germany’s Pirate Party is an issue I try to steer clear of because, you know, eeew…
There is a whole cluster of cringe-worthiness surrounding the Pirates, but the latest example would be again one of… let’s say… gender insensitivity (read: misogynistic assholery). Apparently, the Pirates are now in the middle of a discussion whether gender quotas/affirmative action is totally discriminatory towards men* in their happy post-gender world (that results in new record lows of women* in positions of relative influence and a superb 13.3 per cent of female* members in Berlin’s parliamentary Pirate group) or not.
In case you haven’t heard, the official name for gender quotas, according to one of the Pirate Party’s members of Berlin’s Senate, Gerwald Claus-Brunner, should be (*drum roll*) “Tits Bonus”.
He has now apologized for using this “inappropriate” and “sexist” term and for possibly offending or discriminating against anyone, and is now of the belief that the debate regarding gender quotas in his party is of importance.
Obviously, Gerwald’s grovelling to all the angry bonus tits (…you might call them “women*”) cannot be tolerated – and he’s facing some intra-party criticism for calling his prior evaluation of women’s biggest assets “sexist”.
Stephan V. believes that the expression wasn’t sexist, since expressions can never be anything; putting “tits bonus” in context, however, makes it kinda problematic, because it implied something along the lines of taking advantage. Uttering “bonus” was much more offensive than combining it with “tits”, Stephan V. muses on.
Oppi, on the other hand, thinks this massive ball shrinking exercise has gone on long enough: he asserts that Facts (TM) could never be an insult or discrimination, and what else than preferential treatment (of the tits) would a gender quota be? He gets quite worked up over the fact that he thought the Pirate Party was different from established politics (…you’re dead on there, Oppi – your female* participation levels are even more abysmal!), and that the place where Gerwald had mused about female body parts and privilege, Twitter, was so very informal that the backlash he was facing now was completely blown out of proportion. Even more, Oppi thinks that at least one side of the debate, maybe two, but really one (= women*) were so emotionally invested in this, that they are actually trying to insert a level of reflection, and debate about how people frame and talk about gender issues into the whole thing. That, obviously, was very distracting from the actual issue (tits talk?), and shed a bad light on people who are in need of such dirty “tricks”, since the “tits bonus” folks simply have the “better factual arguments”. Finally, Oppi votes for disregarding these criticisms with “superior ease”, and thinks apologizing is really silly.
1. It is wonderful that Gerwald said “Tits Bonus” when referring to affirmative action/gender quotas, because he said (or rather wrote) what many Pirates apparently think. It’s wonderfully clearly objectifying and degrading, it shows how some Pirates actually view women* (or should I say: the assembly of body parts that gives them boners), and it shows that some Pirates believe that women* either have nothing else to show or deserve recognition for than sexualized body parts, have to rely on said body parts to get things done, or really should do so. Because if women* were granted less discrimination without showing some cleavage, what’s the fucking point (…literally)?
2. Some Pirates continue to show an astonishing lack of comprehension regarding discriminatory structures and its inherent tie to language. Stephan V. seems to be unaware of the fact that no expression is free of context and history, and while he thinks that “tits” is a perfectly fine way to talk about vagina issues (whoops! i mean: gender issues, but, you know… whatever, just words, right?) and “bonus” is far worse, the mere tie of “tits” to gender quotas is more than enough to show the underlying attitude people take towards women* in their midst. I guess Stephan V. would also find the N-Word and a couple of other things totally fine – but the simple problem about that is: Stephan V. and his tits-talkers are part of a discriminatory social structure that grants them certain privileges that “tits”-carriers don’t have, that N-word classified people don’t have, and that othered and distinctly classified people don’t have. What makes language discriminating or hurtful to people is not yours to decide, dear Stephan, but actually the prerogative of people who have been discriminated against with the help of, through and because of such words. The context and history of language is ever-present, no matter if you are aware of it or not. Some people don’t have the luxury of forgetting.
3. Affirmative action / gender quotas are not preferential treatment. Affirmative action / gender quotas are, in fact, measures to cut back preferential treatment – namely the unearned privileges white, heterosexual, able-bodied cis-men have come to enjoy during the past centuries; a fact that is happily forgotten by those who claim sole authority over “facts” and “truth” and “universality”, when it is actually just your peculiar point of view that, thanks to your skin color and gender, for example, has been constructed as an alleged default. That fact that Oppi is so adamantly opposed to inserting a “meta level” into the debate is a very unsubtle sign of the underlying uneasiness with which he tries to hold on to the “universality”-claim of his privileges; and Oppi’s insistence that “sovereign” people should not apologize to their inferiors makes things even more transparent.
“Tits Bonus” – just when you thought the Pirate Party could not reach new lows. But every time you think it has hit rock bottom, some of them start talking again. The fact that the Pirate Party is successful in certain circles does not make their approaches right. It is more of a sign of total ignorance, and “tits bonus” is a kind reminder of that. Eeew.
Update: Here’s a great Tumblr, “Bedauerliche Einzelfälle”, that collects all the unfortunate “incidents” Pirates have caused.