On second thought: Here's the real impact of the French election
As the dust settles on France’s presidential election – in which Francois “Mr. Normal” Hollande ousted Nicolas “Bling Bling” Sarkozy – the most captivating aspect isn’t the presidents. It’s the women by their sides.
Let’s look at the basic details.
Departing first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy made millions as a supermodel, became a famous songstress, then annoyed most of the French as the president’s new wife’s glamorous life became increasingly out of step with the stark economic reality of, oh, everyone else. Thus the Marie Antoinette comparisons.
Valerie Trierweiler, on the other hand, is a well known journalist nicknamed the Rottweiler for her tenacity, who tends to slap people down - literally and figuratively - if she feels they’re being sexist. And she is not rich. No-one goes into journalism for the money, believe me.
They both have great hair, can wear a mean scarf and make oversized sunglasses look totally workable (although that may be just a French thing).
But the “The Rottweiler” might just end up being more feisty and headline-grabbing than the outgoing glamourpuss.
While Bruni married her man and charmed world leaders and tabloid-readers alike, Trierweiler isn’t married to Hollande, and she’s dissing anyone who says that will be a problem.
She also plans to keep working at the magazine, where she has stopped covering politics and now writes about the arts. (Cherie Blair did the same thing in the U.K., continuing to work as a lawyer while her husband ran the country, but it’s a rare spouse that chooses that path.)
Never mind what the election meant to the economy – it could have more impact for society. Instead of headline-grabbing style, the French now have assertive feminist arguments and a first woman who is not afraid to slap you.
Will voters be disappointed by the reality of ditching their latest Marie Antoinette (although they did kindly let her keep her head) in favour of someone more like themselves? Or will they sleep happy at night knowing their country is represented by a woman as tough, complex and proudly unmarried as the majority of the French?
Regardless, one thing is clear: There is now an opening for a new leading lady to join U.S. first lady Michelle Obama at the stylish end of world politics.
So get to it, Laureen Harper. The world awaits.
Tenille Bonoguore, guest blog