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Modern Feminism is culturally important

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/19/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,465 times Debate No: 37844
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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As historical feminism has gained ground, a market demand for anti-feminists has emerged, in which feminists with little to lose are financially and socially rewarded for denouncing feminism, damaging the reputation of a just cause [1]. A reiteration of feminism's contextual importance is therefore worth some effort from my end.

I expect a recurring theme in my industry-related arguments will be based the testimonies of women who have experienced or observed gender-based workplace exploitation [2][3][4][5][6]. On a less tangible level, some feminists feel that the concept of woman has been redefined by male supremacy [7][8], calling for feminist environments to help women reconstruct the female identity in a culture of male entitlement. It has also been argued that the influence of women's rights movements, racial civil rights movements, and worker's rights movements are entwined together [9][10].

My arguments will certainly include the important role of modern feminism in shedding light on human trafficking [11][12], prostitution [12][13][14], and pornography [15][16]. Depending on the scope of the debate, I may also discuss the weaknesses of patriarchal social structures [15] and the role of female education and empowerment in obtaining economic prosperity and political wisdom [17][18][19].

Of the following list of sources, several are not fully available for free. I have access to a few and own two in paper form, but I will limit my quotes to phrases available in the free samples of the literature, to allow opposition and readers to verify with the click of a mouse. If I list additional sources in other rounds, I will number them starting at the number I left off on at the previous round (for example, if i add a source in round 2, it will be listed as [20]), to reduce clutter.

1. Jennifer Pozner "Female Anti-Feminism for Fame and Profit"

2. Faith Wilding, "Monstrous Domesticity"

3. Clara Zetkin, "Lenin on the Women's Question"

4. Clara Zetkin, "On a Bourgeois Feminist Petition"

5. Alexandra Kollontai, "The Social Basis of the Woman Question"

6. Alexandra Kollontai, "Women Workers Struggle For Their Rights"

7. Linda Alcoff, "Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism"

8. Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp, "Women's Culture and Lesbian Feminist Activism"

9. Patricia Hill Collins, "Defining Black Feminist Thought"

10. "The Combahee River Collective Statement"

11. C Whyte, "Intersectionality und Kritik"

12. Potter, Downey, & Montoya, "Transformative Activism and Human Trafficking"

13. Jodie Masotta, "Decades of Reform: Prostitutes, Feminists, and the War on White Slavery"

14. Maddy Coy, "Prostitution Harm and Gender Inequality: Theory Research and Policy"

15. Pala Molisa, "Accounting For Pornography, Prostitution And Patriarchy"

16. Kat Banyard, "Prostitution, Harm and Gender Inequality: Theory, Research and Policy"

17. Zafiris Tzannatos, "Women and Labor Market Changes in the Global Economy: Growth Helps, Inequalities Hurt and Public Policy Matters"

18. Hayes and Flannery, "Women as Learners: The Significance of Gender in Adult Learning."

19. Mukhopadhyay and Seymour, "Women, education, and family structure in India."
Debate Round No. 1


I appreciate my opposition's acceptance of this debate, and I extend an invitation to deconstruct or rebut the summary of arguments from my first round. In the absence of such content, I am limited to merely quote samples from my sources:

1. "Feminism, in its most pure form, is an ideological movement for women's political, social, and economic equality," dismissing claims from anti-feminists that "activists for women's rights are intellectually and sexually naive, and should not be taken seriously when they speak in the classroom or of the bedroom."

2. "To be feminized means to be made extremely vulnerable; able to be disassembled, reassembled, exploited as a reserve labor force; seen less as workers than as servers; subjected to time arrangements on and off the paid job that makes a mockery of a limited work day; leading an existence that always borders on being obscene, out of place, and reducible to sex."

3. "Could there be a more damning proof of this than the calm acquiescence of men who see how women grow worn out In petty, monotonous household work, their strength and time dissipated and wasted, their minds growing narrow and stale, their hearts beating slowly, their will weakened! Of course, I am not speaking of the ladies of the bourgeoisie who shove on to servants the responsibility for all household work, including the care of children. What I am saying applies to the overwhelming majority of women, to the wives of workers and to those who stand all day in a factory."

4. "The proletarian woman, living in straitened circumstances if not bitter poverty and overburdened with work, continues to make the sacrifice of time and energy required by organisational activity; bravely she exposes herself to the legal consequences and accepts the penalties that hang over her head "in the name of the law.""

5. "For the majority of women of the proletariat, equal rights with men would mean only an equal share in inequality, but for the "chosen few", for the bourgeois women, it would indeed open doors to new and unprecedented rights and privileges that until now have been enjoyed by men of the bourgeois class alone. But each new concession won by the bourgeois woman would give her yet another weapon for the exploitation of her younger sister and would go on increasing the division between the women of the two opposite social camps. Their interests would be more sharply in conflict, their aspirations more obviously in contradiction."

6. "The demands affecting women were limited to general desires for the protection of female labour and the recognition of full political rights for adults, without, however, emphasising that this last demand applied to women too."

7. "In attempting to speak for women, feminism often seems to presuppose that it knows whatwomen truly are, butsuch an assumption is foolhardy given that every source of knowledge aboutwomen has been contaminated with misogyny and sexism."

8. "Cultural feminism is the belief that women will be freed via an alternate women's culture."

9. "Black women's work and family experiences and grounding in traditional African-American culture suggest that African-American women as a group experience a world different from that of those who are not Black and female. "

10. "Before looking at the recent development of Black feminism we would like to affirm that we find our origins in the historical reality of Afro-American women's continuous life-and-death struggle for survival and liberation."

11. "American feminist legal theory has identified prostitution as "A paradigm of degradation and as a practice of inequality" that underlies both a continuum of violence against women as well as the legal measures taken to control that violence."
Note: "Intersectionality und Kritik" is the name of a journal in which this reference was published. The title of the paper is "Praise Be, Prostitutes as the Women We Are not:White Slavery and Human Trafficking "" an Intersectional Analysis"

12. "My findings include a need for advocacy that is not "top-down" but that is created and led by marginalized communities that are vulnerable to human trafficking and human rights abuses."

13. "I focus on the importance of allowing the prostitutes that lived in this time to have their own voice and represent themselves honestly, instead of losing sight of their desires and preferences in the political arguments that were made at the time."

14. "Rapidly evolving technological advances and ways in which sexual consumerism is increasingly knitted into mainstream capitalism are also transforming the organization of prostitution."

15. "Radical feminism not only holds the key to making sense of pornography and prostitution, it also enables us to radicalize our politics and to deepen the normative visions that would inform and enrich our work."

16. "The past two decades have witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the global sex industry . . . The consequences have been profound -- for the women whose bodies constitute the 'raw materials' of this trade and for relations between women and men more broadly.

17. "To break the vicious circle of women's low initial human capital endowments and inferior labor market outcomes compared to men's, the paper proposes greater access of girls to education and of women to training, enforceable equal pay and equal employment opportunities legislation, a taxation and benefits structure that treats reproduction as an economic activity and women as equal partners within households, and a better accounting of women's work to include invisible production."

18. "Women's learning must be understood and valued in its own right."

19. "Concern for 'marriageability' still plays a central role in women's educational choices and outcomes."


My opponent used the first round as an outline of what he plans on arguing... and his next round for random quotes. When will he actually put forward some arguments for me to counter?
Debate Round No. 2


History has distorted the definition of 'feminine,' causing it to symbolize vulnerability. Fortunately, in the United States and many other nations, women have the same legal rights as men, removing the tangible barriers to female equality. However, the intangible barriers manifest themselves in tangible ways, such as the inequality of gender pay. The title of vulnerability has been passed through the generations by means of cultural expectation. Addressing these intangible barriers to female equality is a cultural task, not a legal one, and is therefore best performed by a cultural movement. The tangible barriers to equality - such as the right to vote - were straightforward and tangible. They were easily rallied for and a matter of political muscle, not philosophical finesse. But as Verta Taylor and Leila Rupp point out [8], modern feminism seeks to achieve this sense of self-actualized equality via an alternate women's culture. Women's equality has been legally achieved, but women and men are born and raised in entirely different worlds, and therein lies the necessity of modern feminism. A proper modern feminist movement enables empowerment of women before they reach voting age, during the development that will define their self confidence, cognitive focus and expectations from friends and relationships.

The importance of feminist movements is heightened by the unfortunate reality that women do not grow up and develop in a world regarding them as equal. The media, which helps define mechanisms of power and social acceptance for children, often paints a world in which women acheive power by overrelying on sexual attraction, causing women to grow up with less incentive than men to think critically. This produces a society in which a man is legitimately more likely to have the skills to be an engineer, scientist, chess player, or critical thinker by career or by hobby. Additionally, males in media are more often taught implicitly that confidence is their key to success, causing them to work on confidence as they grow up. A woman is still less qualified a for politically oriented job than an equally qualified man.

This causes men to be richer, and the media responds to wealth by playing to its audience. The media yields more and more to the men who want to see male characters empowered. It's not a conspiracy to push women down, it's just the free market, but that doesn't mean it can be ignored. It calls for a cultural response. It calls for feminism.

The same mechanism exists even more strongly in the porn industry, in which female porn stars have an average shelf life of three to six months and most of the money to be made in the industry comes from a male audience.

As if that weren't enough, there exists a cannibalistic paradox to feminist movements, in which feminism calls for the empowerment of women, yet individual women are financially and socially empowered by anti-feminists for dismissing feminism. Since feminism stands for the empowerment of women as a whole, its core qualities that attract women to the movement are the same that motivate dissension and a lack of unity. This creates a negative feedback loop, in which feminism is predisposed to assign itself less credit than it deserves.

In these contexts, women intuitively sense that they are not given the proper forms of respect, but since most people do not have social science degrees to explain these perfectly reasonable conclusions, most women are unable to connect their rational, frontal-lobe cognitions with their deeper, dignity-oriented feelings. Though the connection has been made by sociologists and psychologists, most women are forced to choose between their thoughts and their feelings, creating a political irrational loyalty for whichever party gives them more general respect, as Vladimir Lenin so adeptly exploited in his Russian communist movement. Even in modern America, democrats and republicans can count on the invisible male-female rivalry that few understand in detail, in which democrats will do better with females and republicans will do better with males. To clear politics of such gender rivalries and discuss the actual difference between liberal and conservatives ideologies, feminism must acheive an intellectually understood structure.


InVinoVeritas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


InVinoVeritas - I admire your honesty. By all DBO criteria, you are a more experienced and successful debater than I, and it shows the qualities of a great mind and a healthy integrity to recognize the error of your ways and voluntarily forfeit a debate. I welcome you to the Gentleman's demographic, and I appreciate your future contributions to the modern feminist movement.



I have recognized the error of my ways; by this, I mean that I really shouldn't engage in debates when I'm busy with coursework.


Debate Round No. 4


Good luck with school, and feel free to instigate a redo in the future. I'll have to convert you later!


InVinoVeritas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Kaylen_That_Alien 3 years ago
One who strives for true equality does not focus soley on the issues of one, or a few; but he/she focuses on all as a whole.
Posted by brant.merrell 3 years ago
A woman *still feels* less qualified for a politically oriented job haha.
Posted by brant.merrell 4 years ago
Zach1 - show Con how it's done and challenge me to a debate on this topic.
Posted by Zach1 4 years ago
Modern "feminism" is ruining our society and is a threat to all of mankind. I hope that con is prepared to take a proper stance.
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