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How has the light rail become a gender issue?
While I’ve long considered the conflation of over-development with public transportation as understandable, if unsound, I’m truly bamboozled as to just how the tram has become a symbol of the patriarchy.
I mean, I’ll grant that a train is slightly phallic in shape, and certainly when I’m looking for a sexual euphemism there is no better GIF than a caboose shooting through a tunnel … but by that argument I should also be raging against the aubergines.
And yet, on the social media page Send Light Rail South, the arguments posed by the anti-light rail opposition have been derailed by cries of sexism.
One commenter decried the high proportion of engagement from pro-light rail men as evidence of something more sinister, stating that the page was home to “young male aspirational train enthusiasts seeking relevance and validation through a faceless page cheered on by the bottom tier of this town.” And that they were following in the footsteps of certain controversial politicians dogged by sexual abuse scandals.
A tram lurking in Southport. Picture: Mike Batterham.
I mean, it’s bad enough that the light rail is blamed wholly and solely for over-development (witness the number of towers and lack of light rail in Palm Beach, versus the number of towers and presence of light rail in Parkwood), but now it’s a symbol of toxic masculinity?
Look, I say this not only as a fierce feminist but as someone who, while pro-light rail, has spent a lot of time listening to the arguments from the other side. I’ve met with them, interviewed them, tried to understand their concerns, and with some degree of success - although I remain firmly of the opinion that this city needs and deserves light rail.
From that somewhat sympathetic position I say: don’t destroy your argument with this red herring.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au
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