The result of the French election has been under global spotlight as 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron took power and became the new face of France. But the marriage of this handsome young president has drawn more public interest – particularly on Chinese social media.
Indeed, as the story goes, Macron married his French teacher Brigitte Trogneux in 2007 despite fact that she was 24 years older, married, and a mother of three. The story about his marriage has instantly gone viral on WeChat soon after the news of his winning broke out.
Posts using a hashtag about the French president’s controversial romance -- "Marrying his teacher 24 years his senior" -- have been viewed more than nine million times on the social media site as a flood of comments appeared.
The comments likened Macron’s marriage to that of Qi Tongwei, the sheriff of a Chinese city’s police department in a modern Chinese television drama "In the Name of the People". Qi was a dodgy official who married a teacher, 10 years his senior.
However, Qi’s marriage has a political motive. He married a princeling wife who belongs to China’s most powerful and elite class -- to help climb his social ladder. But Qi has never put his romantic life on hold. He had a long-term love affair with a young and attractive woman in the city. Qi’s political marriage has unscored a social norm in China’s materialism society that women are used for men’s personal convenience and gains, and to advance their career.
Women being used as a status symbol for men is another sign of a nations’ moral decay. The Chinese society has been increasingly gripped by a trophy wife syndrome -- where a young and beautiful girl hooks up with a sugar daddy – a wealthy and powerful man. A trophy wife can help display a man’s superior social standing, power and wealth while a sugar daddy can give what the young woman mostly desires – money and a luxury lifestyle.
Highlighting the trophy wife syndrome was the story of internet celebrity Guo Meimei, who enjoyed publicly flaunting her luxury lifestyle that has been funded by a married businessman from Shenzhen. Guo’s scandal has fueled a shift in the society value that increasingly embraces beauty-status exchange, leading to a rapid surge of wealthy men exploiting the youth and beauty of women. SeekingArrangement.com, a sugar daddy website has attracted an additional 100,000 male memberships from China in the wake of Guo’s stunning revelation.
Unsurprisingly, Macron’s marriage, which is seen far beyond the Chinese society norm, has drawn cruel jokes and sparked conspiracy theories. Speculations about his extramarital affairs or his sex orientations have flooded the internet
“His relationships can’t be tenable. It can’t be possible!”
“Macron is either a gay or has an affair!”
But Macron treats his wife as his intellectual soulmate and confidante. He says he will be at peak performance in governing if he is happy — and that means having Brigitte by his side.
“There is a big problem with the presentation of society and how they see the place of women,” he said in a media interview.
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