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I'm doing a debate in a college course, and I was assigned to the side that must argue that "feminism is a harmful ideology". I'm not even sure where to start, because of course this view conflicts with mine. Phyllis Shafley, Camille Paglia, "Dr. Laura" all came to mind, but do you have any other suggestions? Or any idea where specifically I should look to find opinions that support this argument?

Thank you so much!


Dear Angela,

I think you have to figure out what "harmful" is--that's a pretty subjective term. For instance, something might be harmful to one person and, in return, beneficial to others. Of course, I think that if one person has to harm another in order to do him/herself good, then they really aren't doing themselves any good.

So in using "harmful" as the key word in that statement, I think that you could say that feminism is "harmful" because in its quest for equality some people will have to give up power and this might cause them harm. Also, because feminism's emphasis is on making sure that everyone has enough information to make informed choices about their lives not monitoring the choices that people make--you could argue that it could free up individuals to make choices that could do harm to others.

While feminism needs to be "vague" in order to allow individuals to interpret it in their own lives, this vagueness means that people can take what they will from feminism. And under some circumstances that might cause harm. I hope that helps--it's a bit vague, but like you, I don't agree with the premise, so it's hard to come up with a good argument.

Good luck.


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