Paul Elam debated Charles Clymer. I could only make it to the end of the structured section before I had to stop watching. Both debaters had no clue how to go about actually making points or presenting their case. After the opening comments I’ve seen school yard fights more articulate than either of these people.
“I know you are but what am I” is not a valid argument.
So lets look at the opening arguments to see what little use there was, and how to do better.
Paul starts the debate. He does a reasonable job of presenting his case. The first point is poorly made but valid. There is a great deal of sexism against men in feminist writings. Quoting a long dead advocate that even many feminists recognize as a bigot was not a good starting point. There are many current bigots with current quotes that Paul could have used. After this Paul makes several really good points speaking to the question is Feminism toxic to men.
- UofT Protest of Warren Farrell
- Ryerson Student Union silencing women trying to speak about men’s issues
- The male minority on campuses
- The Dear Colleague Letter
- The Grossman Op-Ed
- Parity in Victimization
- The “Males Can not be Victims” stereotype
These are valid an reasonable examples and reason of how feminism is toxic to men. They are not proof positive that feminism is toxic, but they do make a strong case. If these examples and reasons where indisputable and indisputably representative there would be no reason for a debate. There are some issue with these examples and some ways to validly and usefully question Paul’s Position. This simply isn’t done.
Clymer’s Opening is just sad. He apparently didn’t think to prepare or something and does much more of a response than an opening statement. The real position that Clymer was arguing was not that feminism isn’t toxic, but that Paul Elam and AVFM are. For answering the question of if Feminism is toxic, the toxicity of Elam and other MRA’s is irrelevant. Clymer does make 3 points that Paul does not address and are actually on topic.
The attacks on “men” are taken personally by men, not as an indictment of “The System”. This is fair and reasonable, but weak. When feminism and feminists attack “Men” it is really next to impossible for “Men” to not feel attacked. If the problem is “The system” feminists and feminism would not talk about men, but the system.
Clymer presents his personal anecdotal experience as proof, and then proceeds to shoot himself in the foot by talking about how he does nothing to upset or question the feminist. The fact he’s a lap dog can’t be the real reason he’s accepted.
The third point really was the best point and one that opened the possibility of having a real meaningful debate and not a name calling contest. Clymer disputes the claims of parity in victimization. This really is the point that both argument hing upon. If women really are victimized at much greater rates than men, advocating for women is necessary and reasonable. If women really are victimized at a much greater rate than men, reducing the victimization of women, even at the cost of some demonization of men, is not really toxic to men, but serving coffee without sugar.
If Clymer is correct and the studies that show parity in victimization are flawed, I would love to know about it. He Quotes the NISVS as a source for statistics on rape. He clearly thinks this is a valid source. This is also the source for claims of gender parity in domestic violence. 2.9% of women experienced domestic violence in 2010 (2.3% “other violence” + 0.6% “Rape”). 2.5% of men experienced domestic violence in 2010. This is a 14% difference, that is hardly a big enough difference to call this a gendered problem. The NISVS is also the source I used for my claim of parity in Rape Victimization. The CDC sent a letter trying to counter the claim that I debunk here.
After the opening statements, the debate devolves into little more than name calling on both sides.
Paul. You need to stay on topic. When in a debate, you loose if you let the other side control the conversation. You fell for it and let the debate devolve into name calling. You could have and should have done a much better job of staying on topic. After your opening statements every single point could have been condensed down to and better articulated by saying
Proving that I or AVFM or any other MRA site is sexist or bigoted or misogynistic does nothing to address the question before us. The Question is if Feminism is Toxic to men, not if Men’s Rights is Toxic to women.
Stick to the actual debate question and you would have soundly and resoundingly won.
Clymer. You really need to do better research. You had no clue what the actual debate topic was and just went for emotional manipulation by attacking Paul. This may win you “Good dog” points with feminists by mindlessly regurgitating others opinions of Paul Elam, it won’t actually make a case for anyone not already devoted to the feminist ideologies. You claim that the parity results are bad, you need sources to back this claim up.