Emmanuel Macron, the new French President who beat Le Pen, is tired of hearing people talk about how weird it is that his wife is 24 years older than he is. And he’s right. Who cares? Why does it matter? It’s none of our business.
Macron recently told Le Parisien that if he had been with someone who was 24 years younger than him (as Donald Trump is), it wouldn’t be news–because that’s expected of men, even if it’s still a topic of gossip–as opposed to it being a scandal or outrage (because how could a younger man date an older woman!):
“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.
There is a big problem with the presentation of society and [how they see] the place of women.”
I mean, how many times do men in the public eye have much younger wives and partners, and get hardly any flak? (Hello, Gary Oldman, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, etc). People, for instance, constantly praise Clooney for marrying his wife Amal (who is 39 to his 56, which is 17 years)–and then there’s the 25 year difference between Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Macron met his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, when he was a 15-year-old drama student, although they apparently didn’t become closer under they wrote a play together–and they married in 2007 when he was nearly 30 and she was 54.
In a time of rampant sexism and political turmoil in the U.S., it’s reassuring to at least see that other parts of the world (and notably, other world leaders) are fighting for gender equality in unexpected ways.
This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.