Thursday, January 18, 2007

I have a vagina! Vote for me!

Ah those women from my undergrad Feminist Philosophy courses would be at my throat if they knew how I was feeling right now.

I am frustrated with all the talk of women in politics and people scandalizing the number of women in the Stelmach cabinet. There are two women in cabinet. Two very capable women. I know little of Janis Tarchuk but I do know that Iris Evans is an absolutely astounding, very high energy, very smart woman. However, I hate the fact that these women are generally not seen for the things that they have done or that they have the ability to do... but rather, some people are more interested in anatomy. Yes, it is good that women are participating more in the political sphere but the reality is that there are still far more men. More men have experience in politics, more men run for office. Anatomy is simply not a reason to vote (or not vote) for someone.

I watched the Liberal leadership convention. Early on in the race, Martha Hall Findley was doing very well. Though not as experienced as the others, she has fresh ideas and is incredibly smart and charismatic. However, at the convention, she made me angry when she called on women to vote for her because it's time for a woman leader of the Liberal party. Because it's time for an [elected] woman Prime Minister. Personally, I wanted to hear about her great ideas for the country and the direction in which she would take us if she was elected. Not that she should be elected because she's a woman.

Maybe it's my own idealism speaking, but I agree heavily with John Stuart Mill. He wrote in The Subjection of Women that women should be allowed to do anything that men are allowed to do and society benefits when the disenfranchised are able to share their talents with others without constraint. In any job, society benefits when the best person for the job is hired. People should not be thought good for a position due to race, gender or creed but due to their qualifications and what they have the ability to do in that role. We shouldn't hold people back due to their race or gender, but we shouldn't promote them solely for those reasons either. To me, it seems hippocritical. Old white men shouldn't get elected because they are old white men, but women and minority groups should get elected because they are women and minorities? I fail to see the logic.

I know that women are underrepresented in politics. However, I believe that no one benefits when we elect a woman merely for the sake of her being woman, just as no one benefits from a man being hired because he is a man. Women should be encouraged to participate in this sphere if that is what they wish to do. My main problem is that if any of the other candidates at the leadership convention stood up and said, "vote for me, because I am a man!" there would have been an uproar. And yet, no one thinks anything of it when a woman does the same thing? Honestly!

For the record, I'm all for women in politics. I am just very against the direction feminism has taken.

On a different note, an analysis/defence of the cabinet shuffle which I quite agree with can be found on the Enlightened Savage's page under his entry entitled Introducing Ed Stelmach as "Fallout Boy".

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