Is it Ok to Objectify The Right Honourable Hotness Justin Trudeau? Your Definitive Reading List

Photo: The Globe and Mail

Photo: The Globe and Mail

Canada’s liberal, boxing, strip-teasing new PM,” that “smoking-hot syrupy fox,”  the “square-jawed, 43-year-old, strip-teasing, Canadian could be “the product of a drunken hot-tub encounter between Tom Cruise and Ken Marino.”

To quote the illustrious Tabatha Southey (to whom the first line of this piece is an homage to celebrate her own brilliant take on the matter), “For heaven’s sake, world, take a cold shower – headlines aren’t meant to heave.”

Or are they?  Is it ok to sexually objectify incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?  We at Elle Beaver love a good debate. A good street fight, where you put up your dukes and argue your point or lack thereof.  And to prime your brain on this nationally urgent debate, we bring you a helpful reading list that will inform your thinking.

But first, a satirical time-out from The Beaverton to set the stage:

“Obviously this isn’t the way I envisioned starting a new job,” explained Trudeau, “But I can’t work like this. Everywhere I go, women keep calling me names like ‘The PMILF,’ telling me to smile more, and yelling things like “show us your abs!” This morning, Marc Garneau and Bill Blair had a 45-minute conversation about how fuckable I am.  In my office.  Right in front me.”

Justin Trudeau shows off his Movember moustache in Ottawa, November 30, 2011. Photo: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen

Justin Trudeau shows off his Movember moustache in Ottawa, November 30, 2011. Photo: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen

And now, for the “Yes, we can!” camp.

Angelina Chapin argued for The Ottawa Citizen, “When men comment on a woman’s appearance, their words come loaded with centuries of discrimination and sexual violence. (…) But until we invent that time machine, objectification of the sexes will never be equal. My guess is that, in the meantime, Trudeau can deal with the praise.”

For Rabble, Elizabeth Picket and Meghan Murphy pointed to JFK and Bill Clinton as examples to argue that there’s hardly anything harmful to men and to Trudeau in arguing his hotness, writing “Within racist patriarchal capitalism, it is men who have power. So when their sexuality is brought to the fore, the resulting constellation is actually more powerful, not less. They aren’t seen as their sex only (and men’s sexualities are not intricately connected to their subordinate status, as women’s are), but as whole persons whose sexual charisma enhances their power.”

But it was feminist arguments put forward by A DUDE, Elamin Abdelmahmoud at Buzzfeed, that most succinctly captured the notion of men’s power:  “Because power structures.” *mic dropped* (No literally, he used a GIF of The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams dropping a mic.)

Or, wait! Is this the definitive argument against the double-standard, from activist and advocate Julie Lalonde,

*Strokes chin thoughtfully*

In the “Hellz no!” camp, Chatelaine set the stage by asking if we’re allowed to say that Justin Trudeau is “a total BABE.”  “Is there a double standard here?” writes Sarah Boesveld.  “If our future prime minister were a woman, we would be outraged if the media were focused on how attractive she was. So is it unfair, degrading or maybe even sexist to publicly lust after Trudeau?”

Boesveld goes on to quote an insightful exchange between The Globe and Mail’s Elizabeth Renzetti and American ‘Bad Feminist’ Roxanne Gay.

Lauren Messervey at HuffPost goes further on what Gay called a “false equivalent” of a double standard, writing, “I’m about to say something that no feminist will want to admit – there IS a double standard. We think that men can handle this kind of behaviour. They’re big boys, they can take the objectification, it’s not a big deal, we’re only admiring their beauty, they probably love the attention… and do you see what’s happening right now?”


Photo: Paul Chiasson, Canadian Press

The Hamilton Spectator’s Cheryl Stepan brought up the issue of ‘mixed messages,’ condemning a culture that permits double standards, writing “We do not want to give mixed messages to the misogynists of the world who will mistake our swooning over Trudeau for acceptance of this kind of behaviour.” (note: this last argument feels like we’re shifting the blame to victims).

I can’t pretend I have the answer (though I have leanings towards the “Yes, We Can!” camp).  But I suppose I’m troubled by our gushiness over The Right Honourable Hotness because he has just been subjected to an electoral campaign where, as Margaret Atwood explained, Trudeau was girlified:

Women will recognize “Nice hair” as a pickup line, so I suppose addressing it to a political opponent is a way of girlifying him: the Conservative ad-writers would see girlification as inherently demeaning, their view of girls and women being what it is.

Trudeau + flowing locks = a girl. And the lady folk can’t rule, amiright?  As I wrote last month, “The sub-text: Trudeau is a pretty girl. And who wants to vote for a GIRL?”

So aside from Trudeau’s sex appeal, let us agree to this: the more Trudeau makes tough decisions for our country, alienating segments of voters who had such high hopes in him, the less attractive he will become.

So what do you think?  Is Justin Trudeau’s hotness fair game?  Or do you really think there’s a double-standard at play?  Share your views in the comments section – we can’t wait to read from you.

You might also be interested in…

How Fast/When/How Will Justin Trudeau Deliver On His Election Promises?
Best and Worst of #Elxn42 – The Blooper Reel

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