the end result is changed, too." [4]

Basically, once I showed feminism is NOT necessary, Pro tried to change the resolution from Feminism is Necessary to "Feminism is Necessary for the achievement of a specific end". That's unfair. If Pro wanted to debate that, she should have said so before I accepted the debate. It's too late to change the debate now, so I ask the voters to ignore her attempt to do so.



Debate Round No. 4


I would like to clear up the matter of "Moving the Goalposts." As I am part of a debate team myself, I understand what "moving the goalposts" is, as well as the problems it causes. In this case, I do not agree with my opponent's argument. You provided the definition of necessary as "essential, indispensable, requisite." I would like to fully define all three of these words:

Essential: "absolutely necessary; extremely important."
Indispensable: "absolutely necessary."
Requisite: "made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations; a thing that is necessary for the achievement of a specified end."

The definition you provided simply used synonyms for the word necessary. I elaborated on the definition as using synonyms does not provide a clear definition of the word. As this has become a problem, I would elaborate on the definition again, using a much clearer definition: "required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential." I believe in both of these cases, the definition has supported my case that feminism is indeed necessary.

I would like to conclude with my argument that feminism is indeed necessary for a fully functional, fair society. It is needed for humans to live cohesively. Feminism provides people with a sense of self-worth and identity, something that is required for a fully functional human being.

I would like to remind you again that the length of something's existence does not determine its worth. I would also like to state the fact that as most of my opponent's argument has consisted of semantics, it is not valid considering the definitions we provided.

I feel this conversation has fallen to semantics, therefore not allowing for a real debate on this issue. I would be happy to debate this topic with you again, as I am interested in what you have to say. I do not feel this debate accurately represents what either of us has to say.

I found the definitions of all three words simply through Google. Thank you and good luck! :)


Thanks again, Pro, for your response and thanks for creating this debate. It's definitely been interesting. Having said that, I did have a few concerns regarding your last argument. Let me explain:

Dropped Argument

Last round I very directly said that my opponent's definition of "requisite" should be disregarded. I said this because she was using the definition of a noun, and the word "necessary" is used as an adjective in the debate resolution "Feminism is necessary". Because of this, I said, Pro's definition/argument should be disregarded. So, with that in mind, what was my opponent's response???? NOTHING. She didn't even ATTEMPT to discredit my argument. By being silent, I can only presume she did so because she was not able to refute my argument. As captain of the debate team, it seems rather unlikely that she just forgot to respond. After all, with only 2,000 characters per round, it's not a very long debate. I encourage the voters to see her drop for what it is, an admission of guilt.

What We're Debating

Again, my opponent seems to be trying to change the debate as we go along. She brings up many reasons why we should like feminism, but when reading them, ask yourself "Is this what they were supposed to be debating?" I would argue the answer is no. For example...

Do we have to have a "fully functional, fair society"? No.

Do we have to "live cohesively"? No.

Do people have to have "a sense of self-worth and identity"? No.

Certainly all those things are nice, but we don't have to have them, therefore, feminism is NOT necessary.

Straw Man Argument

My opponent has engaged in another logical fallacy. This one is known as a straw man argument. This is done when someone misrepresents her opponent's arguments. [5] I never said that the age of something determined it's worth. What I said was that we can tell something is NOT necessary if we can live without it. Even if that something is helpful, if we can go on without it, it's NOT necessary. That's exactly what we see with feminism. Feminism may or not be beneficial, but that's NOT what we're debating. We're debating if it's necessary, and since we could (and have) lived life without it... It's not necessary.

No Semantics Here

I used generally accepted definitions from a reliable dictionary.


I think the choice is clear. I showed that feminism is NOT necessary. After I did that, Pro tried to change what we were debating in order to salvage her chances of winning. I ask the voters to recognize her attempt, and to vote for Con accordingly.


Debate Round No. 5
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dsjpk5 11 months ago
I would like to thank my opponent for an interesting debate. I hope she has taken what she learned from this, and will be more careful when designing debate resolutions.
Posted by queenmary 11 months ago
Posted by queenmary 11 months ago
Hank you for your advice. I will definitely take it into consideration in my future debates. This was my first debate on here writing responses without 3 other people. I'm grateful for your advice. :)
Posted by Mister_Man 11 months ago
A bit of advice to both of you;

QueenMary - next time you form a debate, look up the definition of everything, especially your resolution. This can be used against you, and although it's annoying, it's "fair." Try saying something like "Feminism is beneficial," or "Feminism is still required to help women achieve equal treatment," or something along those lines. Necessary does imply something along the lines of "unable to live without," and we can obviously live without feminism.

Dsjpk5 - I won't believe that you didn't know what QueenMary was getting at. It's pretty obvious she meant that feminism was beneficial, still helpful, required to help women gain more rights, etc. Although what you did is not just throwing semantics at the whole argument, it's pretty close. Next time, form your argument like you did here, but also try to dispute your opponents points (such as the 79 cent figure here, women being told to cover up, etc).

Anyway, hope I helped with something at least.
Posted by dsjpk5 11 months ago
I'm glad we can agree on something. You have a good night as well!
Posted by queenmary 11 months ago
I agree that we should no longer debate this topic, as I tried to end it earlier. If you have something else to discuss with me, challenge me to a debate. I would be happy to do it there. Have a good night.
Posted by dsjpk5 11 months ago
I would have to disagree with you on the first notion. Especially since you never offered any evidence that we've evolved to where we need feminism. I would happily debate you on another issue, but no longer wish to debate this issue (especially in the comments.
Posted by queenmary 11 months ago
As I have said multiple times, the length of something's existence does not define its necessity. Just because you existed without it before does not mean we have not evolved to require it. As I stated before, the beginning of the word does not mark the beginning of an idea. The idea of feminism existed long before the name was put to it. As it is an idea, we cannot show the precise moment of feminism's birth, but we can see glimpses of it through history. I would be glad to debate this with you again, or a similar topic.
Posted by dsjpk5 11 months ago
If something is necessary, you can't live without it. Since we haven't ever needed it, its not necessary. I hope this clears things up for you.
Posted by queenmary 11 months ago
You're argument that "Since there was a time when feminism did not exist, it is clearly not necessary" led me to believe you were arguing that the length of something's existence defined it's necessity which is not the case.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mister_Man 11 months ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 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:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a lot less exciting than I was hoping. Like Con said, Necessary basically means to not be able to live without, and Pro didn't argue against this definition. So the resolution is basically "we cannot live without feminism." Unfortunately for Pro, although she brought up some fairly good points, as Con pointed out, nothing she said makes feminism necessary. It would be a plus to have everyone treated equally, it is morally right to treat women mostly the same way you treat men, but it is not necessary. Con solidifies this point by showing that feminism didn't exist at a time, and the human race was able to survive without it, meaning it isn't necessary. I don't like this, but Con shows that feminism is indeed not necessary by stating that the human race was able to survive without it. But because I know (and I'm sure everyone else knows) this wasn't really the resolution Pro was going for, I'm awarding Pro a conduct point because semantics kind of came into play.