If you think this article is a response to the Soton Tab ‘Fit Candidate’ article, you’re wrong. This is much worse. The response from students to that article gave me the confidence to publish this as I now believe that the vast majority want to face the minority that continue to try to see women as objects.
I knew campaigning would be tough, but I thought all of this was worth it for the opportunity of being Union President and getting to make the changes to SUSU that as a student I have always wanted for everyone. When I knew that I was the only female candidate for president I knew that gender would be a topic that would be discussed. I am sure that my gender is why some of the people who encouraged me to run did so, so that there would be at least one woman. I didn’t plan on making a big deal of it. In my eyes I am a candidate and I think that I would be the best person for the job of Union President. I didn’t make a fuss of all the questions being asked about why there was only one female candidate – by the way, it is not because women need to be encouraged by men to ‘want’ to run.
A number of candidates were out last night campaigning. I thought that a night out would be a good opportunity for me to meet and talk to a number of students: I didn’t think the reception would always be positive, but I expected to be treated equally. I met some really lovely people on my night and had loads of fun but there are some things that I want to point out that on reflection really weren’t right.
To the men that looked at my breasts not my face when I was talking – yes, I had writing on my t-shirt, but once you had read that my name was Laura there was no need to stare anymore. You weren’t doing it to the male candidates that spoke to you.
To those that asked what was better, my breasts or my manifesto: they aren’t two things that should ever be compared. You didn’t ask the male candidates if their cock or manifesto was best.
To the men that said that they would vote for me if they could motorboat me, I was so confused and shocked by these comments I think I ran away. No male candidates will have been asked to perform sexual favours for votes – maybe to buy a few drinks, but nothing on the same level.
To the man that actually placed his face in my breasts, I should have reported you: that was my one mistake of the evening. Instead, I shied away to the dancefloor where it was safer than talking to men about my presidential campaign.
I did not show offense to any of these activities. In fact, I was probably still smiling at you. But if you watched the CCTV back, you would see the smile on my face fade away as I realised that I had been reduced from a candidate to a sexual object.
If you have disagreed with the content of this article, you need to have a long hard look at yourself and think about the kind of person you are. If you believe that the sexual harassment of women is acceptable, then don’t vote for me, because I don’t want your vote.
Change needs to happen before I would allow another female to go through this kind of campaigning.