Macron in boxer outfit: “These virilist codes used to the point of overdose, what misery of politics”, denounces Sandrine Rousseau

Macron in boxer outfit: “These virilist codes used to the point of overdose, what misery of politics”, denounces Sandrine Rousseau

President Macron in the middle of a boxing session: the photo was published on Wednesday on Instagram.

Protruding muscles, combative image… When political communication borrows the image of sport.

No more, the paparazzi of Nicolas Sarkozy jogging surrounded by bodyguards in the middle of Paris: the fashion among politicians is now to be photographed with boxing gloves on, in a combat posture, and Emmanuel Macron demonstrated this on Wednesday.

Edouard Philippe, a enthusiast

On Instagram, its official photographer Soazig de La Moissonnière published highly commented photos of the president in black and white, his muscles bulging, vigorously tackling a punching bag. Photos which follow those of ex-minister Olivier Véran, who told Le Figaro on Sunday about his new life as a deputy and doctor with gloves in hand, in a training room at Aulnay-sous- Wood (Seine-Saint-Denis).

But the best-known political boxer remains Edouard Philippe, who does not fail to recall his passion for the discipline. In 2016, then mayor of Le Havre, he displayed his passion for the noble art in the documentary "Edouard, mon pote de gauche", which contributed to his national notoriety.

Boxing is quite compatible with the exercise of the force of the State

But also Manuel Valls, Valérie Pécresse…

Propelled a year later to Matignon, where his predecessor Manuel Valls had also fallen in love with this sport and had made it known, Mr. Philippe said he learned from English boxing "what (he was doing) today, by controlling the anxiety that one can have in the face of distressing situations. " "Boxing is quite compatible with the exercise of the force of the State", analyzes the specialist in political communication Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet.

"It’s a violent sport, but with rules, like politics. It’s also the very dramatized image, as is often the case with Emmanuel Macron, of the hero who beats suffering." "Emmanuel Macron is a technocrat who tries his hand at the populist style, trying to respond to Vladimir Putin on his ground", continues Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet.

The Russian president's political communication relies largely on these photos where we see him exercising his physical strength in several sporting fields, notably in boxing.

Virilist Codes

On ;rsquo;overdose. What misery of politics. What a defeat for progressivism. And what poverty of political communication".

Among female politicians, Valérie Pécresse was the first to put on the gloves, in the middle of the regional election campaign in 2015, photographed during her training by Le Point. "My team didn't want to, she thought it was too violent. I didn’t agree. Even if it is experienced as an original sport for a woman, it gives an image of a fighter", she admitted.

Rachida Dati, a "true mind of a boxer"

She was followed by Rachida Dati, whose coach praised in 2021 her "true boxer mentality" which "don't let go". Across the Atlantic, the fight won in 2012 by Justin Trudeau over a Conservative MP during a charity meeting had, according to some experts, contributed to his image and his accession to the head of Canada in 2015.

"This use of sport for political communication purposes is not new, recalls Michaël Attali, historian of sport at the University of Rennes-II, she has been present since at least Giscard", who has often staged himself playing skiing or on a football field, but far from the ring.

From popular classes to CSP +

In 1988, Jean-Marie Le Pen was already posing in his residence in Montretout, in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine), bare-chested and gloves on, with a laughing look. Enough to inspire six years later to the presenter of France 2's 8 p.m., Paul Amar, a sequence that became cult in which he handed out gloves to the far-right leader and Bernard Tapie, summoned for a vigorous television debate.

The attraction of politicians for boxing matches that of the general public: from 26,000 members of the French Federation in 2021, they increased to more than 60; 000 in 2023. And the image of this sport whose great champions came from the working classes (Carpentier, Cerdan, Bénichou, Mormeck…) has also transformed, becoming more and more popular with the CSP +, as cinemas flourished in Paris and in big cities.

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