Gossiping about Brigitte Macron isn’t misogynistic

Emmanuel Macron’s marriage is causing a stir. The young president of France was only inaugurated yesterday, and already he’s moaning about the media interest in his personal life. What’s so interesting about Macron? His wife, Brigitte Macron, is his former high-school drama teacher, and 24 years his senior.

Branding the commentary about his wife ‘misogynistic’, Macron argued that if it was him who was 24 years older, his marriage would pass without comment. (Given the fascination with Mr and Mrs Trump across the pond, it’s quite clear this statement is untrue.) Tiphaine Auzière, Brigitte Macron’s daughter from her first marriage with André-Louis Auzière, also came to her mother’s defence. ‘These are attacks that we wouldn’t direct at male politicians or at a man who would accompany a female politician’, she said. ‘So I think there’s a lot of jealousy, and that this is very inappropriate.’

By bandying about the word misogyny, Macron has shown a total misunderstanding of what that word actually means. If someone is misogynistic, they are showing a hatred of women – the gossip around Brigitte is quite harmless human interest. In fact, there’s nothing hateful about it. Public interest in politicians’ personal lives is a normal thing. That Macron’s story is a little more unusual than most makes no difference to that.

In fact, having someone in the Élysée who didn’t have a salacious personal story would be a truly shocking thing. Marcon’s relationship began as an affair – his last four predecessors have also all proved partial to more than the occasional fling.

To imply that there is anything sinister about an interest in the love life of one of the most important figures in world politics is ridiculous. In fact, Macron’s older wife seems to be the most interesting thing about him – he is the political equivalent of the colour beige, and a continuation of François Hollande in all but name.

Macron should welcome this interest in his personal life. Because, if the press examine his politics too closely, it will soon become apparent that the new emperor is somewhat sartorially challenged.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

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