Pardonne Moi; Laissez Faire; Ban Appetit; Les Misérables
- Published 14.01.18
When I read actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women's defence of men's "freedom to bother", it burns me up. I think - this must be why they pronounce it sorrowrity. The ladies just won't stick by each other. And look at the boys, oh so united - in their machismo and now, their support of D.
Menspeak. Why should #MeToo be about women only? Why didn't they protest when bothered? It's a campaign gone sour. Point. Perhaps. And point. But that's not what D is saying. She is shaming the MeToos. Dubbing this speaking up a "witch-hunt", "puritanism", reckless purge. Ignoring diverse contexts, forgetting there is no one measure of courage. The letter advocates a laissez faire or let-do policy for men - "Rape is a crime. But trying to pick up someone, however persistently or clumsily, is not..." Basically, a free pass for stalkers, gropers. And going by the reaction of Berlusconi - he called her words "blessed" - whom the Western media refers to as chaud lapin (Fr: hot rabbit), I am not too off the mark.
The Other will say: So, women don't enjoy sex? And the chase? They cannot seem to tell one from the other - a consensual intimacy from a violation. D, who is the official face of Marianne, France's national symbol of liberty, is all heart for men who've been disciplined "when their only crime was to touch a woman's knee, try to steal a kiss, or send sexually-charged messages to women who did not return their interest". How liberating an argument - though only for the men!
D and gang throw in references to regressive protests around art and cinema, name Balthus and Polanski, to elevate their argument. But there is gravity. Finally, there is that priceless line: "We believe that the freedom to say 'no' to a sexual proposition cannot exist without the freedom to bother." If you ask me, a hundred of them just got worried they would get no dates and put pen to paper.