It’s election time here in Ontario, and today I learned about a new website called Ontario’s Sexiest Election Candidate.
Yes, just what we need.
The site, launched by Toronto blogger Zach Bussey, takes us back to the days of the Belinda Stronach media circus. Never mind that these candidates are vying to run our province; let’s judge them based on how they look.
According to the site, Bussey and his team sat down and judged all provincial candidates to determine the most attractive, their list included 32 males and 32 females. It’s now up to Ontarians to vote for head-to-head matchups of finalists for the next month until sexiest is crowned.
Oh – and in case you were concerned, the process is entirely non-partisan. No candidate is immune from this objectification.
Now, while the stated justification apologia for the site is that it’s a fun, light hearted attempt to bring attention to provincial candidates, I would argue that it’s not the right type of attention.
Sexiness, or lack thereof, won’t do anything to address the pressing issues facing this province – the affordability crisis; skyrocketing costs for post-secondary education; the lack of affordable, accessible child care spaces; job creation; protecting the environment; and so on.
Further, research shows that the objectification of political candidates stands as a barrier to election, in fact, nowhere is this clearer than with women candidates. Whether it’s a fixation of how she wears her hair, or commenting on her pantsuits — we have seen time and time again that this focus on looks detracts from the real issues and prevents women in politics from being taken seriously.
To quote Michelle Bachmann (for the first and last time) – “I’m running for president, not to be the next Kardashian.”
Note: Title for blog post borrowed from Equal Voice Campaign: http://www.equalvoice.ca/pdf/471_48dbde6b3d092.pdf