Pre-Trump, it wasn’t that often a huge corporate fashion and lifestyle conglomerate got into a politically charged dialogue. But that’s exactly what Reebok did after President Trump remarked that the French first lady, Brigitte Macron, was “in such good shape — beautiful,” during his recent trip to France. However, recently, Reebok took to Twitter, Trump’s media platform of choice, to jokingly admonish the president for commenting on President Emmanuel Macron’s wife on her appearance.
Macron, who at 64 is 25 years older than her husband, received the assessment, made with the presumption that for a woman of her age, she is “in such good shape — beautiful,” with dignity and shrugged it off. (For the record, Trump is 24 years older than his wife, Melania.) Reebok, a company owned by Adidas, picked up on the fact that many people found the president’s comments sexist. After all, the notion that a woman’s appearance is up for scrutiny by a man in power is the definition of the male gaze, a term coined by feminist scholar and filmmaker Laura Mulvey.
The exchange occurred on June 13, when the U.S. and French presidents toured the museums at Les Invalides with their respective wives. After completing the tour, Trump gestured to Macron’s body, and remarked on her physique. The exchange, which was captured on video and posted to the French government’s Facebook page draws many parallels to the infamous Access Hollywood tapes where President Trump confesses, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
The following day, Reebok, in an attempt to disprove the aforementioned claim that “you can do anything,” posted the following on Twitter:
The question now becomes, how far will players in the free-market go to criticize the Trump administration, and/or the individual behavior of the president?
For the past two seasons, the fashion industry has used international fashion weeks to broadcast political messages of resistance to the current regime. Take for example, Christian Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirts (which debuted two months before the U.S. election), or Prabal Gurung’s entire collection of slogan tees, with messages like “The Future Is Female,” “We Will Not Be Silenced,” and “Nevertheless She Persisted,” (which followed the outcome of the election).
It so seems that when it comes to fashion, the personal is most certainly a political matter, especially in this climate.