By Amy Badry
Campaigning for the 2012 Students’ Union election has begun. Vice-president student life candidate Hayley Wade’s poster has garnered city-wide attention within the first couple days of campaigning.
Her poster was placed in men’s washrooms around the university with the slogan, “Great Dick Bro.”
SU Chief Returning Officer Rabiya Mansoor indicated Wade’s posters hanging in the washrooms are in a no-campaign zone. However, since they were placed there during the 24-hour grace period, Wade will not be penalized.
“If it’s from a first-time campaigner as the CRO you don’t want to be too hard,” said Mansoor. “You are a little disappointed that they weren’t following the rules to the fullest extent.”
Other no-campaigning zones include SU offices and libraries.
Wade’s poster campaign has received mixed reactions.
Current VP operations and finance Patrick Straw said Wade is grabbing the attention of voters, which is the intention of campaigning.
“What those posters are designed to do is to get attention in a light-hearted, fun way and it is doing exactly that,” he said.
However, last year’s VP student life Jennifer Abbott finds the posters unprofessional.
“I think when you are running to be an elected official you should be conducting yourself in a professional and respectful manner. You are going to be dealing with the government and university administration representing students,” said Abbott. “Campaigns like that delegitimizes the position and the Students’ Union.”
Wade, however, believes her posters are a funny way for her to connect with students.
“The poster speaks to students in a language they know and understand and find funny,” she said. “Part of my platform is all about student engagement on this campus, and effective communication with students.”
However, Sarah Hanlon, a fourth-year Canadian studies and women’s studies major, finds the posters very offensive.
“The posters are aimed specifically for people with dicks and I don’t have a dick,” said Hanlon. “[The posters] are saying that in order for a female to gain power she has to compliment men and not only a man but a man’s genitalia.”
Hanlon doesn’t see the point of the poster, as it has nothing to do with the campaign.
“It comes back to gender norms and stereotypes which are completely unrelated to any campaign issue, which is what really bothers me.”
Hanlon said that when women go to obtain equality, they have to portray masculine traits or alternatively, embody the female stereotype.
“Women who are powerful are powerful in a way that reinforces gender stereotypes, keeping women from taking power.”
Abbott thinks how you represent yourself in your campaign reflects what type of leader you will be.
“If you want to be elected, you have to represent students, and if you don’t take the election seriously students and the people you work with will not take your seriously,” said Abbott.
Straw said that a successful campaign indicates the passion and dedication the executive would have. He thinks Wade is doing a great job at marketing herself.
“If you can get everyone’s attention, if you are doing such a good job marketing yourself that everyone knows about you and everyone is talking about you, your campaign is successful.”
Another VP student life candidate, Kevin Kempe, has also received mixed reactions to his posters, albeit to a lesser extent.
Kempe’s posters are based on the “Hey Girl” Ryan Gosling meme.
Third-year English student Nicole Foussekis said the poster that bothered her was one in which Kempe is consoling a crying girl. The poster reads, “Hey Girl. I know people say advocating on behalf of student issues is a waste of time, but I’ll make sure your issues are my issues.”
“Well, we don’t really need a male hero to solve our issues,” said Foussekis.
However, she did note that at least Kempe is relating his poster back to student issues, unlike Wade’s posters that are focusing on objectifying males.
“Kempe’s campaign is very much appealing to the female audience, and [Wade] is very much appealing to the male audience,” said Foussekis. “I almost resent the polarization, that politics can’t remain gender neutral.”