Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dear Sophie

There is a letter circulating Facebook today criticizing the honest struggles of our PM's wife, which I thought proved feminism is not as prevalent as it should be in the women in this country. This morning I was mad. I was so mad I couldn't even formulate an argument against people mindlessly sharing the post. I resorted to some passive aggressive sarcasm (I know, shocking) and then moved on with my life for a while. But tonight, as I dug in for some battles, I'm happy to see more comments challenging the judgmental tone of that letter than agreements with it, and I'm happy to see more women in my life sharing articles like this one than resharing that stupid letter. Normally I would find situations like this disheartening and fear the worst in those around me, but I have seen a lot of women rally around Sophie and state for the record how they find that kind of "competitive mom-ing" judgement completely offside. Maybe it's just that I've surrounded myself with like-minded, open-minded, progressive and strong women. This isn't about political leanings, this is about how women treat each other and the never ending competition and fakery on social media. This woman's comment on the letter really resonated with me and I want to share her voice.

Dear Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau ,
I don't know what it's like to be you. I don't know what it's like to have three children under the age of eight. I don't know what it's like to be the wife of the Prime Minister and represent Canada on the world stage. I don't know what it's like to be a spokesperson for multiple charities, and I certainly don't know what it's like to have everything I say, wear, or do splashed all over the media for people to critique.
I do know what it's like to be a wife and a mother, and I know that society seems to have an issue when a woman asks for help. Women are supposed to be superheroes. We're supposed to do it all and we're supposed to smile and make it look easy. We're supposed to be perfect mothers, wives, friends, employees and citizens, and we're not supposed to admit that we can't do it without a little help.
As a woman, I support you. You are the wife of our Prime Minister, and no one who hasn't been in your position knows exactly what that entails. Your life is unlike anyone else's in the country and it can't be compared to the 'average Canadian woman'. No one else walks in your shoes or lives your life, and no one knows what you do when you're not in public.
People are losing their minds over the fact that you have nannies. The thing they seem to conveniently forget is that a lot of families have nannies. Nannies are there to provide love and care for children when their parents can't, for whatever reason that might be. Your children are being cared for by their parents and by their nannies, and to me, that's what's important. Your children having stability in an unstable world is what's important, not the petty 'I don't have what you have so you shouldn't have it either' mentality that is all too common.
The same goes for your request for another assistant. You are not only representing Canada with every function or event that you attend, you are also representing the many charities that are lucky to have your voice. You also do this without payment. People are saying you don't have a job, you don't work, but they're wrong. You work every day, you just don't draw a salary for the work you do. Your work might not be paid, but it's invaluable to those it helps.
In today's online world it's very easy to sit behind a keyboard, read a story or meme and voice our opinions. It's extremely easy to be cruel and untruthful when commenting on other people's lives, and it's becoming normal. We live in an age where we want our kids to stop bullying. We want our children to never know the sting of being picked on, but as adults we sit around and use our computers to bash, critique and lie about people we don't know because we feel entitled to say whatever we want.
I don't know what it's like to be you, and because of this I support you. I know there are others like me out there, but the loudest voices in any conversation are always the angry ones.

Sincerely, A Canadian woman( written by Amanda Brennan, Greenwood Nova Scotia )

Thanks, Amanda, for even partially restoring my faith in women in this country.