Thank him tomorrow

Amidst the influx of #internationalwomensday posts on social media outlets this week meant to celebrate the accomplishments and plight of women past and present, one of Canada’s most visible woman, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, made a blunder.

Alongside other International Women’s Day-themed posts, Gregoire Trudeau posted a tone-deaf celebration of her husband’s feminism. 

Gregoire Trudeau called on Canadian women to post pictures of themselves with their “male allies” with the hashtag, #TomorrowInHand, both to celebrate their co-operation and thank them for their help. She posed for a picture of her and Prime Minister Trudeau, holding hands and lovingly looking at each other. 

Whether intentional or not, Gregoire Trudeau’s post perpetuates the myth that successful women must have a man to support them.

While male allyship is important, Gregoire Trudeau doesn’t need to hold her husband’s hand to be a successful political activist nor do her accomplishments rely on her husband’s power — but her post doesn’t convey this reality. 

Gregoire Trudeau’s work includes advocating against eating disorders, for the women’s Heart and Stroke association, for at-risk pregnant mothers and working with self-esteem campaigns. 

The work that Gregoire Trudeau does can stand on its own and for her to take credit for it would be a message to girls everywhere of what they can accomplish, even without male support or approval.

International Women’s Day comes once a year, and it’s meant to be focused on women. 

The point of the day is to educate and raise awareness of the issues women around the world face: access to education, child marriages, maternal health or female presence in leadership roles. It’s supposed to be a way to reflect on how far we’ve come and how much farther we need to go.

Men’s contributions to feminism and women’s issues are important. Men that support their daughter’s educations, advocate against campus rape or men who’re willing to take on the often-mocked title of a feminist should be recognized. 

I will always be thankful for those men, but I won’t pretend that their assistance should be the focal point on a day meant to celebrate women who fight against sexism worldwide. 

While Gregoire Trudeau likely didn’t intend to perpetuate the harmful belief that a woman’s success starts with men, she did so in the role of a public figure in Canadian politics. While I’m excited to see her continued work in bettering the lives of women across the world, we need to hold our public figures to a higher standard.

Sarah is The Journal’s Assistant Sports Editor. She’s a fourth-year Political Studies major. 

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