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What if the Canandian PM was a woman?

Thinking of moving to Canada… so you can be governed by the newly elected “sexiest politician alive” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? You are not alone.

The big news from Canada that long-serving conservative PM Steven Harper was resoundingly booted from office was overshadowed by the fact his much younger successor is a super hottie.

There is little debate on this public fact… he is “McDreamy”.

While I drooled over my keyboard and imagined myself becoming a Canadian native and soon to be second wife of the Prime Minister with more style than Jackie Kennedy, I suddenly realised what a massive hypocrite I was being.  

Because if Justin Trudeau were a woman and the international press were describing how “sexy” she was, how “gorgeous” her big brown eyes were, and what a “chiseled” physique she had, I would be outraged at the blatant sexism.

The looks of a Prime Minister should have nothing to do with how well they are perceived to do the job.

Oops.

It is so easy to jump on the band wagon of a trivial story before you realise the damage that is done.

Post continues after Gallery.

How good is it to be able to share images like this (insert pic of half-naked Trudeau) and say “Oh Canada”?! It’s good. But the not so popular truth is we probably shouldn’t.

The very same thing happened here in Australia recently where our own silver fox Malcolm Turnbull made headlines for being the nation’s new heartthrob — rather than the new PM.

Twitter hashtagged him #DILF (no I am not going to spell it out for you but just think ‘MILF’ and you will get it) which is fairly derogatory and Instagram’s @hotmalcolm was pure gold for entertainment value and silver fox viewing pleasure.  

And who could forget earlier this year when GQ ran this front cover in a breathless piece that described our soon to be Prime Minister as a “lady-killer”.

And did we criticize any of it? No we sucked it right up. We Loved it. Shared it. Owned it.

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Facial recognition experts and psychologists worldwide confirm that people do respond better to a face that looks competent and well-proportioned in elections, but we also know that being good looking is not enough of a factor to win an election.  

Let’s not forget #milifandom – when the internet went into meltdown in the UK during the 2015 general election over the perceived hotness factor of Ed Miliband – the Leader of the British Labour Party. It was a phenomenon kick-started by a teenage girl sitting in her bedroom with an IPhone. But it did not help his re-election chances one bit. He was pummeled at the ballot box. Voters knew he did not have what it took to do the job.

For me, this puts the enormous public debate in our country over whether our first female Prime Minister was unfairly scrutinized over her looks and clothing into perspective. While she may have received more negative coverage than most men over her appearance – this is definitely not something that just happens to women.

Ed Miliband led the Labor party in the UK but being good looking wasn’t enough to get his party elected.

Whether it’s been a story about John Howard’s eye brows needing trimming, Kevin Rudd’s hair flick being annoying or him being fat, Julia Gillard’s ill-fitted jackets or her hair looking terrible, or Tony Abbott’s budgie smugglers, the truth is that we judge the appearance of political leaders. It happens all around the world and we relish it.

However, there is little evidence whether this has any impact on whether we think they are good at their jobs and the way we vote.

Personally, I believe people are much smarter than that. We may care about appearance but we know we want someone who is much more than a “hunk” running the show.

If the media commented on Julia Gillard’s appearance it would be a completely different story.

In the case of our first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard it was pretty clear, that in the end, people didn’t like her decisions – not just her outfits.

The reality is looks do matter in politics whether you are a man or a woman but not enough to change most people’s choice at the ballot box. After the worldwide reaction to Justin Trudeau I think it is difficult to mount the argument that female politicians necessarily cop it more than male ones. Either way I will be far more cognisant of my own prejudices on this topic from now on.