On Oct. 19, Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, 43, beat out nine-year conservative incumbent Stephen Harper for the coveted position of Canadian prime minister. The landslide victory confirmed the notion that the majority of Canadian citizens desire a fresh perspective on governmental policy and implementation within the country. This was the foundation on which Trudeau built his campaign.
Trudeau’s political success, however, isn’t the only thing that’s making headlines. Often described as “photogenic” and “attractive,” Trudeau’s appearance has been the subject of many recent articles, specifically to the large tattoo on his left outer bicep.
Two days after Trudeau’s triumph, BBC News Magazine published an article with a title that posed a question: “Is Canada’s new Prime Minister the only world leader with a tattoo?” The article went on to describe both the curiosity and controversy surrounding Trudeau’s ink.
In 2012 Trudeau tweeted about the tattoo, stating, “My tattoo is planet Earth inside a Haida raven. The globe I got when I was 23; the Robert Davidson raven for my 40th birthday.” Clearly Trudeau isn’t shy about his tattoo, as he’s chosen to acknowledge it on popular social media platforms and, in 2012, flashed it at a charity boxing match against one of his conservative rivals, Patrick Brazeau.
This brings me to a continually debated question regarding body modifications and the stigmas surrounding them: why should someone else’s tattoo affect your perception of them as a person?
Despite the growing popularity of tattoos, especially among 20-somethings, there are people who still harshly judge those who choose to get inked. Regardless of the meaning behind the artwork, many tattoos provoke classic “you’ll regret that thing when you’re older” and “ick, why would you have that on your body?” comments.
In Trudeau’s case, reactions to his tattoo have evoked both positive and negative reactions. On the one hand, his body art inadvertently helps to strengthen his image as one of the “sexiest politicians in the world,” a title given to him by the Mirror. On the other hand, some Trudeau supporters worry his tattoo will be used against him, as conservatives might insinuate that his ink is a sign he is not fit for the position of prime minister.
After researching more about Trudeau I have full confidence that he will be effective as prime minister. As a self-described teacher, father, advocate and leader, he seems to genuinely care about bolstering the ambitions and successes of all Canadian people.
In regards to his tattoo (as well as the tattoos of everyone I’ve ever known) it simply doesn’t matter to me. To put it plainly, tattoos don’t make you a bad person. They in no way shape, form or prevent you from doing your job well or accomplishing a goal. Rather, tattoos and all other forms of body modifications simply serve as a way for individuals to express themselves. Why on earth should we be so quick to stigmatize that?