Gender and Debate
Thu Apr 13 09:10:47 CDT 2000
On Wed, 12 Apr 2000, Eun Young Choi wrote:
> I don't think that the conflation of the gender kritik of ir and that of the
> gendered language debate is appropriate. It seems as if the majority of
> Katy's post assumes the kritik of gendered language, as opposed to the
> problems of ir's realist framework and its in/exclusion of conceptions of
> gender (aka the very clever term "gendertivity"). I believe that the
> educational value of examining ir through the lens of gender is not, as
> Rachel very eloquently put it, any less a valid academic endeavor than PICs
> bad, or NTR debates, and it certainly is a road less traveled. I think
> probably the reason this was so is that the resolution, as a whole, did not
> link to many of the flaws pointed out by such authors as flawed in their
> conception of ir (although, I guess WGA's success w/ this argument might
> prove me wrong), since sanctions seem, by their very nature, to embody a
> foreign policy that these academics would critique most severely.
> I have no issue with emotions / personal views in debate. I guess my
> biggest problem is that I feel sometimes issues that people feel very
> passionately about (such as gendered language) evolve into more personal
> attacks against their opponents.
this is exactly what im talking about. all im saying is that it happens
enough with "regular topics", but to focus on such issues like
"pro-choice" for an entire year is insane...and would drive us
insane. and would open a whole new pool of people to get emotionally
envolved in rounds and create tension with debaters (just as it has
now). this is not educational.
> I will say that I am oftentimes at fault for not using more gender
> appropriate language. As Sherry will attest to, I'm not so great at
> remembering the genders of my opponents while referencing their args in my
> 1AR. I've been trying to work on that throughout the year, mainly because
> others voice how they feel silenced by such references, and I've tried to
> understand their point of view.
> Personally, I do not feel silenced or that my arguments are being discounted
> or that I'm being ignored as a person because someone referred to me as he.
> It's annoying, but I don't take it to be my opponent's testament that I am
> not who I am, or that I should "be a man" or something, but just their
> forgetfulness. I can imagine how others might feel that way, however.
> Similarly, I don't think being referred to in "hey guys" or the use of
> "brinksmanship" is offensive. If language is a fluid as opposed to static
> term, I think that although perhaps terms like "brinksmanship" and "guys"
> were once used to only describe gentlemen running their nation states and a
> group of boys, they do not necessarily mean that today.
> I take issue that cards that are read that use gendered language are
> becoming so discounted because of it, or when people, who have realized the
> faults in gendered language and are trying to rectify the situation spend
> time crossing out, in academic exercise, words that could be construed as
> gendered in an effort to realize this problem, and still have this
> argument run against them. This, I think, seems to be the ultimate goal
> of the authors (and the arguers) of the kritik of gendered language: the
> acknowledgement that this is a problem and it should be fixed. It is
> impossible for me, personally, to discount Kant (or Joy Gordon, a woman
> who interpreted the Categorical Imperative and applied it to
> Iraqi sanctions) because he used gendered language at a time when such ideas
> had not yet developed. Yes, he was wrong about his views about the
> rationality of women. However, does this discount other views he held that
> seem to justify such noble ends? Such arguments seem to mean that
> any author, prior to the 1990s, would probably be subject to similar
> censure, which means that the evolution of modern political and
> philosophical thought would essentially be impermissible to most
> rounds. Yet, I've lost a ballot to this argument this year, as have
> others. It seems to be disingenuous to hold people who
> read other authors responsible for the words they employ to make their
> arguments when they make a valiant effort to understand and respect the
> concerns raised by gender activists. Using the ballot in support of such
> an act seems to me to be superfluous in that instance, simply because it
> punishes the opponents despite their acknowledgement and respect for the
> other team's concerns. However, I feel like oftentimes judges are put in
> this position where on the one hand, they realize that the other team has
> tried to reconcile this problem of gender (through apology or
> permutation or some other mechanism) but they feel like they are
> obligated to vote for the critiquing for, honestly, fear of being labeled,
> in the same way, as disrespectful towards women's issues, especially in
> debate, and because they personally cannot discount the value of the
> ballot because they are not women and do not know the experience of being
> a woman in modern society.
and with a topic that has stong potential to focus on sich discussions,
ilts going to happen more and more often.... and you cant always ignore it
and go for PICs bad, it could be the whole freakin aff that you can
> The above makes this particular argument substantively different than
> a Clinton debate. There are weighty implications to voting in such
> rounds, which makes them more contentious and perhaps more akin
> towards labeling the other team or anyone else who might disagree as
> "sexist" as opposed to simply trying to enlighten, empower and unify.
absolutly. clinton and oil debates are A LOT different than "sex" debates
or "pro-choice" debates!!!
> I liked it best when one female I watched debate in an out round this year
> said "I'm a she, thank you." It did not become a voting issue, nor an
> attack against the other team. Just an expression that she'd like to point
> out the rhetoric of her opponents and their exclusion of gender.
> I know that I might cause a lot of controversy, and I've been chicken (as I
> know some of my female colleagues are) to post something
> about this subject. I don't want this to be construed as a personal
> attack on any womyn or women who run such arguments. However, the
> controversy this message might ensue perhaps is evidence to the fact
> that, even among women in debate, these issues are divisive and not
> universally agreed upon.
this is great, i totally agree!! on the spot
> I cannot speak for anyone else, nor dare to, but personally, I find debate
> to be the most empowering activity I've ever been a part of, and one of
> the most inclusive and loving communities imaginable. I just pray
> for the day that I won't be known as a woman or a minority, but just
> someone who loves the game...
i agree with her on pretty much all
> Yours most sincerely,
> Eun Young Choi
> Harvard Debate '02
George Mason University
GMU DEBATE Team
Information Technology & Engineering School Senator
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