UCCSU – Perpetuating Sexism?

Having spent many a year in the world of student politics, I can happily put my hand on my heart and say that it is a world where sexism is plenty and female officers are few.

Which is why I’m so disappointed to see my alma mater and a union I care deeply about, be incredibly sexist in a year when there is a record number of female candidates for full time positions.

In a video to advertise upcoming candidate debates, they feature only two women – Keira Knightley and Sarah Palin. Knightley shows up after the phrase ‘queue token female candidates’ and Palin when they are making fun of the candidates.

Yeah I was peeved by the token female comment, when the participation of women in the union should be anything but token but I was well pissed after the closing scene of the video where the current president alludes – not so subtly – to the infamous Bill Clinton ‘sexual relations’ comment while pretending to be getting head.

You can view the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vAYbdU4snSY

Seriously like – C’mon on! There are better ways to be funny than this. And if anyone can come up with a defence of the video that doesn’t rest on ‘It’s funny/you just don’t have a sense of humour/take a chill pill’ I’d be interested to hear it.

This video is unacceptable. Pure and simple. As a union meant to represent close to 20,000 students – over half of which are female, they need to seriously revisit how they promote events. Sexism should not be a form of advertising. ANd leaders of a union should know better.

Here’s hoping next years crowd do a better job.

Voting take places on the 5th & 6th March! You can find all candidates manifestos on collegeroad.ie. We’d encourage everyone to vote for the female candidates. While that may not sit comfortably with you, just remember that there will plenty of people who won’t vote for them for the same reason.

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3 Responses to UCCSU – Perpetuating Sexism?

  1. shelley says:

    shouldn’t it be ‘cue’ not ‘queue’?
    maybe they should stay out of politics and concentrate on learning something…

  2. Ben says:

    Should it not further be pointed out that this post mentions one person (me) and failed to find out that four people made the video, two female, and the other male was more than happy to renege all responsibility for it and let me be the fall guy in every respect. Further to that, he has nothing like my level of support and respect for the feminist movement. Also, I’d really like to point out that I was campaign manager for one of the female candidates who came within 100 votes of winning against a lad’s lad with the biggest team in the election. I was also recently publicly thanked for being a big factor in helping incoming USI Equality and Citizenship Officer Laura Harmon win her election.

    Look it’s fair to say that I found this upsetting. To be accused of something you actively reject is very hard. I really don’t think this is fair or accurate, I fully accept that it was inappropriate looking back and I would probably do things differently, but there is a world of difference between having an inappropriate sense of humour and being actively sexist. The greatest irony is that it was a female friend of mine who put in the line ‘cue token female candidate’, spelling mistake and all. I don’t think this piece is helping the feminist movement and I don’t think it’s fair.

    • Hi Ben,

      thanks for your comment. Linda here, I’m the one who wrote the post. I only mentioned your position as you are the only officer who appears in the video. You’ll see that the rest of the time I refer to the Union. I also never called you sexist and the aim of the post is not about questioning your other work/experience. Just to be clear the post is not directed at you personally. You are the only person tagged as you are the only officer who appears in it. Am happy to remove the tag as asked. If you read the post again you’ll see that I’m not referring to individuals. I said the video was incredibly sexist, and the union was perpetuating sexism by creating, distributing and endorsing the gender stereotypes in this video.

      I don’t accept that the post is unfair or inaccurate. The video is inappropriate not because of a bad sense of humour, as you suggest, it is inappropriate because it is sexist and because it is UCCSU-endorsed sexism. Nor do I agree with your conclusion that my post is not helping the feminist movement. Naming sexism in student politics in a union where no female candidate got elected this year, and where there hasn’t been a female President in almost 10 years would seem to me to be pretty important. Especially so given that student politics is where many cut their teeth before moving onto local/national politics where we also have a problem getting women elected.

      Thanks for your comment – always happy to debate,
      Linda

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