The problem with “be a man”

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author: everly reid | contributor

Jeremy Davis

Something I have recently noticed is that when people are insulting Justin Trudeau, they do it by accusing him of being feminine. I have many political differences with Prime Minister Trudeau; I do not mean to say that I support him or his government, and I do not intend for this to be an article in his defense. I do, however, think it is important to consider the language that we use when we are talking about Trudeau’s incompetence. Whenever I log into my Facebook page, there is no shortage of posts about how Trudeau is a woman because he cries – I see posts like this from people on the left and the right, and I see them from men and women alike. 

I understand that being emotional has not been something traditionally associated with being a good leader, but I, for one, think that compassion is a quality that is necessary for good leadership. People should be free to show their emotions without being insulted.  

There are probably more important things that we could be focusing on – there are so many issues that women deal with in their day-to-day lives, especially women of colour and 2SLGBTQIA+ women. But I think that the little things matter, too. It matters that people equate being powerful and intelligent with being male, and we should question that assumption. 

Last night I watched the video of protestors chanting for Trudeau to “be a man,” and it left me with a bad feeling that I was not able to get over. Trudeau has done things that many people disagree with, and if they feel that the best way to get their opinions across is to protest or to share an angry Facebook post, then that is what they should do. But too often, barely hidden in these posts are misogynistic ideas about what it means to be powerful and what it means to be a woman.  

When Justin Trudeau makes a decision they consider wrong, they say that he needs to “be a man” and make the right decision. The fact that these people think that it is insulting to be compared to a woman is very telling. It happens too often that when someone is considered a weak leader, they are called a girl or a woman. This is sexist, there is no nice way of putting that. I understand that people are angry; I understand that people feel let down by Prime Minister Trudeau. I, too, have felt let down by him. But it is 2019; say that you do not like his style of leadership, say that you feel that he has not done what he promised to do, say that you think that he is hurting the country, that’s fine, but when you use being a woman as an insult, it says a whole lot more about you than it does about him.  

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