Resolved: Modern American Feminism is Both Correct and Needed
Debate Rounds (4)
Since I am con on this, my opponent will be pro and the first arguments will be pro stating their case for modern american feminism in round one. Since I will be arguing against them, I will begin by putting my own arguments and responding to them in round two. That is how this debate will go.
Women in the West continue to, by-and-large, be treated like second class citizens.
Women make up more than half of the American population. They earn 60% of undergraduate degrees, and 60% of Masters degrees, 47% of law degrees, 48% of medical degrees, and 59% of the college-educated, entry-level workforce. Despite all this, they comprise less than 15% of executive offices, 8.1% of top-earners, 20% of women in congress. Despite making up more than 45% of associates in the legal field, only 15% of equity partners are women. This is to say nothing of the even more substantial gap present in the lives of coloured women in the United States, which is itself a major focus of contemporary, intersectional feminism. (1) Women also continue to lack agency over bodies - aside from momentous beauty standards (and the enduring sentiment that a woman's beauty is her only true asset), there is the ongoing war against the female libido (slut-shaming, attire standardization, etc.), and the persisting anti-abortion movement.
These issues alone should illustrate the sustained relevance of feminism in America.
Since I am arguing against the motion. I am simply going to respond to Pro's points.
Underrepresentation of Women in Positions of Power
The main first point that my opponent makes is that women are underrepresented in positions of power relative to their share of the total population. Though one can quibble with the exact figures, this is indisputably true in the larger picture. However, it is not true that discrimination against women or any sort of systematic sexism is the cause of this. Indeed, a basic fallacy underlies so much discourse over gender. This fallacy is that any field that doesn't have 50% or more women in it is simply that way due to sexism.
This is a relatively ridiculous position. And, it is interesting that feminists only apply this ridiculous standard to desirable positions. For example, you very seldom here feminists mention that the most undesirable, isolated, and dangerous occupations are also overwhelmingly male. In fact, they are even more overwhelmingly male than top executive positions and other positions of power. If we look at the 5 occupations with the highest occupational fatality rates (such as logging and roofers), all five are well over 90% male . This leads to over 93% of occupational fatalities being male . Again, it is very seldom that anyone hears feminists talking about this gender gap.
It's also odd that a society and job market supposedly set up to the advantage of men also delegates its most dangerous jobs to largely men. Of course, a more astute observer may posit that something else is at work. They would be correct. Not every gender disparity actually has much to do with sexism or discrimination at all.
Once people simply observe that men and women are different (on average) in terms of both priorities and skillsets, these gender disparities start to make a lot more sense than the feminist position of patriarchal oppression being the root cause of all disparities.
The reality is that humans are a sexually dimorphic species . Men, on average, are physically larger than women. They're also more competitive, more violent, more likely to take risks, more likely to be leaders, and more interested in objective ideas. Women, on the other hand, are physically smaller than men on average. They're less competitive, less violent, more risk averse, less interested in leadership of large organizations, and more interested in emotional connection .
Beyond the biological differencs between men and women, there are also differences in social pressure. This may seem like a point in favor of feminism (as feminists often argue this), but in fact they are wrong about the nature of this as well. In fact, social pressure often merely amplifies differences between groups that already eminate from biology. It is also untrue that women face more unfair social pressure than do men. For example, traditionally, both social pressure and biological evolutionary pressure pushed men to focus more on being protectors and providers who strive for alpha male status in whatever environment they are in. This competitive drive that exists more in men than in women due to differences in reproductive capacity is a much more likely explanation for the high proporiton of men in both positions of power and dangerous occupations .
Women, on the other hand, had evolutionary pressure to be caretakers and focus more on preserving their own physical beauty (which is in fact, evolutionarily, a woman's main attribute). These realities did, in older societies, have the effect of limiting both genders. However, a large part of these differences is simply human nature. No matter how feminist our society becomes, they will exist even if there is no sexism whatsoever.
My opponent also says that women lack agency over their bodies. This is simply untrue. I'd like to see my opponent expand on this so I could have something to respond to. To the degree that slut shaming even exists in America, again, this goes back to the biological realities. I'm not even saying that it is fair, but feminist brainwashing isn't going to fix it.
Human's evolved without paternity tests so a promiscuous woman was more likely to cuckold an unsuspecting husband or society may even be stuck with the costs. At the same time, given that women are the pickier sex when it comes to sex, there is nothing particularly impressive about a promiscuous woman. On the contrary, a promiscuous man at least has to be sexually attractive in order to get women. The same is not true for women.
When it comes to abortion, it is currently legal. Even those who oppose abortion only oppose it on the grounds that they believe life begins at conception and thus abortion is ending a life. Even if you disagree with that, it is hard to argue that it has anything to do with restricting women. It is about the sanctity of life (if you are pro life).
I look forward to my opponent's response. This should be a good debate.
I would like to begin by refuting my opponent"s case on the biological differences between men and women, particularly his citation :
Del Giudici's paper is not uncontested, (1) and is, itself, responding to a contrary and more popularly accepted paper, Janet Shibley Hyde"s "Gender Similarities Hypothesis" (2) (it should be noted that Hyde"s paper utilized aggregative meta-studies, whereas Del Giudici"s paper did not). All of that said, we can"t rule out the supposed liberal bias of psychology, (3) though Del Giudici does not disclose his own personal beliefs in his paper. All that being said, having read Del Giudici"s paper myself, (4) I found his methodology to be absolutely bogus. Del Giudici"s findings (and Irwing and Booth"s findings) rest on the outcome of a self-filled standardized personality questionnaire! By this paper"s reasoning, quizzes at the back-end of Cosmopolitan are just as empirical! It"s tautological. Karl Popper also refutes this sort of research in the Degrees of Testability chapter of his seminal "The Logic of Scientific Discovery", and to a degree in his preface vis-"-vis Wittgenstein, Berkley, Locke, Hume. (5)
In actuality, this data reinforces my case - if all the data does is confirm how women perceive themselves and not necessarily how they are, it speaks to a reading of gender and sexuality that is culturally or socially imposed. Similar data could be and has been drawn from studies on race and socioeconomic status; (6) unless we wish to infer that the disadvantaged are biologically predisposed to be that way, we may consider the a posteriori psychological ramifications of being black, or being poor, or being gay, or being a woman, etc, etc, ad nauseum, considering the weight of social and cultural expectations, of the effect of mass media on the conscious self.
Furthermore, human beings actually have remarkably low sexual dimorphism - one may notice this if they have ever been attracted to famed transgendered super model Valentijn de Hingh, (7) or felt confused looking at a billboard featuring female model for men"s clothing Casey Legler. (8)
Based on the above information, I continue to possit that it is not in fact a woman"s natural disposition that determines her role in society, but the pathological expectations that that society has for HER. While my opponent"s reference to the low number of women in dangerous fields is not unacknowledged (it should be noted, however, that is is still reflective of social expectation - masculine culture absolutely romanticizes the "dangerous job", etc., though ofc the fitness of some of these jobs certainly favours those with a larger physique, which is primarily men. THAT being said (anecdote incoming), my sister is a competitive powerlifter, while I, a man, am a lanky writer), it pales in comparison to the lack of women representing women within government, a system which functions to represent the people, yet as of now primarily represents old white men.
Furthermore, while evolutionary psychology attempts to bank off of sounding like it"s a hard science, it"s actually almost completely unempirical and its methodology, as far as Karl Popper is concerned, pseudo-science. (5) A statement about the evolutionary role of the genders is about as scientific as most social science-based arguments in favor of feminism: it"s largely, while no doubt intellectually entertaining, speculative, only seeks to confirm itself, but is not really testable, refutable, or falsifiable.
I"d like to refute the term "feminist brainwashing" as it colours the position: reeducation is a core tenet of social progress. Certainly children in schools today already have gone through decades of education on racial equality to better prepare them for the contemporary social climate. It seems to be slowly working; a lot more people now care about race issues than ever before, general racial tolerance is up, (9) and we"ve certainly stopped forming lynch mobs. An evolutionary psychologist could easily argue that our previous state was biologically ordained: as postulated in Frances Cress Welsing"s "Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation", the white race needed to practice explicit racism in order to survive. Killing black people, and thus thinning the competitive genetic herd, was an evolutionary necessity, as was segregation. Contrarily, my opponent could then combat my strawman and claim that it was in fact the growing acceptance of racial minorities that was evolutionarily advantageous, because it diversifies and strengthens the gene pool. In matters of gender, one could turn to the arguments of Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, or even Valerie Solanas, or, if one really wanted to, even Friedrich Engels as providing contrary evidence of "evolutionary psychology" which posits arguments that entirely counter those of the ones my opponent had been attempting to use. As one can see, such a position is infinitely flexible and pseudoscientific. Again, not unlike the leagues of online feminists who attempt to augment practical arguments with academically fascinating, but unempirical and irrefutable, critical theory alone, because they happened to glance at a Judith Butler article in Gender Studies 101.
Anthropology has showed much evidence that social circumstances have been demonstrably flexible throughout history, which includes attitudes towards female promiscuity. Warren Dawson tells us that, in some regions of Central Africa, polyandry (the practice of a woman taking several exclusive male partners) was common practice. There still exist cultures in the Amazon who practice multi-paternal families, in which a woman has sex with several men of her choosing before conceiving a baby that is to be their collective son. (10) And what of the matriarchal societies of ancient Vietnam, or of the Hopi and Iroquois Indians, ancient regions of India, the still thriving Mosuo people of Eastern China, etc.?
To contend with the abortion argument: the sanctity of life argument of course begs the "unjust burden" counterargument. If we conclude that it"s unethical to force a fully conscious human being to surrender his kidney to save another, or that it"s unjustified for the very, very rich to comfortably support the poor masses the world over, then it is of course unethical to oppose a woman"s right to end the burden of pregnancy. That this is opposed at all suggests (though not entirely affirms!) a double standard, (11) to of course say nothing of the enormous barriers that still face women in the United States when they attempt to get a legal abortion. (12) We don"t necessarily have to get into an entire debate about abortion or the ethics thereof, however, as it IS it"s own highly-contested issue and could lengthen this debate tenfold - if my opponent is willing, we could just toss it out entirely.
Looking forward to what looks like is going to be a great debate, even if I didn't proofread my argument and likely made some serious grammatical gaffe for which I will be greatly ashamed.
Runn92 forfeited this round.
Runn92 forfeited this round.
DoctorFight forfeited this round.
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