On Wednesday Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tweeted out an invitation to an event for women in Toronto.
The event, obviously a fundraiser at $250 a plate, was geared towards women who would like to get to know Trudeau and talk about issues facing women today — both in general and in politics it would seem from the sample questions scrawled on the invite.
The invitation that was tweeted out includes a checkered Andy Warhol-esque photo of Trudeau and carries the name “Justin Unplugged” in scribbly writing. The squares not occupied by Trudeau’s face ask some questions that give an impression of what the event would be like: What is the biggest issue facing women today? What’s your favourite virtue? Who are your real life heroes?
This prompted response from Huffington Post contributor Kathryn Marshall who criticised the event and called the picture “creepy, patronizing, and unbelievably ridiculous” to boot. (Scroll down to view the full invitation)
I’m sorry, are you upset that the leader of one of Canada’s three big political parties, a possible future Prime Minister, wants to offer his ear up to women and find out what they want out of life and government?
I’m sorry, is it not good enough for you to be invited to take part in a conversation that you can steer whichever way you please, be that policy or broader concepts?
I’m sorry, are you so gung-ho on getting offended that you need to pick apart even the photo used on the invitation?
Women have been ignored by so many people at so many levels for so long that it truly shocks me to see this opportunity for a male political leader to connect with and learn from women being thrown back in his face.
A politician is, surprisingly, inquiring about a little more of the lives of potential voters than what they think about low or high taxes. Virtues are important for leaders of all kinds, to see a leader asking what people appreciate shows that he is ready to assemble a team that reflects the values of all Canadians. The biggest issues that face women today could do with access to reproductive health, or proper natal care for native women in Canada, maybe the wage gap, or the number of female CEOs, or perhaps even government childcare and daycare services for parents who need to return to the workforce — to see a leader asking what these issues are shows that he is ready to take the right actions to protect our rights and freedoms as women and do more to help those who need it.
Would we not be offended if his campaign paid no attention to the unique issues and challenges that women in Canada face every day?
To the women who are offended by this, reserve your anger for the real creeps. Get angry about politicians like Rob Ford groping women without permission. Get angry about politicians in Saudi Arabia preventing women from driving cars. Get angry about the politicians in the US and Canada who try to restrict access to abortion.
Don’t waste your time in faux horror when someone asks you for your thoughts because the invitation doesn’t measure up to your standards and take an opportunity where an opportunity is given.
In the meantime, get over yourselves.