Three-day beard, stroller, Insta: the new staging in politics

Three-day beard, stroller, Insta
The new staging in politics

Politicians like Gerhard Schröder liked to be photographed as men in positions of power. The new NRW state chief Wüst, on the other hand, demonstratively pushes the stroller to the state parliament. The Ampel members also present themselves differently than previous governments. A new style is entering politics.

From selfies on Instagram to Franziska Giffey’s costumes: after the federal and Berlin elections, a lot has changed – in appearance, fashion and style. That could already be seen in the past few weeks. “The faces of the winning parties stage a change, a new beginning, for which they stand up with their person and their style,” says the historian Claudia Gatzka about the traffic light coalition in the federal government.

Therefore – under the aspect of equality between women and men – first of all about Olaf Scholz’s appearance. After all, Angela Merkel also had to live with cabaret jokes and uninvited fashion tips before she found her own style over the years – with blazers, hair and the now iconic diamond gesture of the hands. Her probable successor wears her head shaved, with no fraudulent parting over her bald head.

Olaf Scholz has been looking after his briefcase for decades.

(Photo: dpa)

The 63-year-old used to have fluffy curls, which is what you see when you look “Olaf Scholz with hair” googles. He’s been guarding his worn briefcase for decades. When the finance minister got out of a plane in Washington with his pocket and a T-shirt hanging over his trousers, some said: Scholz looks like the walking math teacher cliché. Otherwise, there is not much to complain about about the smart suits and the rowing outfit in which wiry Scholz has already been photographed.

“It is important not to come around like that.”

Meanwhile, with another (probably) future ruler, a very special type is making its way into the Rotes Rathaus in Berlin. After the parquet king Klaus Wowereit and the less conspicuous Michael Müller, Franziska Giffey will most likely become the new governing mayor. Costumes, conservative dresses and updos, that was what the SPD politician wore as the person in charge in the Neukölln focal point when she was upset that people there like to dispose of their old mattresses on the street. For Giffey, the outfit is a question of attitude. She thinks that in politics you have to act appropriately and not “as fresh from the campsite,” said Giffey on the talk show “Riverboat”. It is also important for Berlin that “we don’t come along like that”.


Franziska Giffey doesn’t want to look “fresh from the campsite”.

(Photo: dpa)

But is it particularly casual in political life elsewhere? There is no clear answer to that. The cloakroom of the Greens boss Annalena Baerbock looks carefully curated, far away from the already outdated wool sock image of her party from the 80s. Her colleague Robert Habeck and FDP leader Christian Lindner stood out with three-day beards. At Habeck, designer Wolfgang Joop wanted a tie in “Spiegel”: “There are jobs where I expect a certain degree of perfection,” says Joop. Another eye-catcher: SPD young star Kevin Kühnert, who swapped the hoodie for a jacket during his first speech in the Bundestag.

And something is happening at the CDU too, at least among the generation under 50: Hendrik Wüst, who became the new Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia after Armin Laschet’s defeat in the federal government, demonstratively came to the state parliament with a pram.

Instagram as the new home story

Insights into family life are not a new phenomenon: in the past you saw Willy Brandt with the guitar or while shaving, Konrad Adenauer with his roses. And even in the German Empire there were private photos – for example of Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow with his dog. Nowadays the classic homestory has definitely had its day in the press, says the Freiburg scientist Gatzka.

It was replaced by Facebook and, above all, Instagram. “The important difference is that the stories there are now more in the hands of politicians and their advisors, and no longer in the hands of journalists and press photographers.” But the content that is conveyed is of course similar, according to Gatzka, and politicians now usually allow the public to get in much closer to them on social media than they used to be in home stories.

Like an indie band and their fans

Merkel refrained from staging at the beginning, she was considered pale and only gained trademarks over the years. Her predecessors Schröder and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer were a contrast. In 1998 they mainly staged themselves and their triumph, and had themselves photographed celebrating themselves – as “men in positions of power”, as Gatzka observes. With Scholz, Baerbock and Co. it is completely different, more modest and more humble, at least at first glance.

“The pictures of them are of course no less effective and powerful. But they express diligence, diligence, dynamism, the will to want to tackle it.” The photo of the traffic light politicians on the way to the exploratory talks expresses this well. “They look like members of an indie band who just got off the plane and are on their way to the gig – to their fans.”

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