A candidate for the position of Oxford Union Librarian sparked controversy with a ‘joke’ draft manifesto. Madeline Grant wrote in her manifesto, “I don’t hack, I just have a great rack.”
She added that she is “committed to helping members pull”, “got a hug’n’kiss from Johnny Depp”, and that she dated “a shady Japanese businessman for Union ball sponsorship.”
Grant responded to the controversy by altering the manifesto before the election. The amended manifesto for Librarian, which was sent out to all Union members, instead read, ‘I’m no hack; I’m just here for the craic.’ The draft manifesto had originally been posted on the Union noticeboard along with all other candidates’ manifestos.
Madeleine Grant commented, “I hope no-one is offended by my manifesto – it was only meant to be a lighthearted satire on an organisation which is often seen very seriously.”
The manifesto is certainly not unique in employing humour in a bid to attract support. Alexander Trafford’s manifesto for standing committee reads, “someone GREAT: vote for THE ALEXANDER,” while Helen Elmer promises that “you’ll be overwh-Elmer-ed.”
However, Grant’s simple rhyme has been attacked as inappropriate by some students. One Union member commented, “Whilst this manifesto is clearly meant to be humorous, it shows a distinct lack of judgement. It is disappointing to see female members of committee campaigning on the back of gender at all, let alone in a way which promotes the use of sexuality.
“The suggestion that anyone should be voted in on such a basis is deeply offensive to both male and female voters and is also very damaging to the perception of the women associated with the Union.”
She continued, “This year’s three successive female presidents are testimony to the fact that the Union has moved far beyond outdated sexual stereotypes and it is deeply saddening to see women objectifying themselves in manifestos.”
Hertford student Tom Fleming agreed, arguing that the manifesto “objectifies women”.
Grant pledged to “make the Union less rubbish” if chosen to be Librarian-Elect.