His name sounds like a Belgian praline stuffed with nougat, he looks like Mr. Darcy reloaded, plus: he is Canada’s new prime minister. And when being asked for the reason of his gender-balanced cabinet, Justin Trudeau gave an answer so smashing, so badass, it was just blowing one off one’s seat: “Because it is 2015.”
When first watching that sequel on Youtube, my predictable reaction was something like: Yeeeeeessssss Justin!!!!! Go girl!!!! But then, a few seconds later, another thought sneaked in. Justin Trudeau is not a girl.
Justin Trudeau is a man, who sucked power with his mother’s milk and his body language, his facial expression, the self-evidence of his reaction, its boldness all bespeak of just that: pure self-confidence and power. It surrounds him like a gloriole, it is just there, and so the more present and effective in its obvious, shameless effortlessness: Hi, my name is Justin, and I am very, very, very comfortable in my skin. I do not try to look confident, I am confident. I am not performing “prime minister,” I am prime minister, naturally.
So, there is a certain awkwardness at work here: We are applauding Justin Trudeau for ridiculing the (female) journalist’s question and presenting gender-equality as a simple evolutionary type of thing – “we are in 2015 now, and this is what we do, just like that, no further comment needed.” Yet we are applauding someone, who himself is the product of a system, in which gender (next to class and race) absolutely does determine the paths you are able to walk on, and choose from. Let’s just pin down that Justin Trudeau is not only prime minister, but also the son of a prime minister. He is, indeed, prime minister by force of “evolution.” But the women in his cabinet are not. It is not natural that they are there – their existence is not the result of an evolution, but of a revolution – a slightly different kind of thing. And it is not Justin Trudeau, but women, who fought, fight, and still pay the price in a system that gave birth to Trudeau, that is, a system, that determines the accessibility of knowledge and the distribution of power up to this very day. Or otherwise it was not the son of a prime minister, who is smiling at us from that little speaker’s desk as prime minister.
Thus, Justin and me had to break up after a couple of days only. Justin said: “I am here, not because I am a rich kid son of a f*** powerful man, but because it is 2015, and I am the one, who best fits into 2015 by virtue of my advanced gender politics.” I tried to explain him, gently at first, that he should not invoke a ladder of cultural evolution and legitimize his belonging to the ladder’s top with his half-female-cabinet. I told him, with patience, that the women in his cabinet do not challenge, but testify to his power. And then, eventually, I lost my temper, became hysteric, and shouted at him: “We want it all, Justin, your job, too. Justin, you have to leave!”
But that far he really didn’t want to go. So he turned around, swung his jacket over his shoulder, and added with a smile: “But it is 2015, honey!”