I grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s, so I remember JT meaning Justin Timberlake. He was/is a great entertainer, and in 2001 he sported a lovely and iconic full-denim suit. As an entertainer going to awards shows frequently, it is no surprise that Justin Timberlake’s fashion choices were analyzed. However, there is a more recent fashion phenomenon surrounding a different JT, who is not an entertainer but a politician – Justin Trudeau. That’s right – we are hearing news articles about the fashion statements of the Prime Minister of Canada.
Justin Trudeau has a deep love of novelty socks. Personally, I quite enjoy fun socks (I am wearing snowflake-covered ones at the moment). However, it makes no logical sense for news organizations to focus on a political leader’s socks rather than their policies. Justin Trudeau’s socks have been featured in not one, not two, but three separate New York Times articles. Granted, two of them were in the Fashion & Style section, but why are we seeing a political leader in the fashion section of the Times? Don’t they have celebrities to cover? I hear Kristen Stewart has frosted tips now – maybe cover that instead. I was under the impression that when discussing political leaders, we should be discussing their actions, not their accoutrements.
So, let’s take a look at these bad boys.
Here are his Eid-themed socks:
— Nick Ashdown (@Nick_Ashdown) June 25, 2017
Here he is rocking maple-leaf socks:
Here he is in NATO socks:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had NATO-themed socks on today at NATO HQ. I guess he *really* supports Article 5. pic.twitter.com/TKZaducN6C
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 26, 2017
And, of course, the very famous Star Wars socks:
Wow, the man really likes his silly socks. Coverage of his socks extends to the Washington Post, Vogue (who attributed statement-making abilities to Trudeau’s socks), and even across the pond to feature in two posts at The Guardian. Elle, a fashion magazine like Vogue, posted an article about a week ago about Justin Trudeau hugging a puppet unicorn. You heard that right – a puppet unicorn. Elle starts out by saying that Canada is “actively trying to ascend to a higher, more magical spectral plane.” All this from giving a puppet a hug. The Vogue article is actually on the front page of Vogue’s website.
However, Canada’s own newspapers are much less enthralled by the Prime Minister’s socks. CBC, one of the largest – if not the largest – news organizations in Canada posted an op-ed about Trudeau backing away from his campaign promise to replace the current voting system. The Chronicle Herald, another popular Canadian news site, shows this when you search for Trudeau’s socks, and the Calgary Herald shows no results at all:
But why care about the PM’s socks?
What is notable is Teen Vogue’s coverage of Justin Trudeau’s presence at Pride in Toronto. They point out that Trudeau’s love of novelty socks wouldn’t be bad if he actually backed up his pageantry. The teen fashion magazine has become quite the politically active magazine, and I want to give them kudos for that. They frequently cover news stories about pressing topics such as LGBT rights, racism, and feminism. When many magazines that claim to be hard news fail to cover LGBT topics, Teen Vogue is there to pick up the pieces and run with them.
I am inclined to agree with Teen Vogue. In his op-ed discussing Trudeau’s attendance at Pride, Pablo Mhanna-Sandoval states that “last April, his government also approved export permits as part of a multi-billion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia, a country infamous for their repressive crackdowns on the LGBTQ community.” In fact, Trudeau has a history of friendliness with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, both of which are oppressive towards their LGBT citizens. He also points out Trudeau’s failings to equitably treat Canada’s indigenous communities.
I now turn to the TrudeauMeter from polimeter.org. On this site, I found 4 campaign promises that Trudeau broke which are troubling and revolve around environmentalism and/or justice with First Nations. The first is Trudeau’s continuation of fossil fuel subsidies – rather than phasing them out as promised, Trudeau has actually “locked in one recent liquefied natural gas subsidy until 2025.” In his campaign, Trudeau promised additional funding for postsecondary education for indigenous students – but did not do so. Even more troubling is his failure to back up his promise to guarantee First Nation communities veto power over natural resource development in their territories. He has also failed to lift the two percent cap on funding for First Nations programs.
According to the National Observer, it is unclear as to whether Trudeau wants to stand up for the Paris Climate agreement. TIME magazine reports that Trudeau has broken his promise to reform the country’s electoral system, which has been called a betrayal to his own Liberal Party as the “current first-past-the-post voting system, which generally benefits conservatives who vote in a block for the Conservative Party of Canada, and leaves out smaller and more liberal parties.”
In searching for Canadian news about Justin Trudeau’s socks, I came across an op-ed in The Star, a very popular Canadian news site. This hilarious op-ed has much of the same sentiment as me. The author, Vinay Menon, is tangibly annoyed at the prevalence of Justin Trudeau’s socks. Here is a snippet from the op-ed:
Canada, we have a problem on our hands.
And that problem is on Justin Trudeau’s feet. The endless obsession with the man’s socks — his socks — has tiptoed past the point of annoying and is now getting dangerously close to someone-hold-a-pillow-over-my-head.
As far as I can tell, Trudeau’s socks are now running the country. Bow down, citizens, and pledge fealty to your new woolly overlords that come in one-size-fits-all. I mean, why are we even paying taxes? Should we not just divert this money to the bespoke unit at McGregor to help pay for Canada’s future sock diplomacy?
It is fine that Trudeau has fun socks – I am of the belief that fun socks make for fun walks. However, using socks to cover up unfulfilled campaign promises and the continued environmental racism towards First Nations scalds the good name of the fun sock. When we see the fashion choices of a political leader plastered everywhere we look, there is almost definitely something shiftier going on. I’ve got my eyes on your socks, Trudeau. Keep them walking in the right direction.