by Dori Schurr
I am an unabashed supporter of this website. Everyone who is a part of it, big or small, holds a very special place in my heart. This is why it is extremely troubling for me to hear comments from rando males on the internet who decide that ‘Beyond Resolved is sexist’. But it really hurts to hear people on my debate team who I love tell me that Beyond Resolved is ‘opinion, not based on fact, and is only furthering sexism in debate by making more women into feminists’.
That could not be further from the truth. Beyond Resolved exists to promote women’s successes in PF, not to suppress other genders. We try to bridge the gap between men and women in debate, which makes the community more welcoming for everyone. By making these comments, we devalue the personal and emotional experiences of women in debate. My experience has not been as bad as others, but it is still valuable and has formed my opinions about the debate community. When you devalue our personal experiences, not only do you add to the list of them, but you get rid of a powerful female voice in the community trying to make their issues known in order to try and fix them. That is not a welcoming feeling, and to those reading this, I hope you don’t abuse this website and make fun of the women who pour their souls into what they write, and expend so much time and energy into trying to make the debate community a better place for everyone.
The communication and back and forth that happens as a result of Beyond Resolved and its contributors is immensely valuable. I cannot stress that enough.
I am genuinely sorry that these males have coaches who have not taught them about sexism in debate or that they may not come from diverse teams with as many women. My team sure as hell is not diverse, but our A team is a guy-gal combo with the gal speaking second, which lets our novice women know that men and women deserve to be in those top spots. Even those women, who have rightfully earned top spot, can still get hate from the community just because of their gender. In my experience, even the males on our team who are less active or committed than I am receive a much more positive response from coaches than I do.
When you shoot down the opinions of females who have likely had a sexist experience in debate before, we feel hopeless, with nobody left to console us. These women are the ones who leave the activity, feeling alone and betrayed by something they once loved. Every member of the Beyond Resolved advisory board has had this feeling before, but thankfully, they felt something still attracting them to debate. Beyond Resolved exists to be that something that keeps women in the activity. By creating an accepting, welcoming community for all women to voice their struggles and get advice from older mentors, we not only preserve the strong and powerful female presence in debate, but we make the community a better place for everyone.