What We Saw and What We Missed From The ‘Did Feminism Get It Wrong’ Debate

What We Saw and What We Missed From The ‘Did Feminism Get It Wrong’ Debate

Guest commentary by Jessica Fisher

debate

Sage Gerard, president of KSU Men and Bryan Cline, president of KSU Athiests United spar over “Did Feminism Get it Wrong?” at a debate Friday afternoon.

“Did Feminism Get It Wrong?”

On Friday this was debated. On screens projecting powerpoints the audiences saw women – from the ages of little girls to the ages of our elder women. Of the images showed to us, it seemed odd, considering all other details, that we did not see any men.

The audience heard that rape statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) were wrong, because Mary Koss – a feminist, misconstrued the data. Mary Koss, who has never been a director of the CDC, has not been the only person to come up with the information that she found in her study. I think the implication is insulting to every CDC director since Koss’s study came out – who are medical doctors and who were appointed by their respective president.

The audience heard feminists compared to the Ku Klux Klan – insomuch as to say that despite any good things that feminists or feminism has done, that does not erase the bad things they have done, because, and I’m paraphrasing, “Even the KKK gave to charities.”

The audience heard that even though ‘on average’ there is a pay disparity between men and women of thirty-three cents on every dollar, that when you ‘compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges there is no difference in pay.’

An article on Slate.com suggests that the seventy-seven cent rhetoric is not true – but that does not mean that pay is equal – even amongst apples to apples:

“That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35. How to get a more accurate measure? First, instead of comparing annual wages, start by comparing average weekly wages. This is considered a slightly more accurate measure because it eliminates variables like time off during the year or annual bonuses (and yes, men get higher bonuses, but let’s shelve that for a moment in our quest for a pure wage gap number). By this measure, women earn 81 percent of what men earn, although it varies widely by race. African-American women, for example, earn 94 percent of what African-American men earn in a typical week. Then, when you restrict the comparison to men and women working 40 hours a week, the gap narrows to 87 percent.”

Even when Slate eventually works it down to ninety-one cents on every dollar, we are still left with pay inequality.

The audience was assured, by Gerard, that any fear or anxiety or feelings of unsafety they had about him were ‘unwarranted’. The premise for which these feelings were unwarranted were not presented.

In an effort to shine light on an old conversation, I would like to point out that A Voice For Men – an organization which Sage Gerard holds a high ranking in, and one which offers funding to KSU Men, may not be on the official list of Southern Policy Law Center hate groups, but was instead, more specifically listed under ‘Misogyny: The Sites’ in the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report.

“A Voice for Men is essentially a mouthpiece for its editor, Paul Elam, who proposes to ‘expose misandry [hatred of men] on all levels in our culture.’ Elam tosses down the gauntlet in his mission statement: ‘AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate.’ Register-Her.com, an affiliated website that vilifies women by name who have made supposedly false rape allegations (among other crimes against masculinity), is one of Elam’s signature ‘anti-hate’ efforts. ‘Why are these women not in prison?’ the site asks.’

First and foremost I applaud Brian Clyne for his efforts in the debate, but overall, the debate did not comfort or fulfill me as a feminist. I feel as if the debate in and of itself was A) incorrectly framed – how can a subject be objectively viewed when the leading question is asked, “Did Feminism Get It Wrong?” and B) was inconclusive in its lack of diverse voices. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that the biggest difference between the two men on stages debating were whether or not they agreed with feminism.

……

Jessica Fisher is a Junior majoring in Communication, a Pennsylvania native and an avid watcher of The Office.

Sources: 

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/gender_pay_gap_the_familiar_line_that_women_make_77_cents_to_every_man_s.html

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/misogyny-the-sites

http://amptoons.com/blog/2004/05/03/the-iwf-on-mary-koss-rape-research/

Agree or disagree? Use the Leave a Reply  field below or submit your own Guest Column.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in columns on this page and in the Opinion Section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Sentinel, KSU Student Media, Kennesaw State University, or the Georgia Board of Regents.

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  • WordsIVue

    Great example of hatchet journalism with not even a pretence of objectivity. I see you tried your best to twist the reference to the KKK to make Sage sound like a rabid extremist.

  • shmiggen

    This was such a poorly written article. You begin with the question, “Did feminism get it wrong?” and then you open a new paragraph simply stating, “this was debated”. What an atrocious way to begin an essay. You conclude with the statement that you found it odd there were no men in a powerpoint presentation. Yet this entire paragraph is meaningless. It literally has no meaning. If it does, what is the meaning of this paragraph?

    I cannot believe what students are learning in college when I read such poorly written nonsense. You relegate one paragraph to the debunking of Sage’s claims on faulty rape statistics by saying it insults doctors because….they are doctors?

    Look, here are some links:

    http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/opinion/the-radical-middle/27667–one-in-one-thousand-eight-hundred-seventy-seven

    https://rainn.org/images/03-2014/WH-Task-Force-RAINN-Recommendations.pdf

    http://straightstatistics.org/article/how-panic-over-rape-was-orchestrated

    The gender wage gap is due to lifestyle choice, not discrimination. Do you really thinking by quoting Slate, you are writing a decent article about the wage gap? Don’t you think proof ought to be used, like this:

    http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=2a1f8ad4-f649-4ad3-a742-268d946962db

    http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

    By the way, how gracious of you to remind us you are scared of Sage, and that there was nothing “presented” to allay those irrational fears. Are we really to believe men should “present” evidence to stop women from fearing us? Seriously?

    What is the purpose of stating SPLC’s position on avfm, or of quoting Paul Elam? What does it have to do with Sage’s debate? This is what your article is about, isn’t it? Or is this article just you sobbing and crying?

    In conclusion, the last paragraph is absolutely awful. It’s not even proper English. How is God’s name is a debate supposed to “comfort and fulfill you” as a feminist. Is this a university or daycare? For the love of God, your feelings don’t matter.

  • Brendan

    “The audience heard that even though ‘on average’ there is a pay disparity between men and women of thirty-three cents on every dollar, that when you ‘compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges there is no difference in pay.’”

    studies that look at more variables typically find less of a paygap. things like commute time and the presence of air conditioning have been included in some studies, not this one. all you are showing is that you chose a less thorough source.

  • Brendan

    “The audience was assured, by Gerard, that any fear or anxiety or feelings of unsafety they had about him were ‘unwarranted’. The premise for which these feelings were unwarranted were not presented.”

    Sage has never been charged with a crime there is no evidence that he has ever committed one and nothing indicating he would like to. The most threatening thing he has been accused of is putting a sticker in an empty bathroom. The fear of something that has never happened and is unlikely to happen is unwarranted as is demanding police protection from someone who is in no way threatening to you.

  • Brendan

    “may not be on the official list of Southern Policy Law Center hate groups, but was instead, more specifically listed under ‘Misogyny: The Sites’ in the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report.”

    That is an editorial not a listing. it was written by someone who does not work for the SPLC and used a definition of misogyny, the hatred of women, that did not qualify as hate. The resulting hysteria has lead to AVFM being possibly the only organization that the SPLC has called NOT a hate group.

    The opposition to something simply because it calls itself anti-feminist is absurd.

  • gary costanza

    Way to ignore all the points Sage made, just talk about someone…not at the debate?
    Here are more issues I’ll bring to KSU on Nov. 1:
    http://youtu.be/FZqpGE9SmLs

  • aries

    im a feminist and this article is an embarrassment to me. it is clear that the pendulum has swung too far.. and in the interest of gender equality the winge-ing and self victimization must stop before all of our credibility is gone. real feminist who truly seek parity can no longer quote these false statistics and make these false accusations. change has come, and its name is equality

  • gushisgosh

    I disagree with you, but I think you don’t wanna know where or even why i agree or disagree with you.
    if you wanna know, just message.

  • John

    “As a matter of fact, it can be argued that the biggest difference between the two men on stages debating were whether or not they agreed with feminism.”

    Now you see why men feel uncomfortable with only women being allowed to speak on issues of gender.

    You may say that everyone is allowed to speak because of free speech and all that, but when you’re male and you try to involve your own voice in the discussion you’re shunned, shamed, and shouted over unless you align your message with feminist ideology.

    This is a problem, and this is what Sage was attempting to address.

  • Bryan Scandrett

    What a lot of Buttercupping.
    \\\”First and foremost I applaud Brian Clyne for his efforts in the debate, but overall, the debate did not comfort or fulfill me as a feminist. I feel as if the debate in and of itself was A) incorrectly framed – how can a subject be objectively viewed when the leading question is asked, “Did Feminism Get It Wrong?” and B) was inconclusive in its lack of diverse voices. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that the biggest difference between the two men on stages debating were whether or not they agreed with feminism.\\\”

    I can only imagine how little that did to fulfill you as a feminist as your side got owned. Poor old Brian doesn\\\’t know what a debate looks like much less how to win one. He absconded with all Socratic sensibilities by trying to demonize his opponent as a rapist rather than debate the topic.
    But then again that\\\’s feminism I guess. My experience anyway. False allegations and hissy fits.
    Such as \\\”the leading question.\\\”
    Absolutely nothing wrong with asking if feminism got it wrong and the answer will always come down to which side you\\\’re on. Fem-inism got it right if you\\\’re a fem. Which is exactly what\\\’s wrong with it. Just as masculinism would be wrong if you\\\’re a fem. That\\\’s why it\\\’s nothing but bigotry. The free world has laws against discriminating people based on religion, race, colour, creed, gender, unless it\\\’s feminism. That\\\’s gotta go.

    \\\”The audience was assured, by Gerard, that any fear or anxiety or feelings of unsafety they had about him were ‘unwarranted’. The premise for which these feelings were unwarranted were not presented.\\\”
    Any more than the premise for anyone affecting fear at Sage\\\’s presence. You should be ashamed of yourself for your obscene character assassination. You\\\’re setting a Kafka trap for an innocent man, engaging in slanderous insinuations to destroy a humans reputation in an effort to have him removed from KSU.
    You are well aware there are no physical danger to anyone from Sage. In fact a man of less threatening demeanor would be a challenge to find.
    There\\\’s a couple of facts of reality the self entitled women of the world need to get straight.
    1. Criticizing the poor behaviour of offensive people IS NOT misogyny should the offenders have innies rather than outies.
    2. Men criticizing feminism, read \\\’the poor behaviour of people,\\\’ isn\\\’t going to stop any time soon. Get used to it. Feminism\\\’s demand that it remain un-critiqued will be studiously ignored.
    3. Every time we do, and feminism responds with this tripe, you lose and we win. Don\\\’t underestimate the intelligence of the average person. You insult a lot of people E.V.E.R.Y. time you guys prevaricate. It\\\’s really easy to see and few miss it. You have relied on mis-information, mis-characterization, prevarication and out right lies for so long now, feminists just don\\\’t know what else to do. Making it super easy for the human rights groups fighting you.
    Must suck to be on the wrong side of history.

  • Doug Spoonwood

    \”The audience heard that rape statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) were wrong, because Mary Koss – a feminist, misconstrued the data. Mary Koss, who has never been a director of the CDC, has not been the only person to come up with the information that she found in her study. I think the implication is insulting to every CDC director since Koss’s study came out – who are medical doctors and who were appointed by their respective president.\”

    Sage\’s argument here was weak, because yes he did imply false things here about the CDC and Mary Koss. That said, Mary Koss did pioneer many of the methods that the CDC and other researchers use. On top of this, and more importantly, it is true that Mary Koss did argue that male rape victims should get restricted to individuals *who were penetrated*. This leaves out male victims who were enveloped or \”made to penetrate\”. http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/exactly-what-is-inappropriate/

    Both the 2010 and the 2011 NISVS, which the CDC conducted, put \”made to penetrate\” into a category other than rape. That makes male rape victims somehow less worthy of attention than female rape victims. It looks like the CDC has even gone so far as to deliberately ignore the F. B. I. definition of rape in those surveys also… http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/1btu0n/cdcs_response_to_whether_they_will_categorize/ And how they and many others report the results of the CDC: http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/nisvs-2011-released-increased-male-victimization-and-rape-is-still-not-rape/

    In how they\’ve left out male rape victims, the CDC and Mary Koss do appear to end up as similar. Also, with respect to the studies of the CDC any intelligent reader should note that the CDC studies place *attempted* rape in the same category as completed rape… both as rape…. when they are different things. And there is no breakdown of the \”being made to penetrate\” category.

    \”The audience heard feminists compared to the Ku Klux Klan – insomuch as to say that despite any good things that feminists or feminism has done, that does not erase the bad things they have done, because, and I’m paraphrasing, “Even the KKK gave to charities.”\”

    Well, it doesn\’t. I will remark here that Margaret Sanger once spoke at a Klan meeting, and this is not hard to verify by an internet search.

    \”The audience was assured, by Gerard, that any fear or anxiety or feelings of unsafety they had about him were ‘unwarranted’. The premise for which these feelings were unwarranted were not presented.\”

    It is not his responsibility to make you or the audience feel safe. Your feelings are your own responsibility. And the feelings of the audience are their own responsibility. It was VERY unfair to Sage that he was having that thrown at him in the middle of the debate. The debate was supposed to be about that particular topic. Sure maybe the debate was framed poorly. But, the debate was supposed to be about the status of feminism one way or another. It wasn\’t a debate about

    \”Sage Gerard… can we trust this guy or not?\”

    Nor was it a debate about:

    \”Bryan Cline… we can trust this guy… Sage Gerard, we can\’t trust him.\”

    And in truth that Sage Gerard\’s personal status came up and received attention instead of matters pertaining to the debate topic suggests that the people involved here didn\’t really care much about the debate topic.

    And even if Sage Gerard was/is an absolutely horrible human being who can\’t get trusted, that wouldn\’t affect ANY of his arguments concerning the status of feminism.

    \”Even when Slate eventually works it down to ninety-one cents on every dollar, we are still left with pay inequality.\”

    The issue here has gotten studied for years by several groups and authors. Slate is not an authority on the subject. The average difference in pay has also varied over time. Back in the 50s and 60s you would see a larger average difference, when the U. S. had a more industrial economy. On this subject I will recommend Warren Farrell\’s \”Why Men Earn More\” which has a forward by former president of the National Organization for Women Karen DeCrow. Even if the book is wrong in its thesis about the average difference, it has plenty of useful suggestions as to how women can improve their earning potential. I will also recommend The Consad Report: http://consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

    Additionally, it is by no means clear how violence because of the job, injuries because of the job, or other hazards because of the job *should* get taken into account when discussing this issue. How much *should* one get paid for doing a job where one risks one\’s life or works in a situation which might worsen one\’s health later in life such as working in a coal mine? How much *should* soldiers get paid for the expectation to absorb violence? On my part I will assert that those who do the dangerous, risky, and dirty jobs should get paid more than other safer jobs, and should also get paid more than they do now. And those people should receive priority when considering who should get paid more for their jobs. And most of those jobs have far more male workers than female workers. Therefore, the average difference in pay between men and women is simply misleading with respect to a fair amount of mistreatment of workers who get payed too little for what they do.

    • The veracity and professionalism of Koss was questioned 20 years ago by C Hoff Sommers in her Book Who stole Feminism (1994) – Researching the “Rape Culture” of America – chapter 10, pp. 209-226.

      As highlighted by Sommers “as Koss herself told the Blade, once you remove the positive responses to question eight, the finding that one in four college women is a victim of rape or attempted rape drops to one in nine. But as we shall see, this figure too is unacceptably high. page 213

      If Koss admitted herself that the 1 on 4/5 was wrong 20 years ago, why is it being peddled today?

      See also Toledo Blade Three Day Special Coverage, October 1993:

      “But Dr. Ross herself says the 1 in 5 figure comes from her study of working women in Cleveland. and lt’s a mistake to apply it nationally.”

      Day One,”Rape The Making Of An Epidemic” “..the science behind the alarming rape statistics, who benefits and how they affect the nation.” Page 1, “Researchers” Pages 8,9 and 10

      Day Two, “The forgotten, The Vulnerable” “Young Poor More At Risk

      Day Three, “The Haves and The Have Nots: Universities Are Spending Millions As Public Programs Fight To Survive” “Program Funding”

  • William

    \\\”The audience was assured, by Gerard, that any fear or anxiety or feelings of unsafety they had about him were ‘unwarranted’. The premise for which these feelings were unwarranted were not presented.\\\”

    First: What did this actually have to do with the topic of, \\\”Did feminism get it wrong?\\\” Was there a sub title in there should it have been, \\\”Did feminists get it wrong about about Sage?\\\”

    Second: Ask yourself honestly if Sage Gerard has every done anything outside of voicing a dissenting view of feminism. Has he ever assaulted anyone on campus, or off? Note that having a differing point of view is not a threat to any ones safety. Their misconceptions perhaps, their dogma certainly, but not their person.

    The entire claim that Sage Gerard is a threat to anyone on campus is unfounded. This was an attempt at an inquisition. The Holy church of feminism sees Sage\\\’s point of view, as a threat. Not a threat to life, limb, or safety of self. A threat to the dogma of feminism the message that they are the only voice of authority. It frightens the flock of head bobbing, rabid, zealots to consider that someone may have an idea outside of their own. It threatens the power base, and control over the topic that the anointed campus leaders have. The local dioceses of the Church of Feminism. So Sage must be discredited, targeted, and vilified.

  • Brian Neal Clyne

    Thank you for your kind words, author! I did my best.

  • Brian Neal Clyne

    Thank you, Jessica, I did my best and appreciate your kind words!

  • Nix

    Until reading these comments, I had no idea that KSU was home to the Sage Gerard fan club. Either that is the case or one guy is posting all of these responses under different screen names. It seems like Sage’s followers are so enamored with him that they practically fawn at the chance to be his white savior on comment threads whenever an article critique’s his shoddy arguments.