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.
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.