Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog encourages Ontarians to vote with their... ummm...

CBC reports that a Toronto blogger is attempting to provoke interest in Ontario's upcoming provincial election by getting voters to decide which candidates are the "sexiest".

Zach Bussey wants visitors to his media site to decide between two male and two female candidates every day:

"We’ve sat down and looked at the candidates from Green, NDP, Liberal, PC and even the fringe parties to narrow down all of them to just 64! 32 male candidates and 32 female candidates who we’ve deemed to be attractive! Now, over the course of the next month, head-to-head matchups between these 64 attractive Ontario Election Candidates will battle for votes to determine who is the Sexiest Candidate! "
Yes, it's all a big joke (and a PR stunt for Zach, who seems to be launching a production company of some kind) but he told CBC that it's all for democracy:

"I don't want it to be taken seriously in the sense that 'this is how you should vote,'" Bussey said. "I give people more credit than that. But I do want it to be taken seriously in the sense that if you're going to vote here, get out and vote on October 6."
Obviously, both political purists and gender issues advocates are going to be irritated by this. Personally, I wish Zach had said that he was running a social commentary about the superficiality of modern politics.

(Taken from the site)

After all, it's no accident that our neighbours to the south have perhaps the handsomest President in living history (in addition to his inspirational brand) and that so many of his potential political challengers have been attractive conservative women.  Physical beauty is an essential component of charisma, which provides the emotional stimuli that make us think we like people. One would expect politicians to be taller, better poised and more attractive than not. (The success of an unattractive politician, in that context, is really a great tribute to his or her personality, intelligence, ideas and persuasiveness.)

So if anything useful can come out of this stupid social media stunt, perhaps it's that the outraged and amused coverage of it will get us taking a clear look at ourselves as sexist creatures of instinct, and starting a conversation about how to rise above that nature.

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