So I see the Otago Daily Times have done it again. They’re reported on the lack of inclusion of women in a list. This time it’s new street names from the Dunedin City Council, last time it was list of notable people (men) who helped shape Dunedin by a group of historians, published by the ODT.
Here’s the offending article, with the fantastic headline “Belated Gender Balance Bid” What they are trying to say is “Hey, we’ve learned from that time when there were no women on that list (and we pissed everyone off), we’re letting you know that we can do better this time!”
But what they actually say is: “Oh look no women on this list! But anyway here’s why the men deserve to deserve to be there.”
OH, WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE MEN!
Some of the men on that list are there because they lost sons in WW1. So what of those mothers that lost those same sons? Do they not deserve the same recognition? And what about the son, why is the father named instead of them?
Granted, the DCC have issued a statement reminding us that the list is only the first stage of the project and “the intention was always to add the names of other people, including women.” (But first let us focus on the men)
And oh no, it doesn’t end there. As pointed out in the article by Cr Jinty MacTavish, not only are women merely an after thought so to is anyone who isn’t a white dude. Dunedin’s history includes (and is by no means limited to) people from China and Lebanon. And what about the inclusion of Maori people? Can someone more knowledgeable please rage about this lack?
If naming streets after people is used as a method of acknowledging them or their achievements then it is misguided to constantly leave out people that aren’t old white men. The old excuse that women (or anyone else) didn't do anything of note is outdated thinking. As is the fact that these lists are structured in terms of men and women. But that's another rant entirely.
Sporadic rants of an angry queer feminist artist. Regular updates on Instagram