Justin Trudeau reveals his surprising feminist inspiration

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Justin Trudeau has been an advocate for gender equality since he entered the political arena – even declaring that the reason behind his gender-balanced cabinet was simply because “it’s 2015”.

But the Canadian Prime Minister revealed that it was, in fact, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt who inspired him to publicly call himself a feminist.

In an interview with Melinda Gates on Wednesday 20 September for Goal Keepers – a foundation for sustainable development set up by Melinda and Bill Gates – Trudeau spoke about his past experience with the term.

He recalled a particular discussion with a fellow student at McGill University, who discouraged him to call himself a feminist.

“She said: 'No. Only women can be feminists. You can be supportive or you can be an ally, but it's our thing,'” he explained.

“20, 25 years ago, that was certainly a stronger perspective.”

However, Trudeau changed his mind after watching a video made by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2014 – who’s starred in films such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Inception – explaining why he calls himself a feminist.

Trudeau explained: “It wasn't that, 'Oh, I'm going to follow his lead.' It was like, 'Oh, OK, it's OK for men to say that they are feminists in a public sense. Great, I'm going to finally do that.'”

The Canadian Prime Minister then proceeded to share his belief in why it’s important for men to come together to fight for gender equality.

“That's why I will keep saying I'm a feminist until... it is met with yeah, 'OK, we know that. Move on. It's not a big deal anymore.'”

According to the HuffPost CanadaTrudeau attended a We Day conference in the same day, and asked a crowd of several thousand people how many of them identified as feminists.

“It is so important that we all understand, and it's not only that men can be feminists, it is that men should be feminists as well. I am proud of that,” Trudeau said.

“Men shutting down some of those negative conversations, that we get in locker rooms, in 'bro' culture. We need to know that we are better than that. How we treat our sisters, our girlfriends, our cousins, our mothers and the world around us matters. We need to take back what it means to be a man, and that means being open compassionate, respectful and brave,” he explained.

Can anyone else see an up-and-coming bromance brewing between the two?

You can watch the full interview below:

Images: Rex Features / Getty