One of the most difficult thing to do in this world is changing people attitudes towards a situation, a person, a social construct, etc… People have opinions and attitudes about our world and the society we live in and changing attitudes can prove fruitless. In North America and the Western World change has been fast and furious in the last 50 years, in some cases too fast for some and bewildering in its implementation.
This week was International Women’s Day and with it we got the usual effusive news report on women’s progress, in Canada women have been able to vote in Federal Elections for one hundred years, so in Parliament 338 young women were invited from every community to come and speak on equality sitting in the Chamber for a 3 day conference. Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to style himself a feminist and he has gone out of his way to show what he can do to promote feminist causes, he is the first Prime Minister to have a parity of Ministers in his Cabinet and now he has announced in light of the Trump defunding of so many social programs internationally a 650$ million dollar program for Women’s health and reproductive rights in developing countries.
His spouse Sophie Grégoire Trudeau put out a press release promoting the idea that on this day we should also look at men who support and help women in their social advancement. It did not take long for many feminist on the more extreme fringe to denounce her and say that we did not need her ideas. Some went so far as to call it a day when you can ostracize men and the media loves reporting the more extreme point of view. Truth is at the Street level around me, saw no mention of the day. Yes there have been many advancement on pay equity and in many other domains in our society. Our Parliament has 46% women siting in the House of Commons. The abortion question was resolved in 1988 and many laws have changed to ensure equality amongst men and women. Nothing is perfect but bit by bit things are changing for some not fast enough, but again attitudes have not changed all that much in general despite legal changes in our Constitution and Laws. Badgering people or shaming them on social media will not bring a new attitude on the role of women in our society.
I maintain that in order to advance any idea in Society you need to include everyone and especially men in this case, it is a continuous process of education throughout society, not confrontation. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau simply said that with her children she promotes in their rearing the notion of equality, so that they have positive attitudes towards everyone and not harbour old stereotypes. Her message is positive and inclusive because this is where it all starts in the education of children.
Maclean’s carried two opinion style articles from two writers, one was Anne Kingston, who sounded more bitter and more dismissive than usual, Kingston basically claimed that Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was an elitist (yes that word again) she was out of touch and the photo of her and her husband Justin was sickening, just another political wife. As for all the other women who might agree with Sophie well they too are dismissed as traitor to their gender. These feminist writers claim that they do not need their husbands and would not be seen in a photo with their husbands holding hands,it is all too demeaning. This type of extreme point of view does nothing to help advance equality in our society and simply shuts down the dialogue. Unfortunately the media loves the extremist it is good entertainment. Let’s hope that parents will teach their children the value of the human person of either gender and the principles of equality.