Saturday, June 24, 2017

21st Century Men: Macron, Obama, Trudeau

I finally saw the movie "20th Century Women" on the recommendation of an actor I worked with this year. I'm not sure exactly why she recommended it to me, possibly because I'm around the same age as the character played by Annette Bening - although I think the hair style they gave her character is awful and makes her look older. But the actor also might have recommended it to me because it mentions feminism - a lot more than any non-documentary movie I've ever seen - and I happened to mention during one of our rehearsals that Justin Trudeau was the perfect man because of his self-declared feminism.

I'm sure he isn't really a perfect man, but he's pretty damn great. Of course people on the far left complain about him because no politician is good enough for them since Lenin. I've already had unpleasant exchanges with some of them on Twitter. It's my theory that the Far Left is forever hoping for a perfect father figure to make all their socialist dreams come true - and Bernie Sanders was happy to try to step into that role.

"20th Century Women" was OK. There isn't much of a story but it has some nice moments. And there's that talk of feminism. But if you had told me back in 1979 that one day there would be a head of state who proudly declared himself a feminist, I'd have thought you were smoking too much weed.

And it's funny because the principles of feminism were fairly well-agreed upon in the young person circles I traveled in back then. I guess I just never expected the rest of the world to catch up to feminism as fast as it did. Which doesn't make sense since the rest of the developed world has long since caught up with us quasi-hippies on the issue of natural foods and vegetarianism: Whole Foods has been a national chain since the 90s. In 1979 if you wanted tofu or herbal tea you couldn't get them at the grocery store, you had to go to a small funky health food store in a big city.

Justin Trudeau was the first head of state, male or female, that I ever heard of who referred to himself as a feminist.

I just melt every time Justin Trudeau declares himself to be a feminist as he did yet again recently in this appearance in Toronto sponsored by the NYTimes.

But only fairly recently have I discovered there are other self-declared feminist heads of state.

But one thing that makes me optimistic for (his daughters) is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman. The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.
Emmanuel Macron is also a self-declared feminist as I wrote about recently.

Here's Macron teaming up with Arnold Schwarteznegger to make the planet great again.

Obama, Trudeau and Macron all had very different upbringings. Macron is the son of two small-town doctors, Obama was raised by a single mother who was a kind of academic bohemian, and Trudeau spent much of his childhood with his father the Prime Minister. But one thing they all have in common is that none of their mothers were stay-at-home housewives. And Obama and Macron both seemed to have had very close relationships with their maternal grandmothers.

Obama had been braced for the possibility the woman whom he credits with raising him might not live to see possibly his proudest moment as he headed into the election in which he is favoured over John McCain. With so much at stake in the final hours before the polls, Obama carried on campaigning last night, telling a crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina: "She has gone home, and she died peacefully in her sleep with my sister at her side."
But his refuge was the flat of his grandmother Manette, where he went after school and at weekends. Manette’s mother, a cleaner, had been illiterate, and education had become a family obsession. Manette, who had worked as a headteacher, spent hours having her grandson read aloud. “After school, we’d drink hot chocolate and listen to Chopin,” he recalled. “His self-confidence comes from his grandmother,” said François-Xavier Bourmaud, Macron’s biographer. “She was a reformist socialist who coloured his political engagement very young.”
As for Trudeau, I don't know what his connection with his grandmothers was like but he certainly had a very complex relationship with his mother as I blogged about here.

It should be noted that Obama, Macron and Trudeau all have apparent admiration for each other - Obama and Trudeau famously have a "bromance"; Trudeau and Macron were videotaped having a long talk during the G7 summit - in French of course - and Macron called Obama during his presidential campaign for advice - and for an excellent public relations coup.

How wonderful that these most excellent of men declare themselves to be feminists - outloud, in public proudly. The word "feminist" matters.

Don't tell Obama words don't matter.

The three of them all seem to have excellent relationships with their wives and with women in general. But it's one thing that these three excellent men are good husbands and fathers (step-father in Macron's case) and self-declared feminists - it's another thing that each of them has achieved the highest elected office in their respective lands.

And that just blows my mind. I never thought I'd see such a thing. A failure of the imagination on my part? Or an inclination to be anti-authoritarian, or maybe a life-long pessimism habit. 

But seriously, wow. 

I love these 21st Century Men.