German chancellor Angela Merkel has been called many things during her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s largest economy. Whatever labels have been affixed to this often-inscrutable woman, there is one that she herself has consistently dodged: feminist.
Anke Domscheit-Berg, a member of parliament from the opposing Die Linke (The Left) party, views the chancellor’s aesthetic choices as a kind of smokescreen. “It was like armor,” she said. “A type of protection against being considered a woman…She always refrained from almost all polarizing themes—and gender rights themes are always polarizing.”