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Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s awkward rallying cry for Women’s Day

In calling on women to celebrate the men in their lives who are fighting for equal rights, Grégoire Trudeau sparked outrage, but she was on to something


 

This post first appeared at Chatelaine.

Yesterday, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau posted a picture of her and her husband, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, holding hands and gazing deeply into each other eyes (they do this a lot). The post suggested that to mark International Women’s Day, we should take a moment to celebrate … dudes?

“Are you ready to ignite change?” she wrote in the post. “This week, as we mark International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others. Take a picture holding hands with your male ally & share it on social media using the hashtag #TomorrowInHand. Together, we can create a movement that inspires more men to join the fight to build a better tomorrow with equal rights & opportunities for everyone… because #EqualityMatters.”

And then the Internet exploded, and the sound of millions of people slapping their foreheads in unison rang out from coast to coast.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau

Sarah Hagi at Vice wrote: “To celebrate International (Wo)Men’s Day, [Trudeau] suggests holding hands with your male ally (we’ve all got one!!) and share it on social media using a hashtag she literally made up . . . because without men — there would be no feminism!” And both BuzzFeed and Huffington Post rounded up the backlash the post earned on social media.

Internet, I get it. The public face of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is one of unending, unfiltered earnestness and to be honest, it makes me deeply uncomfortable — partly because it’s hard to untangle her particular brand of unbridled enthusiasm from straight-up naiveté, but mostly because, despite testimonials that “it’s really how she is!” I just don’t buy it. She has said, countless times, that “being real is not a strategy” — but I can’t shake the feeling that with every tone-deaf move she makes, she’s screwing with me. So when she posts a gag-inducing prom-photo-gone-wrong on Instagram, and pairs it with a ham-fisted rallying cry, it’s easy to light a match and call it a tire fire.

But take away the photo (seriously, throw it away) and ignore for a second her awkward turns of phrase. What’s left is a pretty simple ask — that while we’re focussed on women and women’s issues, we also take a minute to acknowledge the men and boys who are fighting for equal rights. That we value the work they do. That we recognize that without them, it will take a lot longer to close the pay gap, end violence against women, tackle massive infrastructure issues like a national daycare strategy and smash the myriad of glass ceilings that still exist, once and for all. That, to steal a phrase from someone all-to-familiar with that ceiling, we are stronger, together. That feminism should be inclusive. Are we sure that’s a message we want to let go up in smoke?

Yes, she could stand to fine-tune her delivery — maybe dial down the sincerity, just a titch. But a lot of the criticism yesterday was aimed squarely at the fact that she dared to mention the role men play in fighting for equality, on a day set aside to honour women. (“Can women just have ONE DAY without having to give cookies to men for being decent humans?” @ArielTroster tweeted. Several commenters on Instagram asked if the post was a joke. And Conservative MP Michelle Rempel tweeted: “I’ve never had to have my hand held. “). This kind of shouty, knee-jerk reaction contributes to feminism’s already wide-spread branding problem and threatens to widen the gap between the sexes, not close it.

Sophie posted this response to the backlash late last night: “Well, now we’re having a conversation! . . . Our goal is gender equality, and fighting for it is going to require men and women working together — raising our boys and girls to make a difference, hand-in-hand.” Instead of piling on, a better use of energy would be to hold her party — the one that trades on our proudly feminist PM — to account on the issues that matter. So while I won’t post a picture of my husband and I holding hands on Instagram today (or any day, ever), I will thank him for being a steadfast partner in the fight, and a fantastic role model for all the boys in his life. And I commend Sophie for doing the same, even if it has to be in her very Sophie way.


 

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s awkward rallying cry for Women’s Day

  1. I was disappointed to find this article on the Châtelaine website and here as well. Why? Simply because it really does not address the real issue at hand. The issue is not about how Sophie delivers her message or her level of sincerity…Sophie can do Sophie and I am fine with that. She can be optimistic and happy to be partnered with a feminist: great! But the content of her message is strongly heteronormative and does not feel inclusive nor intersectional. It feels…superficial and non transformative. She has the privilege of being heard…and she uses her very public platform by silencing extremely important issues. For example, while she is talking about holding hands with men, she is not talking about Indigenous women’s struggle to be heard in this country or how our justice system still fails women and alienates them in their efforts to be heard as legitimate and equal citizens. The editor thinks Sophie has a point…I think she missed her opportunity to make one.

  2. It wasn’t ‘awkward’….And women can’t do everything at once.

    • It was not awkward but just straight out stupid.

      • You forgot to explain the ‘how so’ part.

          • Saying something is ‘stupid’ is not an explanation.

          • Isa B. – Your critique is dead on. This was just a political boost for her husband. They should have asked someone with some real life experience….someone wise.

        • EmilyOne….ISA B, told you the problems with Sophie’s article. It was NOT inclusive. It was only aimed at heterosexual women in loving relationships with decent men. It left out every other woman on international women’s day. When a woman gets a platform like Sophie does, she should use it to include as many women as possible because there are very few women who are in loving heterosexual relationships with decent men who treat them with equality and hold their hands when they need it. If one wants to make a difference as a Prime Minister’s wife, one has to reach out to the reality of what life is for the majority of women not to a fantasy of what one wishes life was or describe what her own life is and make everyone else feel like sh*t about their own lives in comparison. The fact that you can’t see that shows you have a very low emotional IQ and so does Sophie. She is so busy going on about how great her own life is, she can’t see that women in this country are suffering and she sends a message, however unintentional that she doesn’t care or have a clue how to fix it.

          • Well if Sophie isn’t entitled to her ownopinion…..then neither are you.

            Bye

  3. Sophie does far better when she stays out of sight and off the stage.

      • Sophie and those should both disappear.

      • No-both burkas and Sophie should be gone.

        • Why….it doesn’t suit your majesty?

  4. Question for you Sophie….can you construct a sentence that includes these two words…”capitalism ” and “equality “. Seems to me there is plenty of evidence that society based on an economy instead of love is designed to fail simply because equality is the nemesis of capitalism. There is no gender issue, it’s a human failing.

    • Well capitalism can’t exist on it’s own. It needs something….or someone….to exploit.

      The US used slavery,

      • Capitalism is the reason you enjoy the quality of life you have in Canada. Try communism for a while.

        • No, it’s not. We don’t have capitalism

          • Your comment is absurd and inaccurate.

          • My comment was meant for Emylone who somehow thinks ´we don’t have capitalism’.

          • Isa B.

            No country in the world has capitalism….or communism for that matter.

        • Jerome who told you I enjoy anything about society based on economics or anything else instead of love ?
          Born in Canada in 1953…..in case my name confused you.

          • Never commented on anything you said. Mine were directed at Emily’s normal nonsense.

  5. Typical of the Laurentian Elite. Gregoire-Trudeau knows nothing about this issue. She was born, like her entitled husband, with a silver spoon in her mouth, never worked for a $ in her life. She will never know the plight of the poor, I dare her to move out of her elite kingdom and live one month, with her just as entitled children, in the same environment as the poor people of this county. She would not last a day. I am, sick to death of her and her ilk.

    • Why on earth would we want a poor person in the top position?

      Are you NDP?

      • Poor people tend to have had some real life experiences. They weren’t coddled by their parents. They have some excellent problem solving skills and coping skills. They have worked at many jobs. They know what it is to economize and prioritize. They know what it is to compromise. They aren’t afraid to go without. They have empathy for others who are poor and hungry because they have been there and they know all about financial insecurity. They know it isn’t a place they want to be and they can understand why others don’t want to be there either.

    • Instead of being so bitter why don’t you try to attain more? If you are happy with what you have and are ( which here in Canada is a great goal) why are you so damn jealous of what she has? She is not perfect but she is not to blame for her parents success. I dare you to accept we are what we make of ourselves and stop whining.

      • Jackie, you completely misunderstand if you think we are jealous of Sophie. Why would anyone be jealous of someone who isn’t smart enough to write an essay on International Women’s Day that empowers women? If your flag is an indication, you believe in Lesbian and gay marriage. Where in her essay, did it include Lesbian women holding hands with their partners? Where did it include women who raise children alone? Where were women who have been the victims of abuse and trauma and have no one to hold their hands? The essay was not about the power of being a woman. This year especially, when American elected a POTUS who said he grabs women by the pu$$y whenever feels like it and 3 million women protested world wide, women need to stand together. This year when one judge asked a woman who was sexually assaulted why she didn’t keep her knees closed and another judge stated that a woman so drunk she was found passed in cab could consent to sex, women need to stand together. 5 in 1000 sexual assaults get a positive result in court and Sophie talks about holding a man’s hand? She gets a voice. She gives it away. That is what the criticism is about.

        • ‘WOMEN NEED TO STAND TOGETHER’

          Which is why you are attacking Sophie?

          • You are so right and I shouldn’t have. I should have realized she isn’t capable of writing about anything other than her love affair with her husband.

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