Same-Sex Marriage & Sexism: A Stalemate

Same-sex marriage has been at the forefront of global political and social debate for the past two decades. The issue of homosexual couples having equal rights to heterosexual couples is not a new issue; it has been a very present topic for centuries, however, it has dramatically become one of the growing conflicts in the twenty-first century. The sexism of women is also another issue that has received critical attention in the battle of the sexes. These two issues fall under the umbrella of gender equality and the need to address both sides of the argument in order to dissolve the accumulating tension between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and anti-LGBT supporters. These two articles – “Why women-only ride-sharing services are revolutionary’ and “What can the Australian Christian Lobby do with their $7.5 million?” – explore the different ways in which gender equality exists: prejudice towards gay and lesbian marriage and sexism of women. Further, a comparison of the two articles highlight a fundamental flaw in the policies enacted to uphold civilised relations between the two communities, which undermines the purpose of them and sheds light on the complexity of gender equality including the sensibility that governments need in order to effectively approach it.

In 2013, New Zealand passed a bill of legislation allowing same-sex marriage. It joined California, Argentina, South Africa and 21 other countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Earlier this year, U.S President Obama called for the urgent support to protect the safety and security of homosexual individuals and couples due to the rising number of violent cases of abuse against gay and lesbian citizens. Irrespective of the rapid globalisation of technology and increased migration encouraging an integrated community of acceptance, and diversity, there remains a strong division in the debate over the right of same-sex couples to obtain equal rights to heterosexual couples. However, the fight to obtain these rights runs deeper than preferences of gender in a sexual partner. On top of of this issue, the heterosexual community, and society in general, are engaged in attempting to equalise the professional and domestic platform between male and female and remove the double standards placed against women. To believe in same-sex marriage and equality of women is separate from the belief of how achievable it is. In other words, just because one believes in it doesn’t mean it can be achieved. The desired conclusion for analysing these two views-journalism articles is to draw attention to how society and the government are attempting to resolve these two gender equality issues without realising that victory cannot be obtained on two fronts when you are in a stalemate.

Article 1 – “Why women-only ride-sharing services are revolutionary” – appeals to emotions as a means of persuading its reader-viewer to embrace the perspective of the author. It weaves in anecdotes collected from females who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse while using the unisex Uber app. Thus, it positions its audience in a vulnerable state early on in the article as a way of easily accessing their thinking space so as to manipulate their stance by the end of the article. For example, “Sadly, I was unsurprised” is the opening anecdote that the the author uses to introduce a series of anecdotes that detail cases of unwanted sexual advance by male Uber drivers. By using this anecdote as the first in the article is not a coincidence; the author has purposely selected this quote because it reveals sexism of women as almost a culture of its own. Thus, the author also appeals to social norms of how women should and should not be treated. The female gender is then characterised as a survivor of societal standards and expectations. But this glorification of women comes at the cost of painting the male gender as sexual predators. It positions women on a higher ground by lowering the man.

Article 2 – “What can the Australian Christian Lobby do with their $7.5 million” – addresses the issue of same-sex marriage. The nature of the article stems from the fact the Australian Christian Lobby has asked the government to fund them with $7.5 million to argue and prove their case against same-sex marriage. It is clear that the author is astounded by their need for such a high demand of money to fund an argument that needs no funding by the title of the article. It is also the drive behind the argumentative strategies and methods used to position the reader-viewer. Unlike Article 1, the author unites the genders, male and female, in a single front for one cause: same-sex marriage. The author appeals to consequences by stating what the funds the Australian Christian Lobby demand will have on society and humanity. There is no division to how it will impact women and men separately, but together as a united front. In this article, women and men come together to fight against Pro-Christian lobbyists who the author portrays as filled with anti-love. The focus is uniting the sexes in a debate of homosexuals versus heterosexuals. It is no longer about a battle of the sexes, male versus female. Although it is an attack on the Australian Christian Lobby, its justifications, or evidence and facts, are on the fundamental principles of the genders. It is not about who is the more dominant sex, it is about the sociology of human beings, that is, patterns of actions, attitudes and behaviours.

The commonality that exists within these two articles is the manipulation of the gender to suit the context of what is at issue. Both authors have applied effective methods of convincing its reader through persuasive language but they fail to recognise how their use also promotes the reversed outcome. For example, the principal claim of Article 1 is that a women-only ride-sharing Uber app is necessary because it will reduce the growing sexual abuse of women committed by males. It also raises existing issues of how women are treated by society on all fronts to further provide justifications in support of its principal claim. But its promotion of female equality creates greater gender inequality by accusing the male populace for this. In Article 2, there is no division between the genders, there is only division between sexual orientation statuses. Women and men are the same, it is the sexual identity of a person that is the threat. The author of Article 1, Deirdre Fidge, fails to recognise the hypocrisy of the perspective she presents on the issue. She employs a gender equality perspective using gender inequality strategies. The second author of Article 2, Ben McLeay, shares his perspective through a union of the sexes in a discussion of legalising same-sex marriage without understanding the complexity of the inequality between the genders that stifles same-sex marriage from becoming a reality in Australia and other non-same-sex marriage countries. However, his article plays a more important role than highlighting the two types of varying issues that fall under gender equality. McLeay’s views-journalism article brings to attention the problem with policies targeted at gender equality.

The legalisation of same-sex marriage undermines women’s rights because society cannot demand for an equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals when equality does not exist between the male and female. These two articles address the respective issues as complete separate conflicts that do not fall under the umbrella of gender equality yet they both alter and adjust the concept of gender to best fit their claims and justifications, creating the spectrum that exists with the definition of what gender is. As a result, they have argued their case against the issues they are exploring without actually addressing the issue; they’ve taken the issues as a means of inflaming a response and generating commentary. The gender and political statuses of these two authors speak heavily of their value system, assumptions and argumentative techniques. Article 1 is written from a female perspective while Article 2 comes from a male perspective. The topic of Article 1 is about women’s rights, thus, Fidge writes as a woman, explaining the passionate tone of language and the expressive anecdotes. The Article 1 is a lot more serious because of how sensitive the topic is to the writer. On the other hand, McLeay is a comedian in addition to being a writer. His sarcasm and wit comes through in his child-like teasing of what the Australian Christian Lobbyists will do with their $7.5 million fund against same-sex marriage. The use of comedian techniques, however, overshadows his article in actually addressing the issue. As left-wing writers, there is a tendency to write about issues without actually addressing the issue which is visible in this article in which McLeay falls victim to the fallacy of ad hominem.

The assumed audience of these two articles are just as varying as the two writers. Article 1 leans towards a more women-based audience. It appeals to women who frequently use the unisex Uber app and experience sexual abuse by a male driver. But it also has a wide reach out to all women with a message of protecting themselves against possible sexual abuse by downloading the women-only app and pushing for its support and approval. In Article 2, the target audience is more generalised because it does not necessarily exclude people who are against same-sex marriage. It purposely ridicules the Australian Christina Lobby’s fund demand but it does so in a manner that even anti-LGBT supporters would agree with McLeay because of the extremity of the amount and it being tax-funded. The intended readers are, however, Australian Christian Lobbyists; McLeay intends to ridicule them whilst addressing supporters of same-sex marriage and the government.

In conclusion Fidge and McLeay have written their views-journalism articles with good faith and intentions. The strategies they have employed are effective but only to a certain extent. Through an analysis of each article, and a comparison to identify a commonality, we can see how both writers appeal to emotion and social norms using argumentative strategies of emotive language and facts and evidence to dictate their target audience. The issue at debate is a sensitive topic often prone to strong feelings and opinions. Both writers recognise this by their tactic of making their audience vulnerable before presenting their justifications and warrants so that their audience is more receptive and agreeable. But the issue of gender inequality remains unresolved because of the lack of understanding the depth of the problem, the manipulation of the concept of gender to suit their personal pursuits, and the pride in beating down the opposite gender in order to be equal.

Assessment: Proposal for Individual Presentation

  1. The topic or subject area of the views-journalism items you are proposing to deal with in your 1st written assignment.

 The topic/subject that I will be addressing in the two chosen views-journalism articles fall under the umbrella of ‘gender equality’ – sexism and same-sex marriage.

  1. The headline/name of the items and information on where and when they were published.
  1. a) “Why women-only ride-sharing is revolutionary” by Deirdre Fidge

  1. b) “What can the Australian Christian Lobby do with their $7.5 million?”

These two articles were published earlier this month, thus reflecting the issue being explores are ‘fresh’ and ‘current’ in the news. They were also selected from news channels that I follow and remain up-to-date with.

  1. If the items you are going to be discussing are available online, then provide links to the relevant pages.

I have provided the links above in Question 2. Most of our news is accessed online, besides television programs, especially amongst younger audiences, such as myself, due to the mobility of technology. Therefore, I have chosen online articles as they are more flexible to access and record as opposed to print media.

  1. One paragraph summarising what you believe are going to be your primary conclusions.

These two views-journalism articles fall under the issue of gender equality, however, they address the different ways in which gender equality exists: sexism and prejudice towards same-sex marriage. The primary focus will be on evaluating the justifications provided by the authors in support of their principal claim. Through a critical analysis of the justifications, including a reflection on the underlying warrants, we can see how the use of language is employed to manipulate the fundamental principles of the gender, that is the female and male, in order to influence the reader to support the opinion/argument being presented. Further, it will also provide a deep insight into how the employment of such a method undermines the justifications being argued. In other words, both authors have adopted a positive attitude towards gender equality by pitting the gender against the other to justify their principal claim. As a result, the primary conclusions will be on the importance of recognising the need for strong justifications for an opinion or argument.