Candace at 5 Corners writes about speaking up and defending one's views in public settings, and she points to a great oral report delivered in a college graduate class by Kashei of Spot On. Both writers are women, and I have a question: do women find it harder in general to speak up in public settings and to disagree than men do? Is it totally gender-neutral, or are there social forces at play that make women more reticent?
As for myself, I have no problem being disagreeable -- some would say I revel in it. I like to play devil's advocate and will often argue for positions I think are wrong or absurd, just for the rhetorical joy of defending the indefensible. I like using dirty tricks, and I enjoy debating face-to-face even more than through writing. Nothing gives me more ignoble pleasure than defending something ludicrous and then telling my opponent that I really agree with them, and that they could have won by arguing XYZ.
Anyway, I've heard that girls and women are raised to be more pleasant and agreeable than men, and to avoid open confrontation and conflict. Do you women think that's true? Does that affect your participation in public debates when disagreement is expected and respected? Does it affect your reaction to private discussions, disagreements, and debates?
I love good conversation, and I particularly enjoy women who are willing to argue with me (without getting emotionally invested in the argument). For me, debate is a game, and I generally don't care if I win or lose -- but that's not how most women seem to see it. Women often seem adverse to friendly (even heated) debate, and only want to argue when there's a real object of contention -- which they've already made up their mind about.
Anyway, I'm sure you see where I'm going with all this. I want to get a better understanding of how women view debate, public/private discourse, disagreement, and argumentation.