Justin Trudeau’s ascension within the Liberal Party of Canada received a rocket-boost from a most unlikely source: a charity-boxing match.
According to a study just published in the Canadian Review of Sociology, until he defeated political adversary Patrick Brazeau in the fifth annual Fight for the Cure charity-boxing match, Trudeau was generally viewed as inadequately masculine and lacking in political credibility.
After his boxing victory, however, this son of former Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau gained a much more marketable image – overnight, people saw him as “strong,” “tough,” “clever,” “fearless,” and even “heroic.” And, just one year later, he was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Through a discourse analysis of 222 national newspaper articles describing the match, Elise Maiolino chronicled Justin Trudeau’s transition from “precariously” masculine to “sufficiently” masculine.
Maiolino argues that, by adopting elements of traditional masculinity, such as toughness, strength, and the ability to use force, Trudeau dramatically shifted his public image. No longer perceived as an unsuitable leadership hopeful, he quickly gained the status of a highly promising candidate.