Review of

PragerU Video: Who Needs Feminism?

Our summary of Andrew Klavan's argument: Andrew Klavan suggests that feminism is just mean-spirited, and it promotes the lie that men and women are for practical purposes the same. But men are stronger and energetic, and women are fashioned in body and mind to produce and nurture children. Feminists' claims to human rights are just classical liberalism, which was invented by men.

Ad hominem, ad nauseam

Catherine Petrusz Durham, NC Published 24 Jan 2020

Based on the title of the video, “Who Needs Feminism?”, one can deduce the following thesis: feminism is bad, and it’s not necessary.

As a feminist – someone who believes we should strive towards political, economic, and social equality, and who participates in organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests – I argue that we all need, and benefit from, feminism.

Suffragists on the War Path

Mr. Klavan tries to convince his audience that feminism is bad. He makes ad hominem attacks throughout his video – feminism is “mean-spirited,” “poisons” relations, is an attempt to “bully” everyone, by “shoving” a lie down our throats. Feminist “attacks” are “angry, bitter and dishonest.” Mr. Klavan uses name-calling as a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments, apparently in an attempt to invoke fear. Klavan also uses a straw-woman argument, claiming that feminists promote the “lie that men and women have the same powers, talents, proclivities and desires.” He also claims that feminists “relentlessly” call men “toxic.”

Feminism has actually brought about positive changes in our society, and the focus of those efforts has been on promoting civil rights, not on attacking men or poisoning relations. For example, in 1920 the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. In 1972, the enactment of Title IX gave us the rule that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX brought numerous improvements and freedoms for women. For example, before Title IX, most medical and law schools capped enrollment of women to 15 or fewer, and many colleges and universities had lower standards for admission for men than for women. In 1972, women received 9% of medical degrees but by 1994 that number had moved up to 38%; and the percentage of law degrees earned by women had moved from 7% in 1971 to 43% in 1994.

The women who advocated for the 19th Amendment and Title IX were not promoting the “lie” that men and women have the same “powers, talents, proclivities and desires” – just the idea that both men and women should be allowed to vote, and compete in sports and for admission into colleges and universities.

Mr. Klavan’s video “Who Needs Feminism?” is overflowing with ad hominem attacks and faulty logic, but is devoid of facts about feminism or its history. And yet, this video has had more that 2.4 million views on YouTube – yes, we still need feminism as much as we ever did.

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