The Female Candidate and the Popularity Vote

by Isabele Riser

It is that glorious time of year again: invasive posters show up on the doors of the DC and disturb what was once a peaceful walk to the cafeteria. It’s the time when endless streams of BS trickle from the mouths of presidential candidates and gross amounts of bias leech into various forms of OES media.

In this particular stream of biased BS, I wanted to touch on the dynamics of the student elections again: what do gender roles and popularity have to do with our future Student Body President?

The answer is everything.

Most students are aware that the recent presidential debates this Monday have sparked some controversy around the level of hype that individual candidates (or, rather, an individual candidate) received.

To recap: When the candidates were each asked questions regarding the community, the campaign, and their potential future presidencies, one candidate was consistently applauded after nearly every one of his responses.

And by applause, I mean the type of obnoxious clapping and cheering that we typically at OES lacrosse games (Quarterfinals @ Lakeridge 7:00 Friday.)

When something this specific male candidate said resonated with the crowd, the response of the audience was fluid and almost immediate. About once or twice there was applause for the other male candidate, but despite both the female candidates making extremely articulate and accurate statements, the audience had little to no inclination to agree audibly or visibly. Why?

Here’s my theory.

The influence that this one particular (male) candidate has is incredibly widespread and rowdy. Daniel E. has a quiet demeanor, the dorm influence, big dreams, and plenty of loud friends. There’s nothing negative to be said about the Big Dreams campaign. Why is he getting so much support?

Is it because he’s a male candidate? Well…yes. Yes in the sense that the Daniel  has male ‘fans’ who are extremely passionate about his campaign-who are creating a lot of noise around his message; there’s nothing wrong with enthusiasm. But was the level and frequency of support appropriate and supportive for all the candidates? No.

That’s not to blame the avid supporters of this candidate for the unfair cheering. What happened during the debates was more of a ripple effect where Big D believers started up the cheering, and audience members subsequently expressed their agreement as a result.

Should we blame the male candidates themselves for the support they received during the debates? No. But in response to our infrequent and uncomfortable applause patterns: as a crowd member, this is another one of those moments where we should step back, and look at ourselves as an audience and examine our biases and how we are being influenced in that moment. Who was I clapping for? Who wasn’t I clapping for? Why did I clap?

My point is this.

What it ultimately comes down to is that when we vote on Friday, it’s our job to think about the candidate that we want to look at 10:00am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, to consider deeply the person whose voice we want to hear over the mic on the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.

AND (I cannot stress this part enough) it’s the candidate that YOU, YES YOU would feel most comfortable strolling up to and bringing up an issue with; the candidate that would try the hardest to do something about it.

And maybe that’s your homie, maybe it’s the person on the ballot you just happen to know the best, or maybe it’s the candidate that seems to know exactly what they’re doing-it truly depends on you.