Canada’s Obsession with Justin Trudeau’s Vogue Shoot Proves We Are Lame As Hell
Old white men are grumpy that our prime minister no longer looks like them.
Another day, another news cycle focused entirely on the appearance of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
This time around it seems Canada's media pundits (read: schlubby old white men) are pissy because Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau did an interview with Vogue magazine and they didn't look like shit in it.
The spread, cleverly titled "Justin Trudeau Is the New Young Face of Canadian Politics," features a fairly brief and yes, fluffy, profile of the Trudeaus alongside a photo shoot in which Grégoire-Trudeau wears a borrowed $5,700-dress. Trudeau wore his own blue button-up. This, apparently, qualifies as scandal in the exciting world of Canadian political journalism.
"In one black-and-white photo, Trudeau looks off-camera in a manner certain to evoke comparison to Zoolander," wrote Ottawa Citizen columnist Glen McGregor, who has gone on to tweet a bunch of nonsense about how "playing dress-up for the photo was silly" and the story "was supposed to be a news feature, not a fashion spread."
Newsflash, dude: you can do both. Not everyone wants to emulate a print journalist aka look like they just stepped out of the Gap circa 2001. (Looking at you, Spotlight.)
Ottawa Sun Parliamentary Bureau Chief David Akin seemed fairly dismissive of the magazine itself when he confessed "this is the first time I've ever read an article published by Vogue." He then characterized the piece as gag-worthy. I'm willing to bet Vogue hasn't heard of the Ottawa Sun, either.
The truth is, the haters are the ones who really come off looking stupid in the face of this whole fake controversy.
Yes, Trudeau did an interview with a fashion magazine (the most influential one in the world, btw.) He also gave the New York Times Magazine an in-depth interview, which went live this week; made a throne speech; and his government launched an official inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. So the argument that the guy is all style and no substance is ringing a little hollow.
With all that said, does anyone really care if his wife borrowed an expensive dress and looked good in Vogue? (McGregor says Trudeau will have to report that to Canada's Ethics Commissioner as a potential "conflict of interest" though I'm skeptical that wearing couture for an hour would actually constitute as any kind of conflict.)
On a larger scale, the blowback over this photo shoot shows that Canada's Inferiority Complex is still very much A Thing. We crave approval from the rest of the world and then when we get that attention, instead of being chill, we analyze every possible (non) angle. The ratio of US stories about Canada to Canadian stories about US stories about Canada is like 1:10,000. (editor's note: this seems like a conservative estimate.)
It wasn't so long ago we had a PM who barely spoke to the media, save for the rare "exclusive" with Costco magazine. We've graduated to Vogue, dudes—can't we just be cool about it?
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.