[eDebate] women & gossip--a true elephant in the corner

Anonymous Debater anon_debater
Sun May 14 12:11:10 CDT 2006

I am writing this anonymously because if I post my name with it, people will 
instantly think that I'm being overly whiny and will likely do exactly what 
this post laments--they will likely start thinking of the rumors going 
around about me to figure out why I would post this.  Perhaps that makes me 
weak.  I don't care.  This post is not targeted at Brett, Strauss, Casey, et 
al, but rather is a general comment about/to the debate community.

There are many reasons participation by women in debate is low, obviously.  
I won't try to say that some factor is the main reason.  That said, I DO 
think that the way gossip is formulated and spread throughout the activity 
is a large incentive for women to quit the activity.  I agree with Jane on 

Do not get me wrong: men are ridiculed too.  But in a different fashion.  
For women, the gossip almost always has to do with their sexuality and 
sexual endeavours.  Just look at the post about Burke's DCA award:  every 
joke in there about women were about sexuality (sluts, fake tits, STDs, 
"giving the butt," shockers, etc.).  Guys get teased and gossiped about for 
many reasons also, but sex is often only a minor part, and usually even then 
only involves gossip about who they hooked up with and/or what they were  
able to get away with when they did--but not more intimate details that 
women are gossiped about.

Mere statistics means women aren't going to come out of gossip well.  There 
just aren't as many girls.  Even girls that are far from promiscuous are 
likely going to end up with multiple guys in debate just because there are 
many more guys than girls.  That means those girls have more instances that 
they're going to be gossiped about.

Additionally, the same problem that affects all of society, affects 
debate--when guys hook up with girls, they aren't shamed for it, if anything 
it makes them cool.  Women, however, get the title of slut.  This effect 
though is more pronounced in such a small, insular community, especially in 
one that the ratio of men to women is as large as it is.

These types of rumors and jokes aren't the kinds of things that all women 
can just blow off.  They can be very painful and can target a woman's very 
sense of self-worth.  Jane wasn't making stuff up, I know specific women 
that for them gossip was a specific reason they finally left the activity, 
and for which they don't even want to come back from time to time and be 
minimally involved.  I won't name names for the same reasons I'm not naming 
my own.  And I know it's having an effect on me such that I'm thinking about 
leaving the activity early.

I know this email won't change anything.  People will continue to gossip as 
they always do.  But I nonetheless hope that some of you will think twice 
before you do.

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