205 episodes

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

The Argument The New York Times

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    • 4.4 • 112 Ratings

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

    After Dobbs: What Is Feminist Sex?

    After Dobbs: What Is Feminist Sex?

    What is good sex? It’s a complicated question that feminists have wrestled with for decades. From destigmatizing premarital sex to embracing no-strings-attached hookup culture of more recent decades, feminism has often focused winning sexual freedoms for women. But some feminists have been asking if those victories have had unintended consequences, such as the devaluing of emotional intimacy in relationships. So: What kind of sexual liberation actually makes women freer? And how do we need to reset our cultural norms to get there?

    In the final installment of our three-part feminism series on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is joined by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Michelle Goldberg. Willis Aronowitz is the sex and love columnist at Teen Vogue, and the author of “Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure and an Unfinished Revolution.” She’s also the daughter of Ellen Willis, a leader of the pro-sex feminist movement in the late 1960s and after. Goldberg is a Times Opinion columnist who has been writing about feminism for decades. The two discuss what it means to be sexually liberated, the limitations — and the rewards — of monogamy and just how much the individual choices people make in the bedroom shape the broader feminist movement.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution,” by Louise Perry
    “I Still Believe in the Power of Sexual Freedom,” by Nona Willis Aronowitz in The New York Times
    “When Sexual Liberation Is Oppressive,” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times

    (A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

    • 30 min
    After Dobbs: Feminism Beyond the Gender Binary

    After Dobbs: Feminism Beyond the Gender Binary

    As the feminist movement has regrouped in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one of the more surprising debates that has emerged has been one about semantics. Some feminists argue that using inclusive phrases like “pregnant person” in reproductive rights advocacy minimizes the experiences of cisgender women. So where do trans and nonbinary people fit within feminism’s big tent? And if the trans rights movement and the feminist movement are fighting for many of the same things — most critically, the protection of bodily autonomy — why can’t they get on the same page?

    In part two of our series on the future of feminism, Jane Coaston is joined by two trans feminists and writers, Dr. Jennifer Finney Boylan and Thomas Page McBee. Together, they discuss how the gender binary has informed their own identification, how they’ve felt supported — or left behind — by mainstream feminism, and how they want the two movements to work together going forward.

    (A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

    • 31 min
    After Dobbs: Does ‘Big Tent’ Feminism Exist? Should It?

    After Dobbs: Does ‘Big Tent’ Feminism Exist? Should It?

    For decades, the story of the American feminist movement seemed like a progression of hard-won gains: Title IX, Roe v. Wade, the Violence Against Women Act, #MeToo. But in a post-“lean in” and post-Roe America, the momentum seems to have reversed, leaving some feminists to wonder: What are we fighting for? And who is in that fight?

    So this week, “The Argument” is kicking off a three-part series to dive into the state of feminism today. In the first episode, Jane Coaston brings together two people who have helped shaped how we think about feminism. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the chief executive of New America and wrote the influential 2012 Atlantic essay “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” The article was critiqued by our second guest, Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (and a Times columnist). Ten years later, the two women discuss what’s next for feminism — personal disagreements included — and debate Jane’s fundamental question: Is feminism an identity that you claim or an action that you take?

    (A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

    • 44 min
    What Should High Schoolers Read?

    What Should High Schoolers Read?

    Book banning has surged in America’s classrooms. The free speech advocacy organization PEN America has compiled a list of more than 1,500 reported instances of books being banned in public schools and libraries in less than a year. As students head back to school, what are the books we do and don’t want our kids to read? And what are the values America’s students are meant to take away from the pages of books?

    So on this episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is talking to two writers and teachers to figure out what high school English syllabuses should look like in 2022. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a contributing Opinion writer and novelist who has taught high school English and creative writing, and designed English curriculums for for-profit companies. Esau McCaulley, also a contributing Opinion writer, is an associate professor at Wheaton College.

    Greenidge argues that at their best, English classes and the books read in them should be a place to find mutual understanding. “When you’re talking about what we should read in English class, you’re really talking about how to make a common language for people to talk across,” Greenidge says. But the question of whose stories are included in that common language — especially when it comes to what makes up the Western canon — is especially fraught. And to McCaulley, how teachers put a book in context is just as important as what their students are reading in the first place. “That’s what makes discussions around the canon complicated,” he says. "Because the teacher has to be able to see these texts as both powerful and profoundly broken, because they’re written by humans who often have those contradictions in themselves.”

    • 34 min
    Best of: Does the Supreme Court Need More Justices?

    Best of: Does the Supreme Court Need More Justices?

    Today, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from earlier this year: Reforming the Supreme Court. This episode originally aired before the Dobbs decision was released this summer.

    2022 is a big year for supporters of Supreme Court reform. Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave women nationwide the right to have abortions, has been overturned, and the debate around changing the way we structure the bench — in particular, packing the court — is getting only more heated.

    The past decade has brought a shift in the makeup of the court — from Brett Kavanaugh, appointed despite sexual assault allegations, to Merrick Garland, blocked from confirmation, and Amy Coney Barrett, rushed to confirmation.

    It’s the culmination of decades of effort by Republicans to make the courts more conservative. And now Democrats want to push back by introducing some radical changes.

    Today, Jane Coaston brings together two guests who disagree on whether altering Supreme Court practices is the right call and, if yes, what kind of changes would make sense for the highest judicial body in the nation.

    Russ Feingold is the president of the American Constitution Society and was a Democratic senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011. Russ Miller is an attorney and law professor at Washington and Lee and the head of the Max Planck Law Network in Germany.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Americans No Longer Have Faith in the U.S. Supreme Court. That Has Justices Worried,” by Russ Feingold in The Guardian, published in October 2021.
    “We Don’t Need to Reform the Supreme Court,” by Russ Miller in Just Security, published in February 2021.
    “The Future of Supreme Court Reform,” by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman in Harvard Law Review, published in May 2021.

    • 42 min
    Best of: Cancel America's Student Loan Debt! But How?

    Best of: Cancel America's Student Loan Debt! But How?

    Today, with the Biden Administration weighing whether to extend the federal student loan payment freeze, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from last year: Canceling student loan debt.

    The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?

    Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.

    Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Astra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”
    Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”
    Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”
    Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”
    Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
112 Ratings

112 Ratings

LegalEagle. ,

Bruni is off

Now this is a blow. Bruni is the vital buffer between Ross and Michelle. He’s also more measured, eloquent and rational than any other voice on this podcast - at least to this British bystander.

Bukitima ,

Left wing people debate far left people

Bit of an echo chamber. Would be good to have some non left wing people on the show to actually make it live up to its name

Whyte81 ,

Miss the old format

The Argument used to be one of my favourites for the insights and warmth of the original hosts. There was a good rapport and lighter side to it as well even when debating very difficult issues. Sadly it has changed format without any real explanation and is a completely different show now, basically just a vehicle for Jane Coaston.

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