Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In a modern, post-industrial economy that seems better suited to women than men, many are wondering if men have been permanently left behind. Education and employment statistics point to a clear and growing dominance in women’s status at home and in the workplace. Are men primed for a comeback or have the old rules changed for good?

  • For the motion


    Dan Abrams

    ABC News Legal Analyst & Author of Man Down

  • Hanna Rosin for Web


    Hanna Rosin

    Award-Winning Journalist for Slate and The Atlantic

  • Against the motion


    David Zinczenko

    Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health Magazine

  • Against the motion


    Christina Hoff Sommers

    Feminist Scholar & Author of The War Against Boys

  • Moderator Image


    John Donvan

    Author and correspondent for ABC News.

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For The Motion

Dan Abrams

ABC News Legal Analyst & Author of Man Down

Dan Abrams is a legal analyst for ABC News, a substitute anchor for Good Morning America, and the host of Discovery ID's Chasing Justice. He is the Founder and CEO of the Abrams Media network, which includes seven websites and the digital agency Abrams Research. He is also the author of Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else.

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Hanna Rosin for Web

For The Motion

Hannah Rosin

Award-Winning Journalist for Slate and The Atlantic

Hanna Rosin instigated a fury of responses with last year’s Atlantic story, The End of Men, based on her theory that men are losing their dominance and women are quickly rising. A reaction so strong, she is now writing a book based on her findings. Rosin is an award winning magazine writer at The Atlantic and Slate, and founding editor of DoubleX, a blog dedicated to “what women really think about news, politics, and culture.” She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, (meek and cowed) Slate Editor David Plotz, and their three children.

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Against The Motion

Christina Hoff Sommers

Feminist Scholar & Author of The War Against Boys

Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor who taught ethics, is best known for her critique of late-twentieth-century feminism. She is also known for her extensive writings, among them Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys. Her textbook, Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, a bestseller in college ethics, is currently in its eighth edition. She recently edited The Science on Women and Science and is preparing a second edition of The War Against Boys.

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Against The Motion

David Zinczenko

Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health Magazine

David Zinczenko is Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Men's Health and Editorial Director of Women's Health. He is the author of the bestselling series Eat This, Not That! and a regular contributor to NBC’s The Today Show. Zinczenko has appeared as a health expert on Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, 20/20, CNN and the Rachael Ray Show.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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    • Comment Link Mr. White Wednesday, 09 September 2015 09:09 posted by Mr. White

      I wonder if we should have similar debates for other subsets of the human population. Are the Jews finished? Are the Muslim finished? Are gay people finished? Are black people finished? Are Mexincans finished? Are women finished? And why not debate on the future of single people or families? The values underlying the FOR side are really dark and evil.

    • Comment Link Bob Monday, 10 August 2015 16:07 posted by Bob

      There's a fallicy in place here that historically women have wanted to work and were denied it. Women didn't want to to work until work became safe and clean. Women have worked throughout history in a wide variety of fields but it wasn't until the 70's that women have actually wanted to work. My grandmother who died in 1983 was very proud of the fact she never had to work. She had a husband and sons who worked to supported her. Only poor women worked and she wasn't a poor woman. If you look at the jobs women excel in it's jobs that are safe, clean and non-combative.

    • Comment Link Caroline Monday, 20 July 2015 11:34 posted by Caroline

      This debate seems to forget, and completely devalue, the realm of child rearing which is classically associated with women. If a man stays home to raise his children, is he finished? Why forget about this type of work, or talk about it negatively, when it holds the future of society?

      Also, as a former female welder, I know my sex often does those masculine jobs better when given the chance.

    • Comment Link John White Saturday, 04 July 2015 12:47 posted by John White

      Amazing that we would still find people today ready to argue against gender equality, either on the side of men, women, or anything else. I can easily imagine Rosin arguing that gays or blacks are finished as a matter of fact. It's very wrong and very disturbing.

    • Comment Link Rolo Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:39 posted by Rolo

      They shouldnt be having this debate lets get along

    • Comment Link Eli Saturday, 28 March 2015 17:38 posted by Eli

      I've interpreted the question as "are" - referring to the present moment. Most feminist ideologies would argue against such, and would agree to the extent that women will gain increasingly more influence. But when you have a dichotomy of two sociological groups, not sure how the notion of surpassing the other gender is predictable, nor economically valid to assess.

      The idea really boils down to innate psychological differences in performing various tasks, by which one readily complements the other. Differences in law being now effective under the Civil Rights Act barring discrimination, along with many other legal terms open the doors for social atmospheres to be far more flexible.

      If this is a mere prediction, then economic analysis would be needed, not opinionated tautology based off of anecdotal evidence without any reference to the underlying systems in which operate such relationships between data and people.

    • Comment Link Tron Monday, 23 March 2015 02:20 posted by Tron

      I'm sorry but what does this debate prove? The audience was made up of some women, some men, and many manginas. It means nothing. I think the internet poll was more accurate but even that isn't very scientific either.

    • Comment Link lynn oliver Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:19 posted by lynn oliver

      We must stop talking about superior/inferior and begin talking about equality at birth and driven by very large differential treatment from one year of age. The Male Crisis begins as one year of age by this differential treatment. To understand this we must 1. redefine our average stress as many layers of mental work we carry with us each day from past, present, future - problems, fears, needs, etc.This takes up real mental energy leaving less mental energy for new learning. The very differential treatment given Male children greatly affects their layers of mental work or average stress and also removes much needed support we as girls receive on a daily basis from infancy.
      The problem involves two entirely different treatments of Males and Females as early as one year of age and increases in differential treatment. This is creating the growing Male Crisis. The belief Males should be strong allows more aggressive treatment of Males as early as one year. This is coupled with much "less" kind, stable, verbal interaction and less mental/emotional/social support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling. This increases over time and continued by society from peers, teachers and others in society. This creates more social/emotional distance from parents and other authority figures who have knowledge; also higher average stress that hurts learning and motivation to learn; also more activity due to need for stress relief; also more defensiveness and wariness of others further hindering emotional and social growth; and higher muscle tension (creating more pressure on pencil and tighter grip) that hurts writing and motivation to write. The social/emotional distance and much less verbal interaction creates a much lower social vocabulary that combined with higher average stress hurts both reading and writing – love of reading and writing. It creates much lag in development and less communication with adults creating a learned sense of helplessness in school. This differential treatment continues through adulthood, almost fixing many Males onto roads of failure and escape into more short-term areas of enjoyment. Also Males are given love and honor, the essentials of self-worth based on achievement, status, etc. This is done probably purposely to make boys, men try harder and also to be more willing to give their lives in time of war. When Males are not achieving, they are given more ridicule and discipline by parents, teachers, society to make them try harder (and also as a free excuse to exercise more abuse as a catharsis and ego, knowing society will not care). Support is not an option for fear of coddling Males. Many Males falling behind academics then turn their attention toward video games and sports to receive small measures of love/honor not received in the classroom. The much differential treatment is responsible. The lower the socioeconomic and time in that bracket the more set in place the knowledge and skills for physical skills, less knowledge for academics, much more anxiety then allowed upon Male children, and more continued rough treatment setting up an entire value system met with more aggressiveness from parents, teachers, and peers.
      I feel role models will not help as we need to revise completely our more harsh treatment of Males and also begin providing much more mental, emotional, social, verbal interaction and support from the first year of life onward. Note this problem would be affecting women if they were treated this way also.
      Since girls by differential treatment are given much more positive, continual, mental, emotional/social/ support verbal interaction and care from an early age onward this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls compared with boys. We enjoy lower average stress; higher social vocabulary; more social/emotional closeness, trust and care from parents, teachers, peers; and more ease of learning, reading, and writing. We are given love and honor simply for being girls. The lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in that bracket the much more amplified the differential treatment from a young age and increased and more differentiated over time.

    • Comment Link Todd Friday, 20 February 2015 15:25 posted by Todd

      I think intelligence squared jumped the shark with this debate. The pro presenters were ironic in their sexism. So Ms. Rosin talked about how women were superior in certain ways and then took a shot at Larry Summers' comment about women in engineering and science.

      So I think that if Mr. Abrams thinks that men are finished, I hope he is the first to lay down and concede.

    • Comment Link V Monday, 17 February 2014 04:38 posted by V

      I've just started getting into these debates from Intelligence Squared. I watched the second one on free speech from 2006, and it was excellect. One thing that made it excellent, besides Chistopher Hitchens and Philip Gourevich, was that the editing was kept to a minimum (the camera work could have been better, but that's a different matter).

      In this debate, however, I get the feeling that there were significant chunks missing from this debate due to post-production editing. I understand a desire to streamline the content in other kinds of media, but in a debate, where intricate arguments are constructed, precise distictions differentiated, and rich context accumulated, I prefer not to have clever editing deciding for me what is essential to the debate and what can be "left on the cutting room floor", so to speak.

      I am dissappointed that I was unable to view an unabridged version of this debate, and I hope that is not what I should expect from the other debates I plan to watch.

    • Comment Link Michael Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:17 posted by Michael

      Commenting at the beginning of the debate (so take this for what it's worth):

      The problem with having a debate motion like this (and like many others I've seen I-Squared use) is that it allows the participants to define the issue and then proceed to argue about the definition. Example: The first speaker here said that she only had to prove that the status quo of "male" traits being the best way to success is over (paraphrasing here). This is not at all what the motion means to me (at first glance), or likely to most people. A debate on this topic could include arguments about the business world (whether it be the marketplace, employment, etc.), relationships, politics. It could refer to academics. It could refer to athletics.

      I get that the motion needs to be "cheeky" (as described by a moderator in an early debate), but when the motion is as overbroad and ill-defined as this one (and others), people end up talking about what they want to talk about and little real conversation occurs.

      Note: I am a man. I don't see as that it has anything to do with the above statements, but I include my gender here in the interest of full disclosure.

    • Comment Link Shaun Roberts Monday, 07 October 2013 11:05 posted by Shaun Roberts

      Of course men are finished. By finished I mean, we've had enough of working for so long, and it's about bloody time women started to contribute - I don't much like the screw you men approach, rather, I think if they just said, don't worry dear, you've worked hard enough, let me do that for you.
      Screw family, screw looking after kids, women are long due a lesson in hard work, decision making, risk taking, office politics and dirty work. Hail the new woman, she will learn to not be so fickle.

    • Comment Link Jeff Shain Tuesday, 16 April 2013 02:48 posted by Jeff Shain

      Could they have picked a more prejudicial and inflammatory title for a debate? Do women want to see men subjugated in business like they have been and is that nothing more than petty vengeance? Why not live and work as equals for once... straight, gay, men, women, minority, majority....let's see how that works out before we start writing off entire genders.

      What an absurd argument this must have been.

    • Comment Link Steven Wednesday, 10 April 2013 09:11 posted by Steven

      I just want to add one more thing to my previous post...

      I don't believe that men or women are superior to each other. Just like one man or woman might be better at a specific task than another person of the same sex, the same applies between a man or woman, but on an individual basis and not as a trait between sexes or race.

    • Comment Link Steven Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:42 posted by Steven

      The online poll showing that the debate was lost seems more accurate to me.

      It seems to me that since more women are getting degrees (compared to men) and entering the workforce, it stands to reason that they will fill the most jobs. It's as simple as that and doesn't indicate any superiority.

      With the line of thinking in this debate, I could say that when the Hispanic population becomes the dominant race in the U.S. and and those women also graduate college at the same ratio as women today, that Hispanic women would be superior to white women. That would be total nonsense as is the logic of this debate.

      What would happen if all women dropped out of the workforce? We would loose some lawyers, doctors, and a few other professions. If all men were to drop out of the work force, we wouldn't have anyone to build our homes, fix our cars, or design new technology. In fact the entire nation would come to a standstill. Yet we would still have doctors, lawyers, and the other professions mentioned. Men still hold the most important jobs, perhaps not the most prodigious jobs, but the jobs that matter the most on a day to day basis. I value my garbage man a great deal more than I value the mayor in my town.

    • Comment Link Amanda Anastasia Wednesday, 02 January 2013 13:01 posted by Amanda Anastasia

      I think that the panelists are totally unqualified. Where are the sociology, anthropology, history, women's studies, and or psychology people?

      What business do journalists have discussing ideas that require facts and statistics in a historical context . . .

    • Comment Link Ignacio Machado Saturday, 08 December 2012 04:32 posted by Ignacio Machado

      I'm disappointed with this particular debate in all honesty, the motion itself makes no sense. We as a society have decided that men and women are equal in the eyes of the law, are we now going back in history and reversing the roles? If not what is the point of the question? This idea in general is ridiculous and i really can't find the use in even asking the question any more that i can find the use in asking if men are better that women.

      In the end the real question is: does it matter either way? As long as both genders have the same opportunities it will work itself out and asking these type of question can only do harm.

    • Comment Link Charles Gross Friday, 17 August 2012 11:44 posted by Charles Gross

      The agenda of the most radical feminists has never been gender equality, but rather (female) gender dominance.

      In a way, the "debate" is foolish. Let all people compete on an equal footing in all spheres of human activity and let the best person win. I think both sexes are equally important and necessary to the human community.

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