Toronto’s teen mayoral candidate Morgan Baskin combatting sexist comments in serious campaign

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The #YesAllWomen campaign has entered the realm of Canadian politics.

The social media phenomenon — sparked by the mass murders in Santa Barbara at the hands of a 22-year old misogynist — has given women everywhere a forum to share stories about acts of violence, sexism and misogyny against them.

Toronto Mayoral candidate Morgan Baskin shared her story on Monday with a Tumblr compilation of messages from men hitting on her via her campaign Facebook and email accounts.

"I made the post because so many brave women were sharing their stories [as part of the #YesAllWomen campaign], and it's what I would have wanted a female politician to do if I wasn't one," Baskin, 18, told Yahoo Canada News in an email exchange.

"I also was sick of just putting up with that stuff in isolation. One or two can be brushed off, but at a certain point you stop feeling like a politician and start feeling like an object."

[ Related: #YesAllWomen movement overpowers shooter's ‘retribution’ ]

While most people on social media lauded Baskin for speaking out, there were some who chose to publicly challenge her.

Baskin — who retweeted some of the more inappropriate comments on her Twitter account — claims that she was "blindsided" by some of the negative responses.

"It says so much about why we have so few women in politics," she said.

"If I had known that today was going to happen before I signed the papers to run for Mayor I don't know if I would have signed them, and that makes me sad. I don't blame young women for not getting involved if this is what they have to look forward to."

[ Related on Yahoo Shine: You told us: #YesAllWomen isn’t the solution ]

Baskin is just the latest to highlight sexism in Canadian politics. Anecdotally, at least, it appears to be a problem that has worsened in recent years especially with the emergence of social media.

In 2013, B.C.-based communications specialist Diamond Isinger launched a website titled 'Madam Premier' chronicling sexist comments on Twitter, Facebook and online discussion boards about our country's female politicos.

Here's a sampling of some of those comments on Twitter:

"Just saw the new Christie Clark commercial on TV. If she's gonna embrace being a MILF she needs to pop open a few buttons on that shirt"

"@Kathleen_Wynne let's talk about your mental illness - being a lesbian tree hugger"

And from an online forum:

"Alberta Mayor Alison Redford is an aging, sexually frustrated old #$#%"

Is there any wonder why there aren't more female politicians? Really?

As for Baskin, she says she is going to stay in the race, being a voice for Toronto's youth while running on a "digital, green and global" platform.

"I made a choice to be a politician and that makes me a role model," she said.

"I need to continue to do my best with that responsibility, and that includes dealing with this the best way I can. I will to continue to fight for young people and the causes of young people including the right of women not to face this."

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