A BYU-Idaho practicum class, iTalk, debated the effects of modern feminism on society today, and whether it is a positive or negative movement.
Four students participated in the debate. The students were paired up, and the teams were assigned one of two positions; one position was that modern feminism promotes safety for women, and the other was that modern feminism has created more hate.
The teams took turns backing up their position with opening statements, a question and answer portion, and closing statements. After the debate, the majority of the audience voted against modern feminism.
“Even before the debate, we all knew who was going to win because it is such a conservative school,” said Mariah Taylor, a participant defending modern feminism in the debate and a junior studying communication. “It was a majority vote for the other side, but we did have a fair amount of people vote for pro-feminism.”
Taylor said she does not consider herself a feminist; however, she said she does come from a family of self-proclaimed feminists. During the debate, she was asked to support the position of radical feminism.
“The only way I can think of to handle it was to talk to my feminist family members and see what the basic normal feminists are like,” Taylor said. “Then I went online and did a whole bunch of research on quotes, marches, positions and why they believe certain things.”
The topic of the debate was selected by Nick Bojorquez, a TheyTalk advisor and a junior studying communication. TheyTalk is a subsection of the iTalk practicum that focuses on debate.
He said he joined iTalk because of his interest in debate and sharing ideas with others.
“We were talking to a couple of different students,” Bojorquez said. “There was one student in particular that had the idea that modern-day feminism was using tactics to diminish the image of men in society. When I heard that idea, it sparked interest.”
Bojorquez went on to do his own research on the subject and developed four main topics for the idea that modern feminism is diminishing the image of men in society.
He then assigned one topic to each of the four students participating in the debate.
During the debate, the students covered their topic and prepared themselves to answer questions from the audience.
“The turnout was awesome,” Bojorquez said. “It was the largest event that the practicum has ever had. I attribute that to the promotions team and to the topic.”
The day before the debate, TheyTalk made picket signs and staged a mock march in the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center. The march drew a lot of attention to the event.
Bojorquez said the way they promoted the event was later discouraged by staff and professors, and security even came to stop the march. TheyTalk was asked to refrain from making such public displays of advertising in the future.
“The entire idea of the class is cultivating ideas,” Bojorquez said. “Sam Lloyd, the founder and one of the directors of the practicum, has this idea that everyone has something worth sharing. Everyone has an idea worth sharing. You must first cultivate that idea, nourish it and really develop it.”
The next step in developing your idea is challenging it. After you have cultivated your idea after you have challenged it then you share your idea.”