On glitter in Canadian politics

A week or so ago, I found out about an event — a fundraiser — for my political party of choice.  I saw the invitation and decided quickly that it wasn’t for me.  Last night, the rest of Twitter saw the promotional piece and promptly asploded.  Here’s the item in question:


(Here’s where I include the disclaimery copy about how I actually am a party member and supporter and wasn’t asked for my opinion but I’m a mouthy broad so here it is anyway.)

The backlash started off with a kind of subversive/sarcastic take on things, and a clever repurposing of the event’s hashtag, #askjustin.   Not surprisingly, the critics were women, and not surprisingly, they were very, very funny:

Of course, things devolved rapidly and thoroughly over the next couple of hours once the partisans got their paws on it.  But for awhile there, #askjustin offered some really interesting insights into Canadian women voters.  By which I mean the vocal ones on Twitter; I’m sure if I showed it to my female friends who are largely offline or disinterested in politics, the response would have been a dismissive, “That looks stupid. Why would I go to that? Here, try this chocolate, it’s insane.”

When I first saw the promo, and even now when I look it at, I mostly feel confused.  I don’t get the “unplugged” angle (he’s a politician, not a musician).  And speaking of insane … what in Helvetica is up with that font?  I am 100% sincere when I say that that font is partially responsible for my decision not to attend, as is the fact that I have my own unplugged (a cappella) rehearsal to attend.

Unlike many of the #askjustin Tweeters last night, I didn’t find the graphic offensive.  I did find it trivializing.  The issues facing women — to the extent that there are gender-specific concerns not directly related to our unique physiology — are legitimate, and deserve to be treated respectfully and seriously.  I have no doubt that’s exactly what will happen at the actual event.  Still, I don’t understand why the organizers felt this was the best way to get those women in the door.

The answer likely lies in that visceral reaction I had when I first saw the invitation.  As I said, the reaction was an instant and complete sense that this event was not for me.  It’s not the $250 price of admission — fundraisers often have big-ticket prices.  No surprise there.  It’s more that I looked at the address — trendy Queen West — and knew that that $250 would escalate to $500 or more because I have nothing to wear.  Not one thing.  I’m a work-at-home-mom.  My wardrobe is 50% jeans and 50% yoga pants so old that their sheerness is due to overuse, not recent changes in textile inputs.

In other words, the event felt exclusive — in the sense that I felt excluded, from this singular event.

That is not my experience of the Liberal party as a whole, nor its leadership, its advisors, its members and hordes of volunteers.  I’m not bailing on anyone or anything over this.  I rather resent the implication that I should.

Again, no one asked for my feedback, but this second half-caff is kicking in, so there goes … here’s what I’d do to make things right, if any right-making is required:

  1. Reconsider the concept.  That is, the utility/effectiveness of gender-focused events.  We’re more than half the population.  Our issues are your issues: full stop.  On a practical note, day-to-day, I have more in common with a harried dad than I do fabulous single girls.  Our bonding points are childcare costs and aging parents and the goddamn miracle it is that any relationships survive having children.  Not nail polish (as Tweeters suggested) or virtues (as the invitation did).
  2. Find five serious questions you can answer.  Find them on Twitter and answer them there.  Won’t take more than 10 minutes of sifting through the #askjustin posts to find the genuine queries about barriers to income equality, the lack of affordable childcare, the problem of mounting student debt, the dearth of women in boardrooms and backrooms.  Not everyone can afford to attend and ask in person.  Don’t let that limit your outreach, now that so many more are paying attention.
  3. Ignore the rest.  I haven’t checked the #askjustin threads this morning.  I suspect event organizers are doing just that, as it’s the smart and reasonable thing to do.

UPDATE: And as of just-before-8:00-AM, that is, hours before I sat down to write this, #2 was taken on in full. Not just five, but about two hours of answering questions. Nicely done.

Helicopter! Helicopter! Helicopter!


If you, like me, are on a mission to Back The Eff Off, you might enjoy Free Range Kids: “Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.”

It’s a wrap

In the final installment of the parenting roundtable, The Daily Post has word-wrangled a near-dozen tips on blogging while parenting.  As the title promises, these are good guidelines for writing blogs in general, not just  family life in particular.

My top three tips were:

  1. use real(ish) names (if you can find a way to be comfortable with that)
  2. post regularly (including a few ideas on how to find your posting groove)
  3. don’t forget about you (your story matters, too, Morgan Freeman!)

Big thanks to Michelle for pulling together our different takes on all things familial, and a reminder to check out rest of the roundtable writers — they’re swell!



“Mama, I have to go Part Two …”

Here’s part two of The Daily Post’s blogging while parenting series!  Featuring me!  And other people who do a much better job of sounding like they know what they’re doing.

This installment serves up more great tips, this time about knowing when to share and when to shaddup already:

Today, they delve into the nitty-gritty of establishing boundaries online. How much detail is appropriate to share? What topics are off-limits? What about posting photos? How is their children’s other parent involved in the blog, if at all? Their advice is great for anyone writing about (or posting photos of) family and friends, whether they’re tall enough for the roller coaster or not.

Please give a big Daily Post welcome to our panel. And no funny business, or they will turn this blog around. They mean it.

Oh, I will SO turn this blog around, Missy.  Don’t you think for a second that I won’t.

[Funny story: my ex-boyfriend’s parents actually DID pull over the side of the road once, and kicked their squabbling kids out of the car.  They they (the parents) got back in and drove away.  Just over the hill; far enough to freak out the kids, whose thoughts instantly turned to how they were going to build a fire and a shelter, because when you’ve got parents that funny, you learn survival skills early on.  These parents also used to hide in the house and wait for the kids to notice they were gone.  So great.]

There’s more to come in next week’s final installment, plus some bonus content in this month’s WordPress/Daily Post newsletter, so go sign up for that nowzo.

And because I know at least my similarly tongued sister will get a kick out of it, here’s my 100% off-point response to the “Are there things you’ll never write about?” question:

I will never write about that time I ate raisins/cilantro/black liquorice and enjoyed it.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.