Austin's mayor, Lee Leffingwell, was re-elected yesterday. I was a little offended by the campaign of his opponent, Brigid Shea. My friend Emily and I were walking to breakfast and a volunteer, cruising the neighborhood in a car fitted out with megaphones, called out at us to vote for Shea because Austin needs a change and "she's a woman." We both looked over, and got a, "That's right, ladies--vote for Shea!"

It shouldn't need to be said that this is extraordinarily shallow. Other things being equal, I suppose I would be tempted to vote for a woman rather than a man, women being underrepresented in electoral office. In this case, however, there was a salient difference between the campaigns, which is that one was insulting us by extrapolating from our gender to our voting preferences, and the other wasn't.
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Notable about this picture: presence of a second x chromosome.
Granted, it's hard to build a nuanced argument when you're hollering at passersby from a moving car, but it's not as if Shea is a Democrat and Leffingwell wants to ban contraception. This most controversial issue in this election was whether the city should have offered incentives to the city's forthcoming Formula One racetrack. An interesting issue, perhaps, but not a particularly gendered one. If I hadn't already voted for Leffingwell, I would have done so after that. 
 



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