Image: Wikimedia Commons
While it may be true that it’s highly unlikely Justin’s intelligence and actions will be ignored/criticized/called into judgment because of his looks that doesn’t give anyone free rein to objectify another human begin, regardless of gender.
Recently, Canada celebrated the voting in of our newest prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Immediately, memes and images began popping up everywhere lamenting how good-looking everyone thought he was. A boxer, avid practitioner of yoga, feminist, and family man, Justin is arguably one of the better-looking PMs we’ve had. He’s also as charismatic and appealing to the masses as his father, former PM Pierre Trudeau, was before him. And, I guess for these reasons, people think it’s OK to share photos of and talk excessively about how attractive/sexy/gorgeous/hot Justin Trudeau is without realizing that it’s sort of anti-feminist.
He’s more than just a pretty face. I’ll admit that the fanfare has caused people to dig into Trudeau’s past and come up with lovely gems like how he regularly visits mosques and happily and respectfully associates with its patrons, despite facing criticism. Or how he walked around the Montreal subway shaking hands and taking selfies with commuters. Not to mention the waves he’s already made as PM despite having been elected only a week ago, like finally investigating the 1,300+ missing or murdered Aboriginal women and appointing a gender-balanced cabinet. Basically, we’re finding out that Trudeau is an ally to all Canadians, regardless of their race, gender or religion. This is what we should be talking about before we talk about his hair, tattoo or fit body. His accomplishments shouldn’t be secondary to his looks.
It doesn’t matter that he’s a guy. Yes, it’s very different and rare to see a man’s looks being so highly scrutinized and have so many people gush about how “fuckable” he is. If he were an attractive woman and people talked about her this way, we would all be outraged and lamenting the evils of the patriarchy that encourages the objectification of women. But what a lot of us don’t realize is that the patriarchy also makes us think it’s OK to objectify men.
It’s a double-standard. While it may be true that it’s highly unlikely Justin’s intelligence and actions will be ignored/criticized/called into judgment because of his looks, that doesn’t give anyone free rein to objectify another human being, regardless of gender. The fact that we think it’s OK to do it to men because they have historically been in power and have made the objectification of women to be the norm is childish. Anyone who has been objectified, especially sexually, knows how uncomfortable and even humiliating it can be, so why would you ever want to make someone else feel that way?
It’s counter productive. Feminism is about bringing minority genders up to the same status as men so that everyone is equal. The way to do that is by empowering these minority genders, by giving them a voice, listening to them, supporting them, encouraging them, and being an ally to the cause. The way to not do it is by using the same tactics on men that they have used to oppress minority genders for centuries. An eye for an eye never solves anything, and instead of justifying being allowed to objectify a man just because men have objectify women for so long, we should be pointing out that no human should be treated as just a piece of ass.