France is in a bind over the place seduction ends and sexual harassment begins.
Because the allegations of rape and sexual harassment emerged in opposition to Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the nation synonymous with love has been stumbling because it addresses the problem of sexual harassment and violence in opposition to girls.
Some have puzzled if France can handle males’s behaviour towards girls with out throwing out its Don Juan nationwide id.
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“France is a rustic of males who love girls,” Guillaume Bigot, who has written in regards to the Weinstein fallout in France, advised The Related Press. “Seduction is a profound a part of our nationwide id … the tradition of the ‘French lover’ and the ‘French kiss’ is at risk due to political correctness.”
But many ladies in France reject his viewpoint, favouring as an alternative the ideas of French feminist author Simone de Beauvoir on the oppression of ladies.
Even earlier than the hashtag #MeToo went viral, a cruder French model referred to as #balancetonporc (“squeal in your pig”) appeared on-line and set off a deluge of nameless accounts from girls denouncing alleged abusers with unprecedented openness. It appeared to sign France might prepared the ground within the combat in opposition to harassment, for the reason that posts numbered within the a whole lot of 1000’s and spoke of ubiquitous sexism and predation in France’s cultural, political and enterprise worlds.
However up to now it seems the Don Juanists have prevailed.
Though the accused embrace a former French authorities minister, the previous president of the Younger Socialists motion, a former TV information editor and members of a world-renowned startup faculty, most have denied the allegations. Extra considerably, no highly effective figures in France have misplaced their jobs or their reputations.
Thinker Bernard Henri-Levy has criticized the net motion, saying it’s unfair to match alleged attackers to “pigs.” And French defenders of seduction have warned in opposition to a puritanical, American-style backlash that might demonize romance.
Bigot pointed to France’s nationwide image — the younger, busty Marianne — as proof of France’s state-sponsored obsession with stunning girls, noting that in 1969, bombshell Brigitte Bardot was chosen as Marianne’s bodily embodiment. Others chosen to characterize her embrace siren Catherine Deneuve and supermodel Laetitia Casta.
French Tradition Minister Francoise Nyssen, in the meantime, has provoked ire by defending director Roman Polanski amid calls to cancel a screening of his films at a French cultural institute.
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Nyssen urged the French “to not condemn the work” of the Polish-born director who within the 1970s pleaded responsible to having intercourse within the U.S. with a 13-year-old woman whom he plied with champagne and quaaludes. The institute mentioned its function was to not moralize.
This yr, Polanski was even honoured as president of the Cesar awards, France’s reply to the Oscars.
In one other dispute, Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet provoked consternation by suggesting authorized minimal age of 13 for sexual consent “is value contemplating.” Activists protested in Paris to demand that the age of consent be set at 15.
For many years, the French have seen it as some extent of honour to separate the private and non-private lives of French politicians and artists. Some say this has protected males reminiscent of former president Francois Mitterrand, who had a mistress and secret love youngster, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the previous Worldwide Financial Fund chief accused by a New York lodge maid of sexual assault.
Such perceived apathy has triggered an outcry from French feminists, who laud the U.S. outpouring in opposition to harassment and accuse France of getting normalized sexism.
“Typically in France, we conceal behind the thought of gallantry for males. However that is constructed to make us conceal the violence and assume it’s seduction,” mentioned distinguished feminist Caroline de Haas.
She known as the French authorities’s response to the allegations of sexual harassment “radio silence” when put next with different nations reminiscent of Britain or the U.S.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has urged girls to talk out in opposition to sexual assault, and moved rapidly to strip Weinstein of the Legion of Honour award he gained for producing the Oscar-winning French movie “The Artist.”
“We should change the entire mind-set of our society. We should calm the impulses of domination that some males have, this sexual violence,” Macron mentioned Friday.
However feminists say symbolic strikes are usually not sufficient to fight the engrained sexism in France.
The creator of a French essay on seduction needed to spell it out in an interview with Madame Figaro journal final week that harassment isn’t seduction and isn’t ever a optimistic factor.
“A harasser is a predator, not a seducer,” mentioned Gilles Lipovetsky.