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Media turns its sights on France’s new first lady

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Julie Tomlin
WVoN co-editor

We should prepare ourselves: the new French president François Hollande has a partner and he is not married to her.

And there’s more…

Paris Match journalist Valerie Trierweiler is intelligent, accomplished and successful in her own right.

This, as we know, is the stuff that the media goes crazy for. Even Trierweiler’s own magazine couldn’t resist putting her on its front page with the headline “François Hollande’s Charming Asset”.

Also a politics presenter on Cable TV, Trierweiler has said she intends to stay on at the magazine when she moves with Hollande to the Elysee Palace.

Whether scandalised or supportive, we can expect a deluge of articles examining how France’s new first lady is “breaking the mould”.

Of course, there are important issues at stake: Hollande was elected on a wave of anti-austerity feeling and has pledged to put growth at the heart of European economic policy. He has also vowed to take on sexism in French politics (see WVoN story).

But it seems the press can’t help tying itself in knots over a First Lady, not even when they are associated with tyrannical regimes.

Add to that the fact that Hollande and Trierweiler got together in 2005, two years before his separation with Segolene Royal was announced and both have ruled out marriage for the sake of protocol.

You can bet that claims that the relationship is an “interesting milestone in the evolution of French attitudes to the sex lives of politicians” is no understatement.

Just how long Trierweiler will be able to “keep it real” living in the media spotlight remains to be seen, but her Twitter feed does suggest that for a while at least we can expect her to respond with some gems in 140 characters .

“Bravo Paris Match for its sexism…” wrote Trierweiler in response to its ‘Charming Asset’ headline, adding on  International Women’s Day: “My thoughts go out to all angry women.”

  1. JaneO says:

    I look forward to this woman’s reaction to the misogyny of the media – she sounds like she can hold her own. Could be fireworks ahead. 🙂

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