This morning I opened my computer to find a really strange news headline in my Twitter feed — “Rona Ambrose takes swipe at Justin Trudeau alludes to him as female prime minister.”
Apparently, during a speech at last weekend’s federal conservative convention, interim leader Rose Ambrose made a speech about inclusivity within the political party. In this speech, she makes reference to a number of women who were “firsts” in their field. In this statement, she makes a very strange connection to the sitting Prime Minister of Canada.
“That’s why we’re the trailblazers. We’re the Party of the first female cabinet minister and first woman to serve as acting prime minister, the exceptional Ellen Fairclough.
That’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female foreign minister, the irrepressible Flora MacDonald.
That’s why we’re the Party of the first woman to lead the Official Opposition, the redoubtable Deb Grey.
And, of course, that’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female, you would think Justin Trudeau was this, but now, we had the first female prime minister, the Right Honourable Kim Campbell!
So I say to Justin Trudeau – who’s the feminist now?”
I’m not sure what the conservative interim leader was trying to do here. And I don’t know why I’m so offended. Was it because she was essentially calling our Prime Minister a woman? Was it because she inferred that, by being a man, Trudeau can’t be a feminist? Was it because I interpreted this statement as demeaning? Was it meant as an insult? If so, isn’t that a bit anti-feminist? If it wasn’t meant to be an insult, why was it even said? My questions continue.
The idea of political feminism has been thrown around a lot lately, by all parties in the federal, provincial, and municipal spheres. But, since when did it become a phrase to hurtle against your opponent with disdain? Since when was it used to de-masculinize someone?
Feminism is something we should all be proud of. All of the accomplishments listed above are not standings that should be overlooked. Each one of these women were amazing in their own way. But, the accomplishments happening right now are equally as important. Let’s not make fun of them by throwing gendered labels where they don’t belong. It just makes us all confused.