Fear and loathing on the campaign trail in Niagara

Earlier today, this article was posted to the St. Catharines Standard website: Fear and loathing on the campaign trail in Niagara

I want to share this about it and my campaign experience this time around:

This campaign is the ugliest campaign I’ve ever run in (I first ran in 2006). You get used to (and you shouldn’t have to) the comments on your appearance that are meant to flatter, but really make you kind of queasy

You get used to (but shouldn’t have to) the come ons and questions about your relationship status that, again, are meant to flatter, but really make you more than a little queasy

You get used to those things and laugh them off when the person is standing in front of you and then seethe about them as you continue on your way

There are things that have happened during the campaign that I’ve not talked about publicly (and will not talk about publicly), but about which I’m keeping notes and files in case the behaviour escalates

But this behaviour; this misogyny must be talked about. As I say in the article above, we have to call it what it is, and we have to keep calling it what it is until – eventually – the people who engage in this behaviour are embarrassed to engage in this behaviour; until the people who are friends of the people who engage in this behaviour are embarrassed by their friends’ behaviour and will call them out for it

There is brief mention of another candidate posting about me and Haley (there was also a post (and comments) that was just about me)

He has the gall to minimize and dismiss the misogyny to which I’ve been subjected for four years and to which he is subjecting Haley while being misogynist

If the concern is how “woke” I am or that Haley and I falsely yell “misogyny” because we just don’t like being challenged, then why are there never posts about the men who are running who hold the same points of view?

And there can’t just be posts about them. They have to take the same tone. Be of the same quantity. The same frequency. And the same intensity.

Kate Manne gives a very accessible explanation of misogyny in Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. when holding fixed the intersections of identity related to race, class, sexuality, age, ability, etc., one need only demonstrate that the male counterpart is not subjected to the same hostility in terms of tone, quantity, frequency, or intensity

And we can easily demonstrate that during this campaign (and the last four years). While some men have been subjected to harassment and abuse, it has not been of the same gendered nature as the abuse and harassment to which the women have been subjected

During this campaign, we’ve seen women politicians who aren’t even running again be subjected to abuse and harassment

None of this is okay. And it is absolutely a threat to democracy

If we don’t call out this behaviour; name it for what it is; make people aware of how bad it is, it will fester and potentially escalate

It will discourage women, racially-marginalized, gender- and sexually-diverse, disabled people, people with experience with mental health needs, people from various socioeconomic backgrounds, etc., etc. from ever putting their name on a ballot, and we will be worse for that

Progress doesn’t happen; communities aren’t healthy when a diverse range of voices aren’t being heard at tables where decisions are made