[eDebate] Women's issues discussed in Debate! Heaven forbid.

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Mon Apr 10 15:06:14 CDT 2006

Sad to say it, but hester made a great point---one can easily overturn Roe to
preserve womyn's rights. (this is actually a strong argument to oppose
overturning Roe as a topic because it is inherently bi-directional)I simply do
not understand why certain groups run shrieking away from the abortion debate.
It really is a fascinating area of argumentation. If I were a feminist, I would
relish coaching, researching and judging such debates. Yes, yes, yes, there are
plenty of issues that uniquely touch womyn. But, as womyn's rights advocates
note--this issue is the MOST controversial issue. I mean, there cannot be much
debate in America that women should get equal pay for equal work, or that
sexual discrimination is usually wrong. But with abortion, you have huge ground
on both sides to debate. The kritik ground is huge. The policy implications are
huge. If I were coaching on the topic, I am sure my teams would run overturn
Roe to (a) increase womyns rights  (b) to crush womyns rights and reproductive
freedom--claiming Opop/malthus as an advantage (c) Feminist For Life/a/k/a deep
feminism (d) Life of the fetus trumps a woman's privacy, just to name four
cases off the bat. On face, that is one case that would appeal to just about
every critic I know of on the circuit. My teams would--dare I say it?--ADAPT to
the judge in the back of the room. On the other side, we would be ready to run
virtually the same type arguments on the negative. And, there is always c-plan
ground. In other words, pass a Constitutional Amendment, Con-Con, pass a Law,
etc. to get around cases that you, for some unknown reason, cannot seem to argue

Your topic choices---"Resolved: NDT and Ceda should substantially increase the
participation of minorities in debate"-- as a policy debate topic is subject to
the "wrong forum" critique. There can be nothing more off putting than debaters
debating about how they are personally affected by debate. Frankly, it is NOT
an important societal issue. Sorry to burst the ballon of academic debate, but
debate is not the ultimate educational experience. Somehow, some way, MILLIONS
of womyn make it through college and life in general without debating. Now, I
have been and remain a critic of the "little boys playing little boy war games"
nature of policy debate. But, I do not think that the exclusive nature of the
activity is the subject of an actual debate topic. Rather, it is a topic of a
CEDA business meeting, an NCA panel, and a series of outreach programs. Policy
debate should focus on government policies--not the nuances of a small elite
group of college students (i.e. relatively rich men and women living in the
United States and attending college).

Your other choices--Employment practices, sexual harrassment--(1) already
debated in the Title VII topic (2) no real departures from the current
policies. The only cases would be at the margins. Overturning Roe is a clear
departure from the status quo and is a core debate about where America is and
what America should be. As a society, we have already agreed that employment
discrimination is usually wrong and that no person should have to put up with
sexual harassment. The only debate is how far to extend the general consensus.
But abortion is about as split an issue as one can find. Personally, I find the
issue to be extremely vexing, debatable, and personal. Which is why I can easily
see myself voting affirmative one round and negative the next, even if teams ran
the same 1AC each round.

Your last choice--Porn. Sounds like a good choice to me--especially with the
growth of performance piece affirmatives and the use of visual aids in rounds.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I would love to see the Maplethorpe
"Bullwhip up my ass" photo displayed in all its glory at the Liberty University
tournamnet. LOL.

One last thing. My limited experience has shown that the abortion debate among
women is about as evenly split as it is for men. In other words, there are a
lot of women out there who oppose Roe. I don't see how such a topic would
function to exclude womyn. If anything, there are a lot of firebrands out there
that would love to debate abortion. Those that recruit novices from classroom
argumentation classes would (or at least SHOULD)welcome a topic that quickly
triggers discussion, debate and overall involvement in the classroom. Let's
face it, just about everyone, no matter how ignorant, has an argument regarding
abortion rights. If you really want to increase student participation in college
policy debate, you would choose this topic. If you are worried that someone may
piss on your personal beliefs/dogma and you can't defend your own ideology,
then perhaps we should keep the abortion debate away from debaters. Its for
their protection [insert sarcasm here](or is it for you?).


Quoting nrichter at umsis.miami.edu:

> Quoting scottelliott at grandecom.net:
> >
> > Heaven forbid the discussion of key women's issues in an academic debate
> > round.
> > I mean, its not like abortion is not a key societal issue. Its not like
> > North
> > Dakota just decided to ban abortion. Its not like teams would have real
> > links
> > to politics disads if they debated abortion. Its not like this is an
> > issue that
> > students who are not already debaters would actually want to debate. No,
> > I
> > prefer that policy debate stick witht he more salient debates such as
> > federalism and whether China can be hermenuetically post-modernist with
> > a
> > slight hint of vanilla-nihlism.
> We can debate womyn's issues in debate. Obviously, I am for this. Nicole has
> already listed the possibility of approaching this debate through pornography
> or employment practices, or how about sexual harrassment, etc. Of course
> abortion is a key societal issue, but you have conceeded that there are also
> other societal issues that we are overlooking, and that everyear we overlook
> key societal issues. Why didn't we debate the war in Iraq or Afghanistan if
> our
> committee is so committed to "key societal issues"? Moreover, you create a
> false doublebind: the alternative is not federalism, I am not arguing for
> traditional "policy debate" topics. In fact at NCA the last couple years I
> have
> presented papers on feminist epistemology and debate. How about a resolution
> that says Resolved: NDT and Ceda should substantially increase the
> participation of minorities in debate? Isn't this a key societal issue?
> Doesn't
> this make debate personal, while creating a progressive kernal in the topic.
> I
> am also fine with the overule topic, without Roe v. Wade attached. There are
> plenty of other pressing issues to debate.
> > I wonder what has become of debate coaches and academic advisors who are
> > so set
> > in their personal beliefs that they would yank their squad from
> > particiaption
> > if a REAL topic of of controversy were chosen for debate.
> Debate coaches and advisors should definately be considered. With the lack of
> retention of womyn in this community, again I ask how will this topic make
> womyn feel more included?
> >
> > Perhaps those so opposed to such debates should rethink your philosophy
> > toward
> > academic debate---namely, you can make arguments that you do not
> > personally
> > believe in. No, really. You can do it. Try to seperate yourself from
> > the
> > arguments you make. This may sound old school, but I was taught that the
> > best
> > way to strengthen your personal beliefs is to argue against them, to
> > test them.
> > Try to find the flaws in your own logic. Is the problem that people are
> > so
> > entrenched in their uncontested beliefs, they are afraid to question
> > them? That
> > to me is a very dangerous mindset.
> Again this isn't only about the personal, it is a statement about how we as a
> community deal with the lack of womyn present. And if you are right, again I
> draw the analogy to the fact that we aren't debating overturning Brown v.
> Board
> of education. If you arg's are true, we should in order to argue against our
> personal beliefs in order to strengthen our anti-racist stances. It is not a
> matter of seperating yourself from the arguments you make, it is a matter of
> dealing with sexism in THIS COMMUNITY.
> > _______________________________________________
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> >

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