Fake bikini bodies and real sexism

Croatia's president has been a frequent target of sexist press. The latest false news is no exception. 

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Fake bikini bodies and real sexism - NewsMavens
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Emmanuel Macron at World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

"Croatia in turmoil, everyone condemns her: Kolinda is cheating on her husband with this president" is the title of the fake story about a non-existent affair between Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the president of Croatia and Emmanuel Macron, the president of France.

The "proof" offered is a video of their encounter, which was entirely public -- a hug in the VIP lounge at the World Cup finals. But the worst part of the lie is how both Grabar-Kitarović and Brigitte Macron were described.

"Although she was quite chubby at the beginning of the relationship, Kolinda has noticably improved her shape, as many noticed"

"It's known that the president of France has an older wife, and since he's still in his prime it's no wonder that he was attracted by Kolinda"  

Grabar-Kitarović has been exposed to similar comments before  -- sans the remarks about the affair. Tabloids in Croatia have been following her weight loss on daily basis; their laments over her "poor husband's" absence from the public eye have reached meme status ("Where is Jakov", or "Gdje je Jakov" has become a popular joke). The president's head was also photoshopped on several bikini-wearing bodies.

In her interview with Full Frontal's Samantha Bee about misogyny experienced by women politicians, Grabar-Kitarović said: "When I google my name and I see all these pictures that [are] not me, especially in bathing suits, it makes [me] feel like an object".

Details from the story:

  • The text offers nothing more than poorly written claims about the two presidents having a "secret dinner" without a shred of evidence. 
  • It was published by a relatively new fake news portal called "Superčarobni svijet" (Supermagical world). 
  • In her interview with Samantha Bee, Grabar-Kitarović recalls how, two days after she was elected, tabloids published stills of pornographic footage, claiming she was the one performing.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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