Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 2. March 11, 1975
That a Woman's Place is on the Street' Affirmative and Negative, was debated by four men at varsity last Friday. This debate dearly showed that debating can be merely a form in which to ridicule the participants, the audience, and the topic, serious or not, or a form that can be used to express a serious viewpoint, while still entertaining.
Three of Friday's participants ably demonstrated the worthlessness and destructive quality of the first of these uses. By mating the topic in a purely facetious way, they turned the subject and any serious discussion of such into something to be ridiculed, a ploy used by all male or female sexists. This chauvinist treatment of the topic was further shown by some of the actual views expressed-that men want as much sexual freedom as they can get, that women should be in the home, they cook better, that Jobs are not available for women and men should not have to compete with women for work, and even reference to the authors of "The Sexist Society' as girls. These remarks, all made in a facetious tone, supported themes varying from the idea that for human liberation both men and women must have a choice about the roles they take, to the idea that prostitution must be encouraged to give the male sexual freedom, in fact, a wide variation of sexist themes.
Mr H. Stubbs, the first speaker of the affirmative, showed the value of debating as both entertaining and an expression of a serious opinion-that women should be in the street, along with all other adult workers. He argued that society cannot economically survive with only half of its work force working. Women must eventually come out 'onto the street' or into a working situation with men, and that for this to happen, society must be responsible for providing jobs. He pointed out the selfish male attitudes expressed by the negative team, both in protecting their position in society, and in supporting individualist impractical idea the freedom of choice of role.
He also made the point that not only is prostitution sexually degrading for a woman, but also economically, because in many cases a large proportion of the money earned goes into the pockets of male capitalist pimps.
It would have appeared from the subject of the debate that the affirmative side would have expressed the more sexist ideas. It is revealing that in fact three of the four men facetiously twisted the topic to chauvinist ends, and that only one used the debate for any useful purpose of serious, yet entertaining discussion.