There’s two things the New Zealand political scene doesn’t need right now. One: Another “party” led by men. Two: Another joke party.
I guess that the “Yes All Davids” party started as a joke on Twitter, because usually David Cormack is two things – funny, and a fairly good ally. The Ruminator has a feminism section and a whole bunch of great women writers.
The joke could have been funny and then just… passed on, quietly. That would have been ok. But it didn’t. No, it did not.
Oh wait, it’s not Yes All David. It’s Anyone That’s David. With this lovely banner of… a whole bunch of men.
<Note: I did have a screen shot of the banner here, but David Cormack has since changed it, and also, one of the men pictured had not actually chosen to be part of the party, so it wasn’t fair to show him.>
My problem here is two fold.
I know that they’re not being deliberately exclusionary. That’s not what I’m saying. They say clearly that the “party” is open to anyone.
But the fact is this: the political space, counting down to the election, is swamped with men and men’s voices. Our “most influential” blogs, both left and right, are run by men. Our political parties are run by men – though I see Labour has put their gender quota in place, and of course the Greens has a female co-leader (who I have seen woefully little of lately. I’m getting a bit sick of Russel, to be honest.) What you’re doing is taking up space that could be used for a female voice.
I’d really, really, just like to hear from a woman. Just for once. Even if it was a joke party. Because that would make something of a good point. This… does not.
Second problem: joke parties.
We already have The Civilian (which I also think is utterly ridiculous, although I can see that there is a place for satire).
This is not satire.
The problem here is that this is making a joke out of politics. And yeah, sometimes we need to laugh because the whole scene is a fucking circus and if we didn’t laugh we’d scream. But politics affects lives. Whatever happens this election will literally help dictate how much money I get to survive each week. Whether the services I currently rely on to stay alive get cut or not. Whether I can still afford to see my doctor and get medication.
That’s not a fucking joke.
We do not need another joke party in this space.
Oh wait, I have a third problem.
That problem is energy. I am a chronically ill woman who has to work so hard to do the most meager amounts of awareness-raising and advocacy. Some days I have to choose between eating and writing. This is my reality.
Here are a bunch of people who have so much extra energy that they can put it towards an entire campaign designed just to make a joke. That looks like crazy amounts of privilege to me.
Can you imagine if they put that energy towards something good? Something useful?
Oh, and finally: the #yesallwomen hashtag was an incredibly powerful movement to talk about the realities women face that lead to us being victimized, assaulted, and murdered because of societal misogyny. It should NOT be co-opted for anything else. Full stop.
So what will their “policies” be?
I guess we just wait and see.
Update: David Cormack has publicly acknowledged my response, and has made some amendments to the website. I appreciate that there was recognition of the previous and potential damage of the joke. As I understand it, the party hopes to move beyond that and be a useful platform during the coming election. As I said, I’m waiting to see the policies. Thank you.