Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In all of us command

On the way back from a debating tournament in Vienna this weekend we had quite an intense discussion on whether its motions were a good choice.

Above all, the motion of the first round - "Should national anthems be formulated in a gender-neutral way?" was controversial.

I believe this debate to be far easier for the opposition because it requires sophisticated feminist reasoning to overcome the deeply entrenched common sense idea of "this is simply a historic document".

However, as some people already told me on the tournament, there is an ongoing debate about this issue in Austria - read this dpa story.

And on my favourite feminist blog I just read a few hours ago that there is such a debate in Canada as well.

This adds a sense of realism to a motion that I considered absurd before. Still, the question remains whether current debates in politics necessarily are good motions for a debating tournament.


  1. I myself do not feel that this motion has been such a struggle for the proposition side. In fact you can easily come up with basic identification arguments and how a national anthem is not a historic matter but a symbol for the state to identify with. And that such symbols change and need to change when the society they stand for do. For me this is also a common sense argument one can find easily even if not somewhat into feminism.

  2. But are you really capable to form a tough harm with this whole "identification" point? (I personally don't believe that there will be any change in the identification with the nation if you change the anthem)