The new French President Emmanuel Macron is 24 years younger than his wife Brigitte
The age gap between newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte has already launched a thousand op-eds, with many commentators crying sexism and misogyny levelled against their May-December marriage.
Now Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine infamous for its brazen and brutal critiques of French political life, has entered the fray, publishing a cartoon mocking the 24-year age gap between the pair.
Macron, who first met his future wife when she was his teacher at a lycée in Amiens, recently said that the coverage of their unorthodox pairing amounted to “misogyny.”
“If I were 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn’t be an intimate partner,” the En Marche! politician told Le Parisien newspaper.
“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.”
But now with five years of public engagements ahead of them, the commentary on their age gap promises to be a constant fixture in every piece written about the couple. And Charlie Hebdo’s front page is the latest pot shot taken at the President and his wife.
“He’s going to work miracles,” the text reads, showing Macron rubbing the bump of a heavily pregnant Brigitte.
The post has received more than 4,000 likes on the Charlie Hebdo Facebook page, but has been widely condemned as lazy satire in the comments.
“Surely, you can do better than just saying ‘Brigitte is old, LOL’,” wrote one user, according to The Local.
“If you’d do the same thing for the guys who have much younger wives then maybe things would actually change a bit,” wrote another.
Another added: “This is lamentable and misogynist.”
Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to publishing controversial images, courting scandal many times; the satirical weekly made international headlines in the 00s by choosing to publish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, leading to major protests at French embassies in Muslim countries around the world.
On January 7th, 2016, two religious extremists, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, stormed the Paris offices of the magazine and executed 12 people, sparking major conversations about freedom of the press in the face of terrorism.
In the months since the magazine relaunched, Charlie Hebdo has continued to provoke strong reactions, publishing cartoons about drowned Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi. A front page image of French MEP Nadine Morano, described as “the secret Down’s Syndrome daughter of Charles De Gaulle,” was also widely criticised.