Fascinating Fascism: Stylist magazine under fire for Marine Le Pen cover

Glossy cover trivialises far-right

The weekly fashion magazine Stylist has been heavily criticised today for its cover feature on far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

On this week’s cover, Le Pen appears with a sticker over her mouth, reading:

“Warning: Contains views and policies that some liberal, modern women will find disturbing”

The image has been widely criticised for trivialising the extremist Le Pen campaign, implying that the Front National’s policies are cheeky and challenging, rather than structurally racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic.

And while the full article is less egregious than the cover might suggest, it treats Le Pen’s campaign for president as an ordinary political event, failing to acknowledge that — no matter how much she attempts to ‘detoxify’ — Le Pen is a fascist.

Although she is more image-aware than her father, she has a full suite of aggressive anti-immigrants policies, has regularly dabbled in Islamophobic and anti-Semitism, and continues to affiliate herself with a party that remains structurally violent and racist.

Normalising these views is dangerous, contributing to the idea that the far right is not actually beyond the political pale, and that it is socially and politically acceptable to vote for them. And creating a glamourous fascist aesthetic — as the Stylist cover does — makes such a vote more attractive.

The magazine’s editorial team have responded to the outcry, claiming that Stylist ‘vehemently does not support her or her views, and any misinterpretation of our stance on Marine Le Pen is regrettable and unintended.’

They defend the cover as ‘a visual gag’, insisting that:

“by covering Marine Le Pen’s mouth with a ‘warning’ sticker we were — by way of a graphic device — labelling her rhetoric (and sheer existence) a very dangerous thing.”

The success of France’s fascist right is a dangerous thing. As such, it must be handled extremely carefully.

The Stylist cover may not have been malicious, but it was undoubtedly clumsy.

See: Marine Le Pen stepped down as Front National president four days ago – and her replacement has already resigned in disgrace

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One Response to “Fascinating Fascism: Stylist magazine under fire for Marine Le Pen cover”

  1. Chester Draws

    There is nothing particularly fascist about Le Pen. Every time someone makes her “literally Hitler” a more reasonable person might inspect her policies, decide that she isn’t, and then decide the original statement of her “fascism” says more about the speaker than they care to admit — namely that NO deviation from the approved line will be tolerated.

    The Democrats drove millions to vote for Trump this way. Now the European Left are doing it again. You’re really not learning fast, are you?

    Even you don’t really think she is fascist.

    “has regularly dabbled in Islamophobic and anti-Semitism”

    OMG, dabbling! That’s pretty shocking stuff. Nor is dabbling in anti-Semitism a right-wing thing, as the current UK Labour Party shows.

    and continues to affiliate herself with a party that remains structurally violent and racist.

    Where’s her brown shirts then? That’s a pretty sine qua non of a real fascist party. Again, the current UK Labour Party has violent extremists in it, who struggle for old-style Stalinist Communism, but you’re happy for us to vote for them. There’s nothing right wing about having violent elements associated with your party.

    Le Pen has a selection of appalling policies, and I don’t think that she is a good candidate. But what she is not is “fascist”, other than as a term of abuse because you won’t actually engage in why she has 40% of the electorate. Given how very left-wing France is, you simply cannot get 40% to vote for a far-right candidate.

    As I said before, her economic policies would be quite at home with UK Labour.

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