There are undoubtedly many households in which parents would prefer their child declare himself a satanist over a feminist. But you know who’s not afraid to wave his feminist flag? Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister—and featured player in my nightly dreams.
Even before assuming his country’s highest office in November of last year, Trudeau had been dropping F-bombs like crazy. It’s sort of become his thing. Now, after the ONE campaign, a global effort that seeks to end poverty and preventable disease, published a letter calling on world leaders to recognize poverty as a women’s issue, Trudeau replied this week with his typical feminist resolve. He boldly declared in his own letter that poverty “is a feminist issue.”
As soon as he entered the international spotlight in mid-2015 during his campaign for Prime Minister, Trudeau made a point of proudly and loudly asserting his feminism. (Even President Obama followed suit in a speech at the United State of Women Summit in June, helping to further the destigmatization.) So like any good feminist, I felt it was my duty to celebrate this vocal feminist by gathering all the times he’s referred to himself as such in the past year.
With one tweet, the future leader of Canada told the world this important (and downright sexy) piece of information about himself.
Right before our neighbors to the north elected him to office, Trudeau sat down with journalist Francine Pelletier, and she asked him a simple question: “Would you describe yourself as a feminist?”
He replied: “Yes. Yes, I am a feminist. I’m proud to be a feminist.” He added "My mom raised me to be a feminist. My father [former two-term prime minister Pierre Trudeau] raised me, he was a different generation, but he raised me to respect and defend everyone's rights, and I deeply grounded my own identity in that, and I am proud to say that I am a feminist."
2 Fast 2 Feminist.
Speaking at a session about gender equality, alongside Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Trudeau shared that his wife encouraged him to “take as much effort to talk to his [two] sons… about how he treats women and how he is going to grow up to be a feminist just like Dad.” Swoon. The leader, who also has one daughter, added: “We shouldn’t be afraid of the word 'feminist.' Men and women should use it to describe themselves any time they want.”
Four days before actual International Women’s Day, Trudeau appeared at a global town hall hosted by Huffington Post Canada. It was during this event that he said, “I myself am a feminist, and I believe that we need to make sure that we have pay equity and gender equality right across the board."
The prime minister achieved gender parity (50% men, 50% women) in his cabinet upon taking office, proving he practices what he preaches.
In an editorial for the The Globe and Mail written by Trudeau and published on International Women’s Day this year, the woke PM once again praised his mother for making him believe in the big F.
“I was fortunate to be raised by a mother who believed in feminism, and who chose to raise her sons to embrace feminist values,” he wrote. “I was fortunate to have a father who raised us to respect and defend everyone’s rights. Because of my parents, I am deeply grounded in my own identity as a proud feminist. My wife, Sophie, and I are raising our children with the same values.”
He went on: “We should not be afraid of the word feminism. Feminism is about equal rights and opportunities for men and women, about everyone having the same choices without facing discrimination based on gender. Equality is not a threat, it is an opportunity.”
This time, he really got fired up. “I’m going to keep saying, loud and clearly, that I am a feminist. Until it is met with a shrug,” he declared to the majority-female audience. “It shouldn’t be something that creates a reaction. It’s simply saying that I believe in the equality of men and women and that we still have an awful lot of work to do to get there. That’s like saying the sky is blue and the grass is green.”
If only it were really that simple!
In some meta-commentary, Trudeau asked the crowd: “Why, every time I say I’m a feminist, does the Twitterverse explode?” Short answer: Because it’s still a really big deal!
This time, Trudeau took to Snapchat to talk about his feminist point of view. In just eight seconds, he managed to completely take down mansplainers. "There's lots of things you can do to be a better feminist as a man," he explained in selfie mode, "but here's a simple one: don't interrupt women, and notice every time women get interrupted in conversation.”
Men, I hope you’re taking notes.
“Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere,” ONE's letter began. "While the debate around this truth rages everywhere, girls and women living in extreme poverty—those often hit hardest by the injustice of gender inequality—have been left out of the conversation. This must change. The fight for gender equity is global.”
In Trudeau’s letter, he made clear how seriously he takes this global issue, writing:
Thank you for the letter you sent to me on International Women’s Day and for calling on world leaders to recognize the indisputable link between gender inequality and extreme poverty. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am writing back to let you know that I wholeheartedly agree: Poverty is Sexist.
Women and girls are less likely to get an education, more likely to be impoverished, and face greater risk of disease and poor health. I am grateful to groups like ONE, who work toward ending extreme poverty and gender inequality around the world, while also holding global leaders accountable.
I accept your challenge to lead. As a feminist, I know that women must be treated equally everywhere. That is why, as one of my first actions as Prime Minister, I named a gender balanced Cabinet. It is my hope that this will set an example for governments around the world.
He added that Canada will be hosting the Global Fund replenishment conference in Montreal next month and reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately impacts adolescent women in Africa. The money Canada gives to this cause, he said, will help supply “more mosquito nets and medicine, and greater access to treatment and therapy, all of which will help the Global Fund meet its ultimate goal of saving an additional eight million lives and averting an additional 300 million new infections by 2019.”
What could possibly be more feminist than that?
Marisa Kabas is a Sex + Life reporter based in New York City. She loves baseball, bunnies and bagels.