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Eleanor Bley Griffiths has published 25 articles

Union candidate promotes her assets before election

'Joke' draft manifesto sparks controversy
Eleanor Bley Griffiths on Thursday 1st March 2012
Photograph: Hannah Bond

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“This year’s three successive female presidents are tes­timony to the fact that the Union has moved far beyond outdated sexual stereotypes and it is deeply sadden­ing to see women objectifying them­selves in manifestos.”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.

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