Justin Trudeau is accused of mansplaining feminism — but is it fair?

Elise Solé
Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau is accused of mansplaining. But is the backlash fair? (Photo: Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, aka “Woke Bae,” of all people, has been accused of interrupting a female constituent and mansplaining feminism. But the backlash may not be warranted.

During a Feb. 2 Q&A at MacEwan University in Edmonton, a young woman from a radical feminist Korean church stood up to commend the prime minister for filling his cabinet with women leaders and asked how to work around Canadian restrictions on volunteering with religious organizations.

She also used the stage to talk at length about her church, the World Mission Society Church of God, and the concept of “God the Mother,” one of the church’s founding principles. At one point, the woman said, “Maternal love is the love that’s going to change the future of mankind. So we’d like you to —”

But before she could finish, Trudeau interrupted and said, “We like to say ‘peoplekind.’ Not necessarily ‘mankind.’ It’s more inclusive.”

“Yes, thank you,” said the woman, and Trudeau replied, “We can all learn from each other.”

 

While the crowd cheered Trudeau’s remarks, social media did not, mocking his political correctness. That included a jab from actor James Woods, who created the hashtag #Douchebagkind.”






However, it’s not completely irrelevant that the woman speaking was representing a religious organization that’s been called a “mind-control cult.” In 2015, ex-follower Michele Colon filed a civil suit against the institution claiming it “uses a number of psychological control tactics … to prevent its members from exposing its criminal and tortious behavior,” allegations the church denied. Colon also told People that during her time there, she wasn’t allowed to use the internet or listen to music of her choice and was forced to study the Bible to the point of sleep deprivation.

People also reported that church members were ordered to donate 15 percent of their salaries to the church, to fast for days (babies included), and to get abortions, because it was “pointless and selfish” to procreate with the world set to end in the year 2012.

Also, what the new viral clips do not show is that when the audience began to groan at the woman’s religious speak, Trudeau held up his hand and asked those in the crowd for their patience, saying, “Hang on, hang on. Respect.”

After the controversial “peoplekind” interaction, Trudeau began to answer the woman’s question about charitable volunteering, but she interrupted him right back to ask him to study the Bible with her.

As Vice points out, “It seems like this is less a snuff film of ‘common sense’ than it is the prime minister doing a reasonably good job of handling an intensely religious Christian-adjacent heretic. The video clip is real, but it has been cut to play as a (funny and believable) lie.”

It’s also likely that Trudeau was trying to lighten the mood, offset the woman’s ramblings, or steer the conversation back to a focused question.

Trudeau, a father of three, has a well-earned rep for being a progressive, feminist leader. A few years ago he stocked his first cabinet with an equal number of men and women and explained his strategy with the now-viral quote, “Because it’s 2015.” He’s dedicated to embracing the label “feminist,” saying in 2016 that “we shouldn’t be afraid of the word,” and in October, he penned an essay for Marie Claire called “Why I’m Raising My Kids to Be Feminists.”

In it, he wrote, “I worry — because as a father, son, husband, and citizen, I witness the unequal obstacles women and girls face every day. It’s 2017, yet in Canada and around the world, women and girls still face violence, discrimination, stereotypes that limit them, and unequal opportunities that keep them from achieving their dreams. It is maddening to me that my brilliant, compassionate daughter will grow up in a world where, despite everything she is as a person, there will still be people who won’t take her voice seriously, who will write her off — simply because of her gender.”

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