Two years ago, many believed that electing Justin Trudeau as the Prime Minister of Canada was a fable.
The idea may even have seemed a little funny.
But it’s been two months since we did exactly that, and it would appear that the world is just a little bit obsessed.
Sure, Trudeau is making strides towards legalising cannabis. Of course, he made headlines when he said ‘It’s 2015, b*tch please, of course I want women in my cabinet’ (not a direct quote, but you get the idea).
But let’s just come out and say it. What the world seems most interested in is not what he says, but what he looks like while saying it.
We only have to look at Vogue’s photo shoot, which features the 43-year-old and wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau cozying up together, to see how powerful his image is. Their photographs have set tongues wagging all over the country (and beyond) in a piece entitled “Justin Trudeau Is the New Young Face of Canadian Politics.”
He may just be the new young hair of Canadian Politics too, but that’s by the by.
Mike Myers mentioned Canada’s “hunky” new PM on his SNL skit last weekend. Just weeks ago Justin was named by Vogue in their list of “10 unconventional alternatives to the sexiest man alive.” And wife Sophie is getting almost as much attention. She was dubbed “the hottest first lady in the world” by the New York Post in October.
But aren’t we objectifying him just a little? If Canada had elected an attractive, younger than average, female Prime Minister and proceeded to call her a babe the backlash would be tremendous.
It’s not just the picture we’re focusing on here. It’s also the language that’s used in the article. It reads more like an erotic novel than a political profile, with descriptions of the “strikingly young and wavy-haired” Prime Minister who is “dashing in his blue suit and jaunty brown shoes”.
At 43, Trudeau is not a boy running office. In fact Stephen Harper was just four years older than Trudeau when he became Prime Minister back in 2006. But Harper, more serious and shy of the limelight, is one of those people who seems to have been born old. In many ways, whoever came after him would seem youthful simply by comparison. (Elizabeth May, for instance, seems downright spritely when next to Harper.)
Couple this with an attractive wife and the background as a former actor, and suddenly the allure of Trudeau is complete. And while not quite hitting the movie star status of leader Ronald Reagan (Justin’s most famous role was in CBC TV Movie, The Great War) his resume is certainly a source of excitement for the media.
Vogue describes his look as a “stylistic riposte to the old world of boringly black-shoed politicians”.
But does high fashion belong in politics?
Well, it shouldn’t.
‘Cause we’re the first to complain when it seems like our leaders aren’t doing their jobs properly. Even as (we hope) the busiest man in the country, Trudeau still received flak for receiving two nannies, paid for by taxpayers. So should he be wasting his time standing in front of a wind machine in Vogue HQ as a runner fluffs up his wonderful hair and asks him to move just a little to the left?
Technically speaking no, he probably should not be.
But in reality we all want to romanticise. The world has never come close to the level of idolatry for leader and first lady that was reserved for JFK and Jackie. We’re pretty fond of Michelle and the kids, but Barack’s more cute dad than suave 60s sex appeal.
There is something about Trudeau though.
It could be the political dynasty that’s captured us. Perhaps it’s his youth. Or maybe it really is the hair. Either way, his charisma is tapping into something that people seem to need right now.
Of course, if he fails on his promises while in office it won’t matter what he looks like in a tuxedo. And it certainly won’t be an easy time to govern. So if he wants to pervade his youthful image, as Obama advised Justin when the pair met, he ought to simply start dying his famous locks grey rather than waiting for them to turn on their own.