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3 Moments Where We Could've Used a Woman in the Mayoral Race

Here are some moments from the race so far that could have played out much differently if even one woman candidate was in the picture.

It feels like a lifetime ago that the city was besieged by an endless loop of Gloria Allred press conferences.

During that stretch, women were a mainstay in the spotlight in the worst way possible: as victims of sexual harassment.

Sara Libby on NewsThe mayoral race, which features an all-male cast of characters, has been pretty remarkable in that it’s mostly steered clear of the shameful situation that got us here in the first place.

Here are some moments from the race so far that could have played out much differently if even one woman candidate was in the picture.

The Fletcher Fixation

It might seem counterintuitive, but having a woman in the race could actually help avoid some of the creepy fixation on Nathan Fletcher’s appearance.

The idea that it’s unfair and sexist to focus on a woman candidate’s appearance is a no-brainer for most journalists. But that same concept is apparently harder to grasp in a field of all men – hence the nonstop inappropriate comments about Fletcher’s “good looks and Colgate smile.”

The most cringe-worthy example of this happened Wednesday, when 10 News’ Kimberly Hunt responded to Fletcher’s remark during a debate that he made good tips while working as a bartender with, “That’s not surprising, is it? I mean, look at this candidate.”

That’s not all that far off from Bob Filner telling a woman veteran, “You’re beautiful, and I can’t take my eyes off you.”

We tell little kids to “Look, don’t touch” – and we might need to institute a similar rule for journalists in this campaign: “Listen, don’t leer.”

Research has shown that fixating on a male candidate’s appearance doesn’t damage his prospects the way it does for a woman, but that doesn’t mean it’s useful, either.

Having a woman in the race might serve as a reminder to journalists who forget that gross fascinations with a candidate’s looks don’t have a place in any race.

‘No.’ ‘No.’ ‘No.’

Perhaps the closest the candidates have come to having an honest conversation about the circumstances that prompted this race was in answering this survey about sexual harassment.

Thankfully, each candidate says that no one has ever made a sexual harassment claim against him.

But there’s one very telling moment in each survey:

David Alvarez:

6. Have you ever experienced any kind of workplace harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination yourself? If yes, please explain the circumstances and what happened.

No.

Nathan Fletcher:

6. Have you ever experienced any kind of workplace harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination yourself? If yes, please explain the circumstances and what happened.

No.

Kevin Faulconer:

6. Have you ever experienced any kind of workplace harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination yourself? If yes, please explain the circumstances and what happened.

No.

Here’s the thing: Every woman I know has a story. Mine involves a coworker who sent me several months’ worth of disturbing, sexual text messages – enough to warrant police involvement.

With no woman in the race, we likely missed a crucial opportunity to hear firsthand about what these experiences are like from someone who’s actually been there.

Without hearing more about the toll sexual harassment can take on a person professionally and emotionally – and without forcing ourselves to face the consequences that can come from a lack of women at the table – we run the risk of quietly erasing the whole Filner episode from our memory without learning anything.

The Bro Photos (Brotos?)

A woman candidate would at least give us a visual change of pace from all-bro photos like these:

Photo via Kevin Faulconer Twitter feed
Photo via Kevin Faulconer Twitter feed
Image via Kevin Faulconer campaign
Image via Kevin Faulconer campaign

 


Optics aren’t everything. But these ones speak volumes about what kind of campaign it’s been.

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