I know, I know. I swore off Man Repeller a few months ago because I was offended by their article associating retirees with "baggy pants and pastels and slippers." I was in such a snit that I wrote a whole post in response, describing how the internet makes me crazy in so many ways. But lately I've been drifting back to the blog. I think the young women who post there are talented: bright, witty, and really good writers. And even though I'm definitely NOT in their target age demographic, I still like many of the articles. Reading them makes me feel as if I were still teaching, as if I've just stumbled into a conversation with several female students breathlessly talking prom dresses, or new shoes, or career plans. I used to love those conversations. And I miss them. So I read Man Repeller.
Anyhoo. I was reading Leandra Medine's post the other day. And it started me thinking about why it is that, at certain times in our lives, getting dressed stops being fun. And then I thought, "I'll bet getting dressed is no fun for Brigitte Macron these days."
| Brigitte Macron with her husband the recently elected President of France|
Brigitte Macron sprang to mind for me because of a post I read last month on Tish Jett's blog A Femme d'un Certain Age. Tish writes briefly about the dress Mme Macron chose to wear to a function at the NATO conference in Belgium. But the conversation really takes off, as it often does on blogs, in the reader comments. Oh my, Tish's readers sure had a lot to say about Mme Macron's dress, her shoes, her posture. And then there were the comparisons with Mrs. Trump's dress, and posture. Among other things. Phew.
| Brigitte Macron looking chic and much more relaxed at Paris Fashion Week.|
And I wonder, did all the resulting chatter make Brigitte Macron doubt herself just a little? Did it shake her confidence? Does it make getting dressed in the morning a bit more stressful now? Less fun?
You can say what you will about political spouses... that women should know what they're getting into when they marry politicians, that they should expect to be the object of scrutiny, learn to weather the scrutiny, learn how to behave and to dress for the part, whatever that part is in the political landscape. But the bashing many female politicians and wives of male politicians take about their looks and their fashion choices is stunning. And usually mean-spirited. And often unfair. Sylvia Bashevkin, a political science professor at the University of Toronto says in this article in McLean's: "We dissect female politicians and wives of [politicians] in terms of intimate and trivial details-- their appearance, how they speak, how they raise children, and treat their spouse-- very little about the benefits they might bring to public life, which is how we evaluate male politicians or even male spouses."
|Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Michelle Obama in Washington in March 2016|
|Grégoire Trudeau with her husband and daughter walking the Great Wall of China in 2016 |
But, getting back to Leandra Medine's post on Man Repeller. Medine attributes her fashion malaise to a possible identity crisis. That makes sense when you consider that she has always made "a case for style as a litmus test for identity." She says that not knowing what to wear "feels like writer's block." I love that line. When you express yourself through your clothes, not knowing how to dress would most certainly feel like writer's block.
I can see how an identity crisis would take the fun out of getting dressed in the morning. "What should I look like if I don't exactly know who I am?"... sort of thing.
And I can't help but wonder if Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's fashion choices (and indeed her husband's too) work so well because she knows who she is, or at least what her very public identity should be. The "Trudeau brand," so to speak.
I can also see that Brigitte Macron's new identity as the wife of the President of France will make her fashion choices more difficult, more treacherous... shall we say. She clearly loves clothes and fashion. But I imagine that getting dressed will probably be a lot less fun from now on. Since she will certainly be closely scrutinized to see if she puts a foot wrong. And not only because she is the spouse of a president, but also because she is the older spouse of a much younger man.
Better fasten your seat belt Brigitte. It's probably going to be a bumpy ride.
Linking up with: Saturday Share over at Not Dressed as Lamb and Thursday Favourite Things at Katherine's Corner.