Golly! What a load of fuss there is swirling about on social media, in the print press and on TV about the colour of Labour’s battle bus that has set off on the female campaign trail. After endless debates stretching over the years about the lack of female representation in Parliament whether it be over the low numbers of female MPs or the deficit in Westminster debates about issues that affect women, along comes a means of targeting females and it is attacked for the colour it is covered in.
If this is not a First World Feminism concern then I don’t know what is, frankly. By First World Feminism I mean that there is this strong sense of self-entitlement to critique the novel value without dissecting the issue for greater substance. If only women in third world countries had this privilege. I do think that First World Feminism critique, when it comes to issues of trivia, is a Western privilege.
I have watched different news channels on this and, there is a chance, unless i have missed something more substantive I did not fall upon an analysis of what the bus riders (presumably Labour female MPs) will be talking about specifically. Such is the lack of substance attached to this story.
The colour of this political bus is a far cry from the concerted efforts by feminist campaigners to gender neutralize the colour of children’s clothing and toys. These campaigns serve to change entrenched mindsets about the gender polarity that imbues young children with expectations about what they can/cannot do and what they can/cannot achieve. There is a value laden benefit to this exercise.
What is the value laden benefit to attacking a pink political bus which is only going to be around till 6 May-no campaigning is allowed on the day of the election of 7 May – and serves a single purpose of ferreting out women’s concerns?
This is not a blog post about endorsing Labour’s policies. In fact, as I have already stated, I don’t know what is proposed for discussion but it won’t be far off the mark, I am sure, to guess that the bus is a publicity seeking device to root out women who are prepared to talk about how Westminster’s policies affect them.
The feminist in me applauds any attempts to include women in politics. Feminist analysis largely centres around women’s role and how a patriarchal system discriminates against them. Women interact with the state, the labour market, public sector and private sector everyday yet our views don’t really add up when it comes to central policy making.
My only hope is that the Pink bus will also visit those sites such as Foodbanks where many women can be found struggling to keep their children going. Representational female politics includes those who cannot fend for themselves and they would have greater concerns than the colour of the vehicle that politicians have come to visit them in. They may have an issue with politicians turning up in expensive limos to talk to them but the colour of the car? I don’t think so.