Feminism is no longer relevant in Western Society
Debate Rounds (5)
I personally believe that Feminism is irrelevant in modern society, that it has served it's purpose and its continual movement is actually having a negative effect, my reasons for this are thus-
*Women now have the vote and are recognised by the law as fully fledged citizens.
*Rape is now illegal in all it's forms; a married man can no longer force himself on his wife.
*Women may now work in any workforce. Granted there are things such as the pay gap, but these are to do with the individuals allocating and not any kind of institutionalised body of law.
*We are now, as a society, pre-programmed to protect the rights of women. There have been significant steps to protect these rights whereas there has been no effort to protect the rights of men. Continuing organised feminism would lead to a situation where women were superior to men in the eyes of the law.
*Marriage breakdowns have been on the increase over the last 50 years, and one of the causes of this is theorised to be the increase in outspoken Feminism. This is leading to increased levels in crime due to fatherless/motherless children. If Feminism were to continue as an institution this statistic may increase.
Please note that for the purposes of this argument I am using the term Feminism to describe outspoken advocactors for women's rights. I am aware that many Feminists are now more Equalist, but for the purposes of this debate I am focusing exclusively on gender issues.
In recent years, feminist theory has been increasingly integrated into mainstream American culture. However, hostile attitudes toward the feminist movement and toward feminists themselves have continued to exist. Feminists are stereotyped as hysterical man-hating fanatics, yet in reality it would be difficult to find any feminist who fits this description. The issues which are so sensitive that many people instinctively attempt to dismiss the women's movement by invoking this popular stereotype. Many of the original reasons why feminism is important and many of the important values which feminism represents have been forgotten in the controversy which surrounds the issue.
Therefore, I would like to provide the following definition of feminism from Random House Dictionary in order to clarify the intent of the round and to prevent such a stereotype from being formed.
feminism -noun: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
Most people understand why feminism was needed in the past although there is continuing controversy about its validity in the present. Few people would argue that society should take away women's suffrage or prevent women from being educated, yet in the not-too-distant past these issues were extremely controversial. We now look back on these days with great indulgence toward their blindness; however, today we remain just as blind to many modern-day iniquities.
I will address these iniquities through an analysis of the current Western World and provide statistics to deliver their impact. At the same time, I will adequately refute all of my opponent's unwarranted claims and the broad assertions he makes.
1. While the 19th amendment establishes women's suffrage it doesn't necessarily guarantee an essence of equality or protection under the law. Like the 13th-15th amendments, African Americans still found themselves facing much opposition from their 'equal' society. Their still existed immeasurable ignorant and blind prejudice (and it still exists today), segregation was a problem that lasted for years, and equal opportunity has never been attained. It's a fallacy to claim the feminist movement is unnecessary because of a provision in the law. The law is nothing without corresponding voices and actions upholding it. This observation extends to any country where women are considered 'equal' under the law.
2. Concerning rape, my opponent still makes an assertion that just because a law exists, means the feminism movement isn't relevant, However, according to U.S. Department of Justice, "Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes" Furthermore, "One in four women can expect to be raped and virtually all women will be subjected to sexual harassment." There still exists a large social trend in which women are demeaned due to the perverted sex drive of modern society. Even more startling, "The FBI estimates that only 37% of all rapes are reported to the police. U.S. Justice Department statistics are even lower, with only 26% of all rapes or attempted rapes being reported to law enforcement officials." Feminism is the collective voice of the thousands upon thousands of women who are subject to sexual harassment and rape. It's voice is still needed, obviously, o make our society aware of this ever increasing issue.
3. The integration of women into the workforce is still a prevailing concern, despite the fact that a woman has the 'right to work in any workforce.' According to 24/7 Wall-street and the Huffington Post, "Women, who make up about 40% of the students at elite business schools, have an especially difficult time moving into the ranks of senior management at America's largest public companies. New data from the research from the nonprofit Catalyst shows that 60 of the Fortune 500 corporations have no female directors. Out of the same group, 136 companies have no women among their top five executives. Moreover, there are 26 Fortune 500 firms which have neither a female board member nor a woman in executive management." Furthermore, "More than half of the American workforce is comprised of women. It is well-known that they are paid less than their male counterparts. Several studies show that female workers make about 77% of the compensation paid to their male peers. The numbers are worse for women of color. This inequality hurts women at every level of the job market." The fact that there is a lack of an institutional body of law to enforce gender and pay ratios is precisely another reason why the Feminism voice is still necessary in the Western World.
4. Feminism is not just a movement for the liberation of women, but a broad social movement striving for the equality of each individual. Feminism emphasizes the importance of such values as co-operation, tolerance, nurture, and the freedom for each person to achieve her or his potential. Feminists are not against men as individuals. What they are against is the oppressive and outdated social structure which forces both men and women into positions which are false and antagonistic. Thus, everyone has an important role to play in the feminist movement. It is ironic that feminism has been characterized as anti-male, when in fact it seeks to liberate men from macho stereotypical roles such as the need to suppress feelings, act aggressively , and be deprived of contact with children.
5. The first, and primary, flaw in my opponents claim of a strong association of an increase in feminism and an increase in crime is that he skips around important statistical terms in order to create an untrue statement. Crime is not solely linked to one variable, thus, in order to make a clear judgment we must take into account lurking variables such as; availability of drugs and weapons, poverty, education, and other external factors like illegal citizen crime. Furthermore, saying the increase in divorce or single parenthood is an effect of feminism also fails to account for numerous lurking variable. Thus there is no true linear and positive correlation.
Feminism is about potential and human desire; it is about obtaining those things regardless of gender; it is about keeping the spirit of the Western World alive by being a loud and proud voice.
I agree with my opponent on the integration of Feminist theory into mainstream culture, and I cannot say that this is a negative thing. On the contrary, I support it. However, there is a reason that there has been a persistent anti-feminist stance among many of the populace. My opponent is right to point out that Feminists are stereotyped as man-hating fanatics. What my opponent fails to see is that there are actually many Feminists who are like this. These radical feminists are vastly downplayed by the Feminist community at large but they do exist and in much greater numbers than many think. It is also unfortunate that it is these individuals who sit on top of organised feminist movements. Case in point is Finn McKay, the chief speaker and founder of the London Feminist Network, one of the largest Feminist organisations in Britain. Finn McKay denies a lot about her past but there is a lot of evidence pointing to her, and several of her close friends/colleagues within the movement, being part of a vicious group of extremists during her university years, a group that purportedly based their movement goals around the SCUM Manifesto. If my opponent is unaware of the SCUM manifesto (which I doubt as from his post I can tell he is well versed on Feminism but I like to err on the side of caution) it is a tract written by Ms Solanas, a radical feminist who advocates that all men are genetic defects that should be exterminated. The stereotype of Feminists being man-hating extremists may not be the whole truth to Feminism, but it is a lot closer to the truth than many people think, and with every passing year radical feminist groups have seen a steadily increasing rise in membership.
As for my opponents first rebuttal I must admit my knowledge of the American Amendment's is little to non existent. However, I understand the message behind my opponents point and I shall attempt to address it to the best of my ability with the knowledge I have. I do not believe it a fallacy to claim that Feminism is not necessary due to the change in law. Campaigning against the actions of a few is not going to get them to change their actions. You can lobby a CEO/Lawyer/Politician all you like, they are not going to change there mind. You do not need a movement to combat individuals, you would need only a small few because a small few can enter a place whole armies could not. Having organised feminism continuing as a movement will only allow that movement to stagnate and lean further towards a sexist anti-male stance because they are fighting battles that they cannot even be fought, let alone there be a victor. Currently Feminism is an angry child throwing a tantrum because an unthinkably small percentage of the population haven't got the message yet. I also hazard to say that if they haven't got the message yet they never will. It is unfortunate that these few are also in positions of relative power, but with the next generation of power will come new ideas. Organised rally's and movements are not going to change this, the only thing that will is time.
For my opponents next point I will again have to refer to my previous argument. Rape is not an institution- it is not something you can lobby or picket. Rapists will not listen to Feminists regardless of how many Feminists scream at them, because they already seem women as objects. Feminists fighting rape will never work, and support for rape victims is not an issue of feminism or gender; it is an issue of basic human kindness. Rape has nothing to do with the oppression of women, it is the violation of one individual by another individual, and that individual should receive support without gender politics being brought into it. I would go so far as to say that by having a feminist support network for rape victims, rather than just a support network, the rape victim will be indoctrinated to fear and loathe all men, rather than feeling how they really should which is loathing their attacker.
The studies my opponent references I do not believe can be used as substantial proof. They do not look at individual circumstance or choice. I am running out of characters so I will keep this next point brief- 40% female students is nearly half, so it is a minor difference, but also the statistics do not take into account that more men than women want to go into business. That difference is not a product of Sexism, it is a product of choices. Around 70% of Nurses in the UK are female- that is not due to Sexism, it is just due to more women than men wanting to be nurses, and yet nobody would claim this to be sexist. This is why I do not believe the statistics put out by many sources regarding gender in the workplace to be valid; percentages do not take into account that human beings are people, and that corporate ladders are immensely complex things with lots of variable factors. Percentages are too simple for this argument.
As for the Feminist Movement being Anti-Male, I refer again to Finn McKay and to this speech she gave on why Men have no place in Feminism- http://londonfeministnetwork.org.uk...
The fact that she does not want men in her organisation because she fears for safety proves that Feminism is trying to teach women to fear all men and creating a culture of gender segregation.
My opponent begins his rebuttal by bringing to light some of the more radical extremists that exist in the feminist movement. I'd like to point out that a) it's important to remember every group/movement has its extremists. From environmentalists, to communists, to political parties, you're always going to see that string of extremists, but that doesn't necessarily make the movement any less relevant (which is the intent of this debate,) b) by merely taking one radical feminist (Finn McKay) and linking her to a group who's intent is the extermination of man, you're really creating another debate not upholding the relevance of feminism, and c) Finn McKay is considered to be positive leader in feminism because "Mackay brings something of this spirit to organising the Reclaim the Night revival. Along with the Lilith project, Mackay resuscitated RTN in 2004, attracting around 50 women to a march through London to protest sexual violence and unsafe streets. While the protests have become gradually more popular, the latest march in November 2006 was the most successful yet, drawing in an estimated 1,200 women.
"The work that we had to put into that was something else," Mackay says, noting that a relatively small group of five volunteers is responsible for planning and promoting the event, while working full-time. Work has already started on organising the 2007 march, although it is still over eight months away.
Mackay puts down the increasing number of women seeking to take to the streets to a general ferment of unease about the sexualisation of women in the media. "They want to speak out, to voice how angry they are," she says, with a characteristic flush of enthusiasm." (Jess McCabe, "From Peace Camps to Protests")
Continuing with the flow of the debate, it's unfortunate that my opponent is painting an image of complacency as the most beneficial option for women today because the fact that we have an existing inequality, largely due to an imbalance of power, is precisely why change is needed. No, you can't lobby against an individual, but you can lobby against a government to impose rules that restrict an individual from continuing as he is. To say time is the only thing that will bring about positive change is both unwarranted and historically inaccurate. Organized rally's and movements are one of the many ways in which individuals of a state can utilize their freedoms and rights.Therefore, the feminist party is justified in their march against inequality and it's very much so, still relevant. Sitting idly back and letting the powers that be continue their tyrannical and sexist agendas is not a solution.
Furthermore, it seems my opponent is again missing the idea behind movements. The range of concern for organized movements extends far beyond legal equality,but also into social equality and safety. For instance, in the United States, when blacks were given full legal equality there still existed segregation and social separation. The protests and movements against such injustice is what eventually led to a ore integrated and fair society. Rape and sexual portrayal is just one of the many social issues women face and it's obvious the Western World isn't going to fix those problems on its own. Again, my opponent is correct in saying rape is not an institution, but he doesn't seem to understand the intended target of protests led by people like Finn McKay. The target is not the rapist, but the governments and law officials who wait for time to fix the problem instead of making streets safer, censoring pornographic images, etc. Feminism is still very relevant in the Western World because it's a voice that still needs to be heard and a voice that still needs justice and equality in both the law and society.
As for the attack he makes on my statistical evidence, he misses the over all impact. These Fortune 500 companies that have come into question about their staff and equality of condition have become spotlighted because the evidence is indeed enough to propose sexism and prejudice. Furthermore, he fails to explain how a movement that pushes for equality in the workforce and demanding equal representation of gender wouldn't be beneficial.
Again, at the conclusion of my opponents rebuttal he brings up Finn McKay and explains she doesn't want me to be a part of her organization which is her right and AGAIN, DOES NOT MAKE FEMINISM ANY LESS RELEVANT. It's certainly a stretch of the imagination to say she wants to instill fear as a tool against men. There exist numerous possibilities as to why she's hesitant to allow men to join he movement, but again those issues really have no burden in the round.
It's important to understand that there are existing inequalities, both legal and social, that still exist for women in the Western World and their voice, organized, and working together to bring about a more integrated society is relevant and very much so needed.
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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