Sophie Gregoire Trudeau: Too Confident, Would Be More Likable If She Had No Self-Esteem

Dislcaimer: This was originally going to be a handful of tweets, but there ended up being too many. I’ve literally done zero research, so it’s all a combination of opinion and things I remember from recent media hullabaloos about SGT. 

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau seems to possess the ability that all wives of famous-for-being-handsome powerful political figures seem to possess*. The ability to unfailingly piss off a large portion of the general public by trying her best to survive the barbed and gendered targeting of the media against her.

There’s nothing like being the wife of a political leader to bring out the internalized (and explicit) misogyny in CBC Facebook commenters.

Since before the election of Justin Trudeau in October 2015, Sophie has been in the media’s spotlight–at first largely for her fashion choices. It seemed like the media was looking for a Canadian Kate Middleton; they wanted to fondly envy/critique her clothes and make little jealous jabs about her heartthrob husband. There was some buzz about her charity work and her feminism, but it mostly about how hot a couple her and Justin make.

Of course, as soon as SGT started doing things other than wearing nice clothes, the good ole internet commenters popped up to remind everyone that wives of political figures ought to be policed for their every action.

Using nannies, requiring more staff, singing at certain events are all things that can be critiqued, and those critiques can be critiqued.

SGT is by no means perfect, and no one is letting her forget that.

Heaven forbid that a public female figure think she’s capable of anything other than mistakes.

So when Sophie stood up at the Press Gallery dinner and sang a tongue-in-cheek song about those things that the media and public won’t let her forget–nannies, extra staff, singing, and attention-seeking–at the same event where Justin Trudeau implied Obama gives him wedgies and Tom Mulcair gave zero fucks, you can guess whose joke received the least online appreciation.

People are generally unforgiving when women attempt humour at public events. Humour is for men. Women who attempt to be funny (especially about themselves) are just desperate and want to be perceived as likable. Obviously.

What did surprise me was this comment, posted by a woman on the above Facebook post of a CBC article about the Press Gallery dinner, paired with a video of Sophie’s singing:

This one has too much confidence & someone please cut those puppet strings. I remember the P Trudeau days & Margaret [**] was all about getting attention as well. Need to tone things down a bit…

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang via the Star

If you scroll through the comments, a fair share of them lean on the side of “oh look what an annoying, attention-seeking emotional lady human ugh get her out of my royal sight.”

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is a person with a lot of traits. Because she’s a human. She makes mistakes and has flaws and can be thoughtfully critiqued from political/feminist standpoints.

Being a woman who is “too confident” is not a flaw. I’m not even sure it’s possible for a woman to be too confident. I’m not even confident posting this on my teeny corner of the internet.

Thanks to our friend the patriarchy and its super fun binary gender system, there’s a lot of things one has to have/do/be to be accepted by ~*society*~ as a Successful Woman.

You have to be beautiful, intelligent, composed (no one like a hysterical woman), friendly (to everyone including the media), socially aware wives and mothers who make the best decisions to personally and independently care for their husband and children while maintaining some sort of career.

It’s easier when you’re a middle/upper class able-bodied white cis lady who’s married to the most politically powerful dude in Canada, of course, but there’s still a lot on that list you gotta fulfill to be a Successful Woman.

When you’re also the wife of an important white dude, if the patriarchy thinks you messed up, you get a nice big spread in some national newspaper/newscast/news oulet for evverrrryyoonnneee to see and weigh in on.

Being a woman is hard enough in a system that devalues femininity, and it’s a bajillion times harder for many marginalized women in ways that it isn’t for people like Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.

Anyone who either is a woman, knows a woman, or has watched a Dove commercial knows that confidence and self-esteem in girls plummets when she hits puberty and enters into the arena of patriarchy-policed expectations of womanhood.

Confidence in women is often construed as bossy, bitchy, attention-seeking, shrill, or fake. SGT and other women who are public political figures–the women who appear to have the most confidence–face criticism for their actions and words in ways that imply that confidence in women is impossible without doing it wrong.

So Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has confidence. That’s worth something. She’s setting an example for girls and young women that confidence is strength and humour and that it can be used to mock the patriarchal and capitalist media that devalues women on a daily basis.

She is able to use her confidence to survive the public, political life she shares with her husband and children. The fact that she sung a song about the media making fun of her singing is not only funny, but super gutsy.

sophie-1.jpg.size.custom.crop.850x567
Cliff Owen via the Star

Like the laughter of women is hugely political and important, the confidence of women is political and important.

SGT is not perfect in her role as a human. She is not a perfect feminist. She is not a perfect anything, because that’s how our horrifying species works.

But she is confident, and confidence is one of the many, many things women should not be tearing down each other over. Women have yet to receive the gift of too much confidence, so in the meantime, appreciate her sassy-ass parody of the version of herself that the media/CBC Facebook commenters believe her to be.

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Greogire Trudeau
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang via Huffington Post

*Margaret Trudeau, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Sarah Ferguson, ’90s Hilary Clinton

**I’m super interested in the constant comparisons between the mothers and wives of political figures (Margaret Trudeau/Sophie Grégoire Trudeau; Princess Diana/Kate Middleton) in terms of their relationship with the media. SGT has received a lot of “like mother-in-law like daughter-in-law” comments for being attention-seeking, vain, embarrassing, much like the comments Margaret Trudeau received during and after her marriage to Pierre Eliot Trudeau. If you find any articles about this, please send them to me!

Country mouse in the city

Country mice, my brothers and sisters.

Having spent the entirety of my life surrounded by woods, fields, golden rod, and camouflage and/or plaid shirts, the jump from rural Nova Scotia to Halifax has been a bit of a culture shock. Where are the barns? Where are the farmers? And what are these “crosswalks” you speak of? Thai food? You can get that here?

There are so many people.

People everywhere.

(Shut up, I know Halifax is a small city.)

It’s different here.

I’ve interacted with more strangers in a month than I have in my entire life. I’ve met a bajillion people, some of them on the bus (s/o to the lady who bid me good day), some of them on campus (day students represent), and some of them around the city as I walk from bus stop to bus stop (s/o to the Newfoundland couple who waited forever with me).

 

Everyone is busy, walking fast with purpose behind their smartphones and really cool sunglasses. There are so many young people. I’ve never seen so many people between the ages of 18 and 26. Everyone is attractive and hip and apparently we’re heading back to the late 1990s/early 2000s in fashion (I’m not sure how I feel about that). All hail grungy band t-shirts.

No one here wears camouflage. No one. It’s bizarre. The ratio of camo-to-plaid-to regular clothing in my hometown is something along the lines of 23:15:2.

Kids in the city walk to their bus stops by themselves without fear of being mugged or stolen (country students like me are scared of walking by ourselves in daylight because someone is obviously going to steal a fully-grown adult in a street with 100 witnesses).

The houses are extremely close together. People don’t have yards. (Growing up in the literal woods, this is weird for me to grasp.) The air smells like fast food, car exhaust, and butted out cigarettes.

I miss the smell of golden rod and asters and the earth exposed when corn crops are harvested. I miss the smell of fresh lumber and the woodstove.

flowers
At my country home I have a field of wilde flowers in my backyard. #oscarwildepuns

Buses.

Buses suck.

(If you follow me on Twitter you’ve no doubt been made aware of this).

Until I moved to Halifax, I have only been on a public bus once, when I was little and my cousins took me to the Discovery Centre. Let me describe to you what it’s like to take the bus from the perspective of someone who grew up isolated from civilization.

It’s a giant metal tube full of suspiciously oozy smells that may or may not be wafting from the dozens of people crammed into it. You have to sit next to people (touch them) who in the worse cases, smell like they’ve never showered and sing to themselves, and in the best cases smell nice, leave you alone, and don’t make shifty eye contact (also sometimes the gods are nice and you sit next to an attractive guy with a beard and a lunch box and he gets off at the same stop as you). If you’re terribly unlucky, you sit in a wet seat (sometimes on a day when it hasn’t rained in a week) or have to stand and hold onto those sticky yellow poles for dear life.

Some bus drivers are cranky. Some are hopelessly friendly and I want their energy. At least one of them looks like Stanley Tucci.

You also have to pay attention to where you are, because you’re brand-spanking new to the city and you know nothing, Jon Snow. Google Maps is your lifeline. You sweat (partly from being in a nerve-wracking tuna can, but also because what if you end up in New Brunswick by accident???). You have to decide how early to pull the slimy string-thing — too early or late and you’ll be walking. Then you have to figure out how the doors open. Some of them open for you, others you have to wave idiotically at, and others you have to push like the little brother you never had.

Buses are always either super late so you have to allow an extra 45 minutes before class just to ensure you’re there on time, or they are super early, so you miss it and have to wait for the next one. Goddammit guys, make up your mind.

Also, traffic. In the country traffic consists of two cars, three trucks, and a tractor (sometimes with a manure spreader).

Giant stone columns are a very pretty trend here. Stone columns are VERY Fall/Winter 2014.
Giant stone columns are a very pretty trend here. Stone columns are VERY Fall/Winter 2014.

Don’t get me wrong. Halifax is pretty cool. Walking downtown makes me crave to see it as it was 100, 150, 200 years ago when everyone wore top hats and the harbour was full of tall ships and you could buy candy for like a penny.

I love the contrast between 100-year-old buildings with stone Grecian-esque pillars and the blue-glass office towers next to them, and the old townhouses with chipped pink shingles like a ruined manicure next to that. There’s so much history and culture, both old and modern.

Art is a thing here. It’s everywhere. Festivals and random sales on the sides of the roads and poetry readings.

I can walk two minutes and buy a coffee, something I could never do before. The fact that there’s so many shops, businesses, and general PLACES is still overwhelming.

I’m going to university with people who share my interests and love of learning. My professors are amazing and so deeply intelligent I just kind of sit through lecture with my jaw on the floor, drooling on the notes I should be taking. My mind is in a perpetual state of blown-ness.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “The country is cool, but you can’t spontaneously buy $8.00 cheesecake there.”

Have any of you made the leap from rural to city life?

libby rambles about feelings with gifs

**this is not my typical type of blog post. you are now entering at your own risk into a zone of experimentation and sleep deprivation**

 

 

 

 

i should really be in bed right now, i really should, because i have to get up in the morning like most people and do things like most people and you know, just be a person, because that’s important.

but i also have this nice little piece of the internet with my name on it, and it’s here for me to use, so here i am, flirting with midnight like the saucy rebel i always knew i could be. see this lack of capitalization? total rebel.

i’m going to take some creative licence with my tiredness and ramble on more than i usually would, because usually i like my online presence to be somewhat dignified, or at least controlled ridiculousness — but i am far from dignified or controlled right now, and that’s okay.

high school is done, which hasn’t really hit me yet. i finished my last exam, harassed people into signing my yearbook, and kind-of-celebrated by sleeping in on a friday morning, wherein followed a whole lot of loud music in an empty house whilst wearing a ginormous knitted sweater. because that’s an important detail here.

i’m done. well, not really. there’s still other high school graduate-related things to do, like prom, graduation itself, safe grad, and of course, avoiding all the parties the Class of 2014 will be (and is currently) partaking in. i’m figuring out what life will be like without going to the same building five days a week for the majority of that day. friends will be moving on, i’ll be moving on, new friendships will be attempted, i’ll need to learn how public transit works pretty soon, i need to make actual life decisions, and i can’t decide what is the scariest out of those five things.

i’m in an anxious state of nerves, angst, excitement, and frankly, exasperation. i’m on edge. this isn’t how graduation is supposed to work. i’m supposed to be standing in the sun roof of a car going through a tunnel, screaming about being infinite and such. or maybe i’m getting that mixed up with something else.

this frustration is aggravating. i hate being frustrated. i’m a firm believer that personal happiness is more or less the main goal in life. i’m the type of person who tries to be happy even when maybe i’m not. i’m the type of person who wants everyone to be happy with themselves, even if i really dislike them as a person. happyhappyhappy. be happy dammit. i know happiness is more complicated than just deciding to be happy, but help yourself out. you’re the only person you have left when everyone else has gone home.

 

ordinarily i like to identify myself as a pretty self-confident person, and i retain that sense of self. just, i’m kind of drowning here. not drowning to the point of certain death, just enough water to fill my lungs that it makes breathing more difficult than it should be.

so between trying to find a job, preparing for prom/graduation, searching for the reason of my existence, and resisting the urge to fan-tweet Phillip Phillips, things are a little chaotic under this total serene image of utter calm.

i am 100% okay, and so is everyone else, they just don’t know it yet. there are bigger things we’ll encounter later that make post-graduation feelings of anger seem like kittens playing in really soft toilet paper.

so i’m okay. i’m excellent. and so are you. time for bed now.

good night.

 

 

Wanted: Muse

i’m not in love

but i’m not heartbroken

i’m not lost

but i’m not found

i’m not bored

but i’m missing something wondrous

i’m not empty

but i’m not inspired

i’m searching

but i haven’t found it yet

wanted: muse

audrey-hepburn-mark-shaw-5
Audrey, be my muse?

Okay so hey guys. I feel like I haven’t blogged in a while…but I’ll be back with some actual non-poetry things eventually. I’m working on a new small project, and some littler ones. I plan on e-publishing a few of my short stories this summer, so stay tuned! 🙂

Art is Seriously Messed Up

Art is seriously messed up. Smearing pigments across canvas, smudging charcoal on paper, sewing stitches into fabric to create a unique something, carving out chunks of wood or stone to make a likeness of someone or something that maybe never existed. Blowing into a brass tube with holes cut into it, or plucking strings on a wooden vessel to create notes to create something called music, shaping white-hot metal and gluing broken pottery together.

It can be realistic, it can be disgusting, it can be heartbreaking, it can make you laugh. It can be the most unrealistic, otherworldly thing you’ve ever laid eyes on. It can be like looking into a mirror. It can be like looking into every curve and whisper of the human mind and soul. It can be confusing, it can make no sense, it can have absolutely no purpose, rhyme, or reason.

What I think is beautiful you might think is ugly. What you find beautiful I might find repulsive.

It’s messed up, art is.

Art is waking up at three a.m. with an idea, and stumbling out of bed and smashing into the wall because you can’t find the light switch. It’s not being able to find a pen or pencil, and so you write a poem with a crayon on a napkin from the floor of your car. It’s giggling maniacally at what will surely be a masterpiece or slamming your fist in frustration because this isn’t what you wanted. It’s pulling out your hair and drinking obscene amounts of coffee and tea and spending days locked in your house wearing pajamas. Art is quiet and slow and rolling and honest. It takes time. Or maybe it doesn’t. It could take a second, a snap of a camera shutter. It lies. It makes another reality, a better one or a worse one.

We obsess over it. We lose our minds, our money, our lives.

We hold onto art from centuries and millennia and civilizations past, we worship it in glass cases and with cotton gloves and anti-contamination body suits. We study it, teach it, love it, hate it. We argue about it. About the medium used, about the artist who made it, about the year the artist was born and who his/her parents were, about what it means, about where it came from, about the symbols and hidden messages that may or may not have been included within its walls of paint and stone. We spent thousands and millions of dollars collecting it, making it, learning about it.

We judge others based on their art, we value their worth to society with their art.

We scorn artists who can’t make a living at their art and hail the few lucky ones that manage to.

We can be ashamed of our art, keep it hidden and protected like the wounds in our souls. Sometimes no one else ever sees it, and sometimes people see it without understanding it.

Art is everything and art is nothing. It is power, and yet renders us powerless at its feet.

Art is seriously messed up.

And I think that’s why we love it.  

 

November, Movember, NaNoWriMo, and Chocolate

IT’S NOVEMBER. You know what that means! (Besides Movember and eating mass amounts of leftover Halloween candy, that is.) It’s National Novel Writing Month — perhaps better known as NaNoWriMo. Are you ready to pour out 50 000 words in 30 days? Are you prepared to write 1 666.6666 words every day for one month?

I’m not. I love the idea of NaNoWriMo, the idea of just writing everyday in a community of people doing the same thing. I know some people take it seriously, and others do it for fun, and I know many participants sign up without the purpose of “winning.” I considered actually signing up this year, but I’m such a competitive person I know I would probably end up frustrating myself with the fact that there’s no possible way I can write a novel in a month. I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time.

So instead of totally abandoning the concept, I’m doing my own little writing fest, which I know many others are celebrating as well, in conjunction with NaNoWriMo. I’m calling it National Write Something Everyday Month. Unlike in NaNoWriMo, where the math dictates an average of 1 666 words a day, I’m just going to write something. Whether it be a short story for my upcoming anthology (June 2014) or a paragraph for my WIP or a creative list of things to do, I’m writing something, anything everyday for the month of November.

Yesterday I wrote the brainstorm for this post. Today I wrote this post and have a couple paragraphs intended for this evening. Tomorrow it could be a poem and maybe the next day I’ll come up with a really clever sentence. Just a sentence. Just one. But it will be something, and that’s what NaWriSoEvMo is about.

Something.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo, or is NaWriSoEvMo more your style?

Enjoy your Halloween candy, and your mustaches!

A Post in Which Libby Summarizes A Lot

Time! Wha — who? I don’t understand.

The leaves have turned, and whenever I have the opportunity to be outside, I take especial satisfaction in hearing the crunch of them beneath my boots. Boots! Sweaters! Scarves!

Reading?

Well, yes. But no.

I read Laura Best’s Flying With a Broken Wing last week — or the week before? — and I adored it. I had planned on doing a full review, but, you know, time. Cammie is a wise and witty protagonist, and the community is a stunning setting for Cammie’s story. I didn’t want the book to end. Sequel? Laura? I would love to know what happens to Cammie. My sister, to whom I lent the book, came storming up to me with the words, “I hate Aunt Millie. And I love Laura’s book! It’s SO good! But Aunt Millie. Eugh.”

What else?

Novel writing. Sort of. I found my lost brainstorming notebook and am doing a lot of brainstorming — mostly in my brain, though, and as notes in my phone during my transit time.

Tea. Definitely. It was a key player in getting over my annual September/October cold. And comforting me.

Life decisions. Yes. See above line.

Busy. Y-E-S.

Back to writing. The Night is Starry  should be published as an ebook sooner than later, hopefully, and I’m selling print copies a la “from my car.” Another anthology, yet untitled, should be published this summer, this time a series of interrelated short stories based around a university art project and the students involved.

Pumpkin spiced latte. I need to try one, but haven’t yet.

What else am I reading? Right now I’m reading Cibou by Susan Young Biagi upon near-forced request from a friend. She literally put it in my hand and said, “Read.” That was in June…but hey, I’m reading it, and loving it. I feel bad for putting it off this long.

I actually have blog posts planned, in which I will actually share actual ideas and they will not be me blathering on about how busy and uncreative I’m being. But for now, what are you reading? Have any recommendations?

If you’re interested in keeping update to date with some of my smaller musings and rambles (which I promise are at the least as amusing as a bathtub with clawed feet and at the most as amusing as Benedict Cumberbatch talking in his sleep), follow me on Twitter!

Cheers!
Cheers!