You’re wondering what’s it with German Pirates and Gender on Twitter?

I’m such a dork. I just told @skud on Twitter that I’d blog about the Pirate Party’s latest gender trouble in English on DW. I forgot that I’m keeping my journal there under lock and key and a different nick.

Of course this is a “public” topic and thus it goes here. Actually it has already been here since last summer, but not in English.

Basically there’s currently a discussion with several groups, some of which aren’t really that separate:

a) a group of very feminist women (“Piratinnen”) who just founded a women- only mailinglist and pulled a rather impressive PR stunt about that

b) women who like the idea but absolutely despise the manner in which the first group acted as

– there are no closed lists for any groups as the party tries to be as open and transparent in their political work as possible. (At least one of the founders of the Piratinnen-group isn’t a member of the party – but has no qualms to use its openness to everyone to establish a closed forum.)

– the press release (a press release about a mailing list WTF?) left the impression that it was an official press release of the Pirate Party Berlin

– additionally there were interviews with journalists – among others Spiegel magazine, Germany’s equivalent to Time or Newsweek

– there are and have been at least 4 (!) different existing and working groups on the topics of gender equality, women’s and men’s issues etc. that the new group (consisting of whopping 4 women) chose neither to join nor to mention

– the press release claims that women within the party need a protected area. There are quite some women in the party who like to disagree. Especially as there are over 42% women in top positions of the party (they basically won all recent elections) while it’s fairly certain that the party doesn’t have an overall membership of 42 % women.

c) people from outside the party (often in connection with the Green party) who had already caused a lot of trouble during the last elections – and we’re having yet another election campain in some parts of Germany now – by claiming that the Pirate Party is misogynist and needs more political correctness and quotas and “-innen” (the suffix to signify female gender in German).

d) the usual name-calling trolls who will join any discussion

e) people who know that this discussion will generate a lot of bad press, frustration and hurt feelings – and thus will benefit other parties and hurt the the Pirates

I’m not sure if I forgot some factions, but if that’s the case I’ll eventually add them to the tally.

In short:

When I said that “My new fandom is a party” – I already had the nagging feeling that eventually it would prove to be “fandom_wank”-worthy.

From my experience the Pirate Party is by far the most friendly political environment I’ve ever encountered. Insofar that “we don’t care about gender” isn’t so far off the truth. However, “most friendly” does still include enough androzentrism to not call it “mission accomplished”.

In any case, the Pirate Party definitely isn’t misogynist and there’s no chance that open misogynist behaviour would be tolerated by basically any of men I’ve worked with. Still, there definitely is work to do: Like so many geek groups the party has a blind spot when it comes to androzentrism and male privilege.

Still, there’s no reason to assume that the topic can’t be addressed and/or that the male party members wouldn’t be open to the debate.

So yes, I’m mad at the Piratinnen as they left the impression that there’s huge  problem and that there’s no sensitivity for the issue.

Sorry, but I think it’s it’s just not on the very top of the agenda right now: this is the 3rd election campain in less than a year and it’s our first real chance to win seats in a parliament.

The women I know are busy writing election programs and working on the key topics of the party or the party structure itself (we grew far too fast in very short time).

The only time I’ve had time to discuss gender issues in the last two months was when we were editing leaflets and one of the male pirates asked whether we should replace all “Piraten” by “Piraten and Piratinnen” – and I was among the women who preferred the “Piraten” (which can be a somewhat gender neutral version of “pirate”) and use it loosely in combination with “Männer und Frauen” throughout the text, rendering it more readable. That “discussion” was in the early morning hours and the text was due a few hours later. Frankly, our main focus was definitely on the topic of the flyer and how to get it across.

Btw: Of course I would have preferred if the feminist women had used their energy to write up a draft for a press release and put it up for discussion (as we always do with all drafts) for a party-wide press release for March 8, to be issued via the proper channels and through our spokespersons instead of a “personal press release” that only made people mad.


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