Tracy Matthews


To the women offended by Trudeau’s invitation: Get over yourselves

On Wednesday Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tweeted out an invitation to an event for women in Toronto.

The event, obviously a fundraiser at $250 a plate, was geared towards women who would like to get to know Trudeau and talk about issues facing women today — both in general and in politics it would seem from the sample questions scrawled on the invite.

The invitation that was tweeted out includes a checkered Andy Warhol-esque photo of Trudeau and carries the name “Justin Unplugged” in scribbly writing. The squares not occupied by Trudeau’s face ask some questions that give an impression of what the event would be like: What is the biggest issue facing women today? What’s your favourite virtue? Who are your real life heroes?

This prompted response from Huffington Post contributor Kathryn Marshall who criticised the event and called the picture “creepy, patronizing, and unbelievably ridiculous” to boot. (Scroll down to view the full invitation)

Um, what?

I’m sorry, are you upset that the leader of one of Canada’s three big political parties, a possible future Prime Minister, wants to offer his ear up to women and find out what they want out of life and government?

I’m sorry, is it not good enough for you to be invited to take part in a conversation that you can steer whichever way you please, be that policy or broader concepts?

I’m sorry, are you so gung-ho on getting offended that you need to pick apart even the photo used on the invitation?

Women have been ignored by so many people at so many levels for so long that it truly shocks me to see this opportunity for a male political leader to connect with and learn from women being thrown back in his face.

A politician is, surprisingly, inquiring about a little more of the lives of potential voters than what they think about low or high taxes. Virtues are important for leaders of all kinds, to see a leader asking what people appreciate shows that he is ready to assemble a team that reflects the values of all Canadians. The biggest issues that face women today could do with access to reproductive health, or proper natal care for native women in Canada, maybe the wage gap, or the number of female CEOs, or perhaps even government childcare and daycare services for parents who need to return to the workforce — to see a leader asking what these issues are shows that he is ready to take the right actions to protect our rights and freedoms as women and do more to help those who need it.

Would we not be offended if his campaign paid no attention to the unique issues and challenges that women in Canada face every day?

To the women who are offended by this, reserve your anger for the real creeps. Get angry about politicians like Rob Ford groping women without permission. Get angry about politicians in Saudi Arabia preventing women from driving cars. Get angry about the politicians in the US and Canada who try to restrict access to abortion.

Don’t waste your time in faux horror when someone asks you for your thoughts because the invitation doesn’t measure up to your standards and take an opportunity where an opportunity is given.

In the meantime, get over yourselves.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

What is Mayor Rob Ford doing while the city floods? Enjoying A/C in his car


With the city paralyzed, flooded, immobile, and soaked it should of course come as no surprise that Mayor Rob Ford is not at the nerve centre of the city doing what he can to get things up and running again. Rob Ford is with his family, without power, crammed into the SUV with the air conditioner on in an attempt to stay cool.

Our mayor’s number one priority in the middle of a weather crisis is his own comfort.

Of course Fordites would respond that ‘he has to look out for his family’ and ‘it is after 5 o’clock’ — but this flies in the face of the concept of being mayor of a major city.

Your job doesn’t end at 5 o’clock.

Your family, albeit without power, has a capable matriarch. This city, on the other hand, has no other head.

Rob Ford has, once again, abandoned not only his responsibility, but his city in a time of need.

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This summer’s hot trend is a basic, simple, and trendy look. Sleeveless summer whites are in for all women this year, giving you a chance to show off your guns while looking fresh, airy, and ready for sunshine. Linens, chiffon, and blouses fit the criteria and buttons or zippers work well to ad a little bit of grunge when you wear the tops long and untucked.

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Sleeveless Chiffon Blouse — H&M $19.95

Broderie Anglaise Blouse — H&M $34.95



Why don’t people believe a man can be raped?

Not too long ago we saw that the people of Toronto have no sympathy for a male rape victim. In a disgusting display the Toronto Twitterverse summarily dismissed the idea of a male rape victim by telling him he should be so lucky as to be attacked by four women, that he was lying, that he was gay or a prostitute, and that his victimisation doesn’t matter.

Cretins like Rosie DiManno came forward to say that “one man’s sexual assault is another man’s fantasy come true” and display a fundamentally flawed understanding of the very basic understanding of what rape is. Rape is forced, unwanted sexual interaction. You cannot want to be raped, because if you wanted it, it wouldn’t be rape.

The man, who decided (for what seems to be good reason considering the amount of ridicule he received) to stay anonymous, was a laughing stock to his peers, men and women who thought simply that a man can’t be raped. This reaction leaves me wondering just how many male rape victims have refused to step forward or seek police intervention or even counselling simply because they have been told time and time again that a man cannot be a rape victim, that they should have enjoyed it, or that in the stereotype of a man always wanting sex they were asking for it simply by being male.

With all of the time, energy, funding, and attention that is given to preventing rape why is it that the average Joe or Jane still can’t wrap their head around this?

Well first let’s take a quick look at the definition of rape. Until recently this was what Google returned:


Google’s victims are gender neutral; however, their aggressors are male.

A Google Image search for “how to stop rape” also brings up countless images where men who might otherwise be aggressors are told not to rape or are congratulated on stopping when told.

What is surprising is the heteronormative gender binary approach to rape as a topic. Men rape, women are raped. There is very little discussion in between for men who are raped by men, women who are raped by women, and men who are raped by women, like the victim in Toronto.

The response I’ve heard is that because the number of rapes that is reported in these scenarios is lower that it isn’t worth the time. I can think of one young man whose experience and entire existence was deemed worthless by the internet who might disagree. This notion may also be a beast that feeds itself: if no attention is given to these matters because they are reported less, when it does occur victims might be less likely to report it because they have no concept of a precedent.

If we want to do right by victims like Toronto’s John Doe we need to break away from this male vs. female conversation. In schools, posters, and awareness campaigns we need to stop addressing men as aggressors and potential aggressors and women as victims or potential victims. Instead we need to think about it simply as rapists and victims outside of their genders.

You’ve heard a thousand times before that rape isn’t about sex (sexual intercourse in this sense) but instead about power. Power isn’t limited to one sex or gender. The idea that “we need to teach men not to rape” ignores scores of victims who don’t fit into that construct and encourages the mentality that men and boys can’t also be victims like what we saw happen in the aftermath of the Toronto gang rape victim.

My heart goes out to this poor soul in the hopes that someday in the future a man can come forward as a victim without being victimised continually through social media and the press for simply being the wrong gender to feel sorry for.

Until then we need to teach people that rape is a genderless crime.