Content note: Graphic language, sexism, violence against women
As the dust begins to settle on #elbowgate, it is becoming increasingly clear that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will emerge the public winner of the parliamentary scuffle. Why? Because misogyny is alive and well in 2016.
We all know the internet can be a stenchin’ cesspool of bigotry and hate, but in the aftermath of Trudeau’s elbow colliding with Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s chest, it’s appalling to note how many people think its okay to ruthlessly rip into her.
From the vulgar
@RE_Brosseau You are a complete cunt…stop acting like a little crybaby or get the fuck out of Ottawa, bitch.
— KBeWell (@KBeWell) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau lil bitch shut up and gtfo out of the parliament
— Sam (@BasedWalton) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau you're a cunt -signed, America
— Robot Gobot (@RG9235) May 19, 2016
Ruth Ellen Brosseau is the typical over dramatic cunt that tries to make something from nothing and act like a victim. #HouseOfCommons
— Kaelan Maye (@KaelanMaye) May 19, 2016
Ruth Ellen Brosseau what a dramatic little bitch
— OB (@OfficeRanter28) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau is a baby bitch
— Raghda Wehbe (@a_webxx) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau Yous a whiny bitch
— #Underwood2016 (@AdrianD_) May 19, 2016
Ruth brosseau is the worst bitch ever
— BING (@BingLinnn) May 19, 2016
@RE_brosseau bitch let me come back to Canada and deliver you the biggest bitch slap of your life for your bullshit. You disgust me.
— FirstLady (@FirstLadyKatty) May 19, 2016
Ya I wouldve elbowed that bitch in the face too #elbowgate
— Tyesha (@TyRomano) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau you a bitch ass nigga to. People out there getting robbed and shit you get bumped into and cry Pussy ass bitch
— Yung Testicle (@squidsquasher) May 19, 2016
And really just downright ugly
— unpleasant Nerd (@unpleasantnerdz) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau Hey BITCH
Looks like you enjoy pointing your tits on Twitter, but do not want them elbowed
I call bullshit on you!!
— Esme Cull (@LifeIsHockey12) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau i saw videos of how you tried to incriminate your own leader, you're not the victim, you're a lying, little bitch.
— Lily (@NiallHarryBecca) May 19, 2016
Who's that NDP bitch who started this war? She's not even hurt she just got her nipples pierced that day #cdnpoli
— sav (@luvrgurl204) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau You pathetic twat! You're just an over entitled C$&@!!! Hope you understand how idiotic you look in the news today. SEPARATE!!!
— Paul Pardoe (@pardoe72) May 19, 2016
@RE_Brosseau pussy hoe
— Gwendolyn White (@GrandmaGwenny) May 19, 2016
Ruth Ellen Brosseau complaining about sexism- you're ony where you are because you're a woman and reverse discrimination. STFU
— Quebec (@Poutine_News) April 27, 2016
Ruth Brosseau "I was elbowed by the PM, and I had to leave because it was overwhelming." This is why feminism doesn't work u dumb cunt
— jay (@jaygorospe24) May 19, 2016
Even people with a seemingly progressive mindset are attacking her
The most progressive PM yet for women's equality & you're doing this over an accidental stray elbow? Grow up Ruth-Ellen Brosseau #elbowgate
— Cass Stone (@CassStone1) May 19, 2016
Ruth Ellen Brosseau you have embarrassed women everywhere! We have been fighting so hard to gain respect! #PMTrudeau
— Sandra D. Bates (@SandraDBates) May 19, 2016
I'm disturbed by Ruth Ellen Brosseau's actions. Women are often accused of over-dramatizing assaults, and this is exemplifying that stigma.
— Sasha Skye (@UrHostSashaSkye) May 19, 2016
Ruth Ellen Brosseau was actually almost in tears after being elbowed. C'mon woman. That's not being molested. The opposition is ignorant.
— Stephanie Hakim. (@StephanieHakim) May 19, 2016
It’s not limited to Twitter. Stroll over to Brosseau, Mulcair or the NDP’s Facebook pages (none of which have even posted about the altercation) and you’ll see a slew of people from all over the political spectrum ready to spit vitriol at her
And let’s not forget unapologetically sexist memes
Over the last few hours, I have seen dozens of contacts posting articles and statuses mocking Brosseau and the NDP. None as wretched as what I found after 30 minutes of using a coupla search engines, but all nevertheless complicit in building an all too common sexist narrative of women as duplicitous, manipulative liars.
Make no mistake about it, the backlash against Brosseau is deeply, unquestionably sexist and plays into traditional victim blaming tropes.
And while Prime Minister Trudeau’s elbowing of Brosseau was unintentional, his uncalled for and unprofessional actions lead to bodily harm against an officemate.
Cussingly storming over to a colleague, angrily grabbing them without consent and knocking into other colleagues in the process is unquestionably unacceptable behaviour that should not be tolerated in any workplace. Prime Minister Trudeau knows this and has apologized accordingly.
Brosseau is not calling for Trudeau’s resignation, filing criminal charges against him or requesting EI compensation for a work accident, yet she’s being treated like a pariah for the second time in her political career. Why? Because she dared express that she was physically and emotionally rattled by the affair? No, it’s because we’re a deeply effed up sexist mess of a society.
The House of Commons, like many other workplaces, is deeply and structurally sexist. Women MPs put up with a whole slew of garbage behaviour from their counterparts and constituents daily.
It’s not too much to ask that parliamentarians refrain from engaging in physical altercations in the heat of the moment. It’s not too much to ask people to labour for safe(r) work environments.
Social media does not give you carte blanche to be a jerk, so how ’bout we (try to) stop being complicit in upholding violent patriarchal norms by not jumping down a women’s throat when she’s had a really bad day at the office?