People Are Obsessed With The Next French President's Wife, And It's Pretty Sexist
People are obsessed with French President-elect Emmanuel Macron's wife, and it's for predictably sexist reasons.
Macron's wife, Brigitte Trogneux, is roughly 25 years older than him (he's 39, she's 64) and his former high school teacher.
The age difference has been a frequent topic of discussion in the media.
It seems some assume a young man like Macron could not be in love with an older woman, and some have even speculated about his sexuality because of that belief.
The next French president shut down the homophobes and sexists in a recent interview with Le Parisien.
He attributed all of the speculation surrounding his relationship to "rampant misogyny" and "rampant sexism," adding,
If I had been 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn't be [an intimate partner]. It's because she is 20 years older than me that lots of people say, 'This [relationship] can't be tenable, it can't be possible.'
He has a point.
People have attacked Trogneux with highly sexist insults, referring to her as the “first grandmother of France" and “menopausal Barbie.”
Trogneux doesn't deserve this. No one does.
In spite of all its progress, it's quite clear Western society has a long way to go in terms of relinquishing anachronistic notions of gender and marriage.
By the way, the age difference between Macron and Trogneux is the same as the age different between President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, but with the genders reversed.
Donald Trump is 70, and Melania Trump is 47.
Yet no one seems to talk about this.
This reveals a major double standard.
In the sexist, patriarchal society we live in, people are perfectly comfortable believing an older man would marry a younger woman.
But if the reverse happens, gasp!
When it comes down to it, this is none of our business.
Who cares about the age difference? If two people are in love and want to get married, that's their prerogative.
There are plenty of more important topics to discuss regarding the leaders of two major powers like the US and France.
Moreover, if you want to scrutinize the character or actions of a first lady, or perhaps the fact they cost taxpayers a great deal of money by living in NYC instead of the White House, there are certainly grounds for you to do so.
But attacking their age or appearance is inherently sexist.
Melania has not been attacked for her age, but she's certainly not been immune to sexism.
People have slut-shamed Melania over her modeling career, which involved posing in several nude photos.
Regardless of how you feel about her husband's politics, this is unacceptable and regressive.
Again, who cares? It's her life and her body.
Misogyny comes in many forms. It's up to all of us to combat it.
Macron will officially be president of France on Sunday.
Hopefully, this obsession with his wife, who is defined by far more than her age and is poised to play a key role once her husband takes office, will dissipate shortly thereafter.
With that said, when Macron and Trump inevitably meet, STFU about the age and/or appearance of their wives.
We've got bigger fish to fry.
Citations: Emmanuel Macron blames 'homophobia' and 'misogyny' for obsession with his older wife (The Independent), Meet France's New First Lady, Brigitte Trogneux (The Huffington Post)