The German Pirate Party Gender Debate: An outside view

Intro: I am not a member of the Pirate Party, nor of any other party. I briefly considered joining the PP, but changed my mind. I have not actively participated in said debate, and I've been following it casually rather than obsessively. Still, here's the impression it left me with:

The gender debate was a classic example of political conflict, where the participants hold very different beliefs, values and perceptions of what the world is like. What I expect from a good politician is that they can relate to their opponent on some level, accepting that just because someone doesn't agree with them doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong, hostile or just plain stupid. I expect them to understand that in a complex world, there are many valid experiences and many valid viewpoints, and that politics is about reaching an understanding between this multitude of positions.

What the Pirate Party (through many of its members, sympathizers and leading voices) exhibited, was pretty much the exact opposite of this ideal I just described. People who held a view not in concordance with the majority's were shot down, insulted, threatened with violence and publicly ridiculed. An environment where political conflict is handled in such a way is quite simply not a place for me. It recreates a major part of what sucks about established parties. Same old, same old, and far from progressive.
Note that all I've said so far is largely independent of what the debate was actually about.

Concerning the actual subject of the debate, it reminded me a lot of something Neal Stephenson wrote in "Snow Crash":
"It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists."


  1. Sadly you cannot know the backgrounds about this. While the debate about a (existing or not existing) gender problem is fully valid and important, two or three female pirates did provoke and needle the whole pirate party in germany since months without real arguments or senseful wishes and additionally did create a big problem about a little problem.

    Without the provoking, the existing problems would already have been resolved and the problem would be gone, but now the whole subject has been burned for good and just mentioning "Gendering" and similar things just lets all pirates just scream in pain.

    So the females that started this debate did hurt the pirate party, they hurt themselves and above all they did hurt the gender debate.

    If they would just commit that they overdid and they are sorry and start to discuss with real arguments, decribing the real problems and not only tell "we want to have our ownplaces, we don't want men amongst us, you men are all bad" then we could have a correct discussioin and a solution and voila: All fine again.

    These female pirates don't want this to happen, or they would already have started a real discussion and not only provocations. They only want something they can make some buzz with. They get attention from clasic media and that seems to feel good enough to hurt the pirate party for that.

  2. hey anonymous, did you read this? -> Note that all I've said so far is largely independent of what the debate was actually about.

  3. *word*

    I'm in a similar position as you (briefly considered joining, changed my mind) and my impressions of the gender debate (and of the bpt in general) are congruent. It's not their opinions which I can't bear, but their style of discussing. Excellent Stephenson quote, summarises it all.

  4. @anonymous

    If "just mentioning "Gendering" and similar things just lets all pirates just scream in pain" then this party is unfortunatly not right for me either.

    Grow up Pirates, please!
    I'll check back later.

  5. Fully agree with your point of view, except one small bit: "It recreates a major part of what sucks about established parties."

    We cannot judge every party in Germany, but those major and mature parties actually do have mechanisms to integrate those conflicting sides, which I appreciate.


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