rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Horwath in heels

A friend of mine is fond of saying that if you need evidence of patriarchy, you need look no further than high-heeled shoes.

It's that thinking that spawned yesterday's Walk a Mile in her Shoes action, in which feminist-friendly men strapped on a pair of pumps at Younge and Dundas in Toronto and teetered painfully down the street in solidarity with ending violence against women.

So it seems curious, then, that the Ontario NDP would choose to unveil a new ad which features orange high heels to boost their electoral chances following Andrea Horwath's impressive debate performance earlier this week. It's not the first time the ONDP have flirted, so to speak, with this approach. Why a political party which professes to be grounded in feminist principles would choose to represent themselves with so limiting an image of female beauty; or, indeed, why the only female leader in the Ontario provincial election needs to frame her appeal to voters in terms of her sexual attractiveness (to heterosexual men), is beyond me.

I don't suppose more pressing symbols of femininity, like say, an orange paystub or an orange child-care worker, are likely to show up in future ONDP campaigns. What's next? Orange lipstick? Actually, probably.

Andrea Horwath is a strong, principled leader who doesn't need corporate branders or PR cabals coming up with anti-feminist pop images to win an election. If the ONDP believes that the only way to make progressive policies attractive is to dress them up in heels, then not only has the party failed to present themselves as an alternative to the old boys club ruling parties (ironically the precise objective the ads are trying to achieve), they risk betraying the activists and volunteers who have spent decades fighting patriarchal conventions only to see the only party they could call home embrace them.

Whether you wear high heels or not, the ONDP will mobilise the people of Ontario not through cheap (and troublesome) gimmicks, but through their policies, conviction and courage. Kick off your heels, Andrea.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.