The Instigator
iq_two
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points
The Contender
RScinteie
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The images offered by debate.org are sexist.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,418 times Debate No: 320
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (17)

 

iq_two

Pro

They are all male, except for "Barber", "Female", "Female Profile", "Girl", "Hospital Nurse", "Immunologist", "Queen", "Receptionist", "Teacher", "Waitress", and "Woman", and a couple that have both males and females. Out of 94 images (not counting the ones that were not human or had more than one person), only 11 are women. And for the most part, the ones that are female either have to be female by definition, such as "Woman", "Female", or "Girl", or are stereotypically female jobs, such as "waitress" and "nurse"- I am saying these are stereotypically women, not that there aren't men in these professions. ANyway, my point is, it's sexist.
RScinteie

Con

Your first stipulation is that debate.org is sexist because there is a disproportionate ratio favoring male images.

Was the intention of debate.org, in putting forth these images, to rally against women? We can only imagine some band of men out there sitting behind a computer and cackling maniacally as they "stick it to the woman." But OK. Discounting other possibilities such as a lack of time, or care, etc., and simply assuming that these men had it out for you, a more constructive target would be society. It's typical to assume that debate.org is some maleficent website, some rogue community, in an otherwise egalitarian society, but the fact still remains that we are relentlessly affected by our environments, and it is these environments that, at least psychologically speaking, are conducive to unconscious expressions of sexist attitudes. As much as you're speaking out against sexism, how natural is it for a man to wear a skirt? It's fine for a woman to wear pants, but a man with a skirt would merit some raised eyebrows. We don't WANT to label skirts as solely female, but because we are being influenced by society all the time, and because society does not agree with men wearing skirts, we bristle at the thought.

Are the images themselves sexist? If we look at any form of media, is it obligatory that we include an equal number of men and women? Should there be an equal number of male and female firefighters in a 9/11 documentary? You're mistaken if you think we can reach this perfect form of objectivity. Debate.org is a human creation, and as a human creation, it is inherently subjective.
Debate Round No. 1
iq_two

Pro

First, I never said that debate.org was sexist, just that the image selection is. Second, I'm not saying that it's the creators purposely being sexist, and I'm sure that it's not. And your point about it being the fault of society is exactly the point I'm trying to make- despite everything, society still makes us psychologically consider women second class citizens, and assume that most professionals are men, even if the reality doesn't back that up. It's like the riddle where a man and his son were in a plane crash and the man died instantly but the son survived. When the boy was brought to the hospital, the surgeon looked at him and said, "I can't operate on this boy, he's my son!" How is this possible? The answer, of course, is that the surgeon is the boy's mother. But the automatic assumption is that the surgeon is male. This is even shown in language, in which "proper grammar" still insists we use the male pronouns when talking about a person of unknown gender.
So yes, it is society that is sexist. And that is clearly reflected in debate.org's image gallery.
RScinteie

Con

RScinteie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
iq_two

Pro

Since the person arguing the con side didn't post anything, I can't reply. However, in the comments, it was brought up that many of them are non-gender-specific, such as group ones, or iconic ones. As I said in my first post, not counting the group or iconic images, there were about 94 images of which only 11 were women. As for whoever said it's not sexist if it accurately projects women occupations as a whole, my point is that it DOES NOT- women are no more likely to be waitresses or nurses than they are to be lawyers, doctors, prisoners, students, sculptors, writers, or most of the other icons available.
RScinteie

Con

RScinteie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by topher 9 years ago
topher
It's also a little scary that they're faceless.

Also, don't you love the people who actually TAKE THE TIME to post that a topic is lame? :)
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
I should also note that many people have, in fact, accused Barbie dolls of being sexist, though not precisely for the reason you cite. And I should further note that your comment is a non sequitur.

The only really relevant comment you made was to note that "they simply do not have hair so you assume that they are all men"--this is actually a good (albeit rather sneaky) point, as it is only our culturally-ingrained stereotypes about what hairstyles and outfits are more masculine or feminine that even allow us to judge whether such simple, abstract images are male or female. This doesn't invalidate the criticism that the images do not appear to a reasonable observer to be fairly representational of both genders, of course--but it does add an extra layer of absurdity to the whole affair.

I think it is missing the point to assume that this is solely about some abstract PC nonsense, though. This is also, although perhaps trivially so, a simple practical concern: offering such a poor variety of female avatars means that female debaters may be less likely to join the website, because they are offended, don't want to go to the trouble of having to upload an image themselves, or don't like the few choices available. This in turn means that fewer females will join the site, which will worsen the site's debate quality, both in general because it will deprive us of people who might be excellent debaters, and in terms of specific issues which might benefit from female perspectives in various ways, such as abortion, feminism, and sexism.

There isn't any real reason not to provide at least a somewhat more equal sexual distribution, if not a perfectly 50/50 one; doing so could only help the site.
Posted by Rob 9 years ago
Rob
Um... you ARE aware, Conspicious Conservative, that breasts are not reproductive organs? Perhaps you have heard of something called the "vagina." That is the female equivalent of the male penis. (Well, more precisely, the clitoris is--but you get my drift.) Last I heard, Barbies do not have vaginas, which makes them no more anatomically correct than Ken dolls.
Posted by Conspicuous_Conservative 9 years ago
Conspicuous_Conservative
such a lame topic to discuss why must we all be so sensitive, in this world. We all search for things that are either racist and sexist is really sad that little cartoons offend you. They simply do not have hair so you assume that they are all men. I am going to accuse the makers of Barbie for being sexist cause she has nice breast but poor Ken is lacking equipment.
Posted by ruth421963 9 years ago
ruth421963
We are still living in a backward
world as we enter 2008. That is so
sad as sicking.
Hope & Peace,
Ruth
Posted by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
You have to keep in mind that most of them cannot be classified by gender, such as the group ones, the symbolic ones (such as a mummy), the incomplete ones (such as the hands), and the iconic ones (such as superman) because they obviously already have a gender affiliation. I actually find them to be pretty gender and racially diverse, though I would have never looked if you hadn't brought it up.
Posted by Klashbash 9 years ago
Klashbash
It's not sexist if it accurately projects women occupations as a whole.
Posted by christ88 9 years ago
christ88
Ah you want sexist, read the debate that now is up for voting, "Women should not have the same rights as men".
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 11 months ago
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Vote Placed by topher 9 years ago
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