The #MeToo phenomenon struck a chord with women all over the world. What started as a movement exposing Harvey Weinstein and the evils of the entertainment industry slowly became so much more. Two simple words became the story of females everywhere and allowed them to share their harrowing tales. It bound them in a haunting reality that exposed the magnitude of #MeToos.
France had its own #MeToo counterpart called #Balancetonporc, which is translated to ‘Expose Your Pig’. However, the movement has been called into question by 100 illustrious women saying it is a “which-hunt”.
These women are from different industries like entertainment, academic, and publishing. These women claim that there has been a “totalitarian” climate created due to these women’s decision of calling out sexual misconduct saying it is a “threat to men’s sexual freedom.”
One of the women who has signed this letter condemning the movement is Catherine Deneuve. The multi-faceted star, Catherine is a French actor, model, producer and even a singer. The letter says,
“Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression.”
The letter was originally written in Frech and published in the French newspaper, Le Monde. It was then translated by New York Times.
The letter said that this has lead to men becoming victims. They are being prevented from working and forced to resign while they didn’t do anything too wrong. It said,
It also said that women, in the same way, “can lead a professional team” and still “enjoy being the sexual object of a man without being a ‘promiscuous woman’.”
The letter also stated that women are “sufficiently aware that the sexual urge is by its nature wild and aggressive.” But they are also “clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack.” To further illustrate their point, they said,
“As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality.”
It is even sadder that this letter has come just after the women in Hollywood stood fiercely against sexism and misogyny and wore black to show the solidarity in the movement for the Golden Globes Awards.
The letter ended by saying that the “accidents that can affect a woman’s body do not necessarily affect her dignity and must not, as hard as they can be, necessarily make her a perpetual victim.” They further write,
These women, like many others in the world, have misunderstood the word ‘feminism’. Feminism stands for equality of all genders and is certainly not for man-hating or shaming.
The Internet is calling out Catherine Deneuve and the others for their statements.
1. Spot on.
Catherine Deneuve is confused. No-one is saying that a man shouldn’t approach a woman. What’s not ok is men abusing their power in the workplace and/or not accepting no as an answer.
— Aunt Olive #FBPE (@HelpfulOlive) January 10, 2018
2. Some people are talking about how wrong the statements were.
Love hearing women who haven't taken the subway in decades explain to me how it's not a big deal if a man gropes you in the subway !
— Shanti (@micoune) January 9, 2018
3. There is a difference.
Dear Catherine Deneuve & co, flirtation is mutually fun, respectful & (importantly)equal2equal. Harassment is unwanted, sleazy & domineering
— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) January 10, 2018
4. The #MeToo movement is all about the horrors that people have been subjected to.
Flirting is a two-sided game. Harassment is not. Specially when you have two people in very unequal positions of power. That is what #MeToo is about. Not some amateur, clumsy, innocent high school drama.#CatherineDeneuve https://t.co/VvMpYUUCgU
— Negar (@NegarMortazavi) January 11, 2018
5. Some people are even sharing their own stories.
I am positively sick of older women like #CatherineDeneuve telling us to suck up sexual harassment because they did.
I was raped as a kid, I don't expect any child to accept that shit because society failed me. I try to make it right and make it better.
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) January 11, 2018
6. This is one user’s opinion.
#Deneuve is just a sad excuse for a human being…Let’s not forget she defended her friend (the convicted #paedophile) #Polanski… who raped & sodomized a 13 yo after drugging her… Catherine, you don’t speak for most of us… you shouldn’t speak at all…
— Gabi (@gabimrgd) January 9, 2018
7. Workplace sexual harassment is a sad reality.
— Alexandra (@SandraBlackCat) January 10, 2018
The point is that there is a difference between harmless flirting and the looming threat of sexual assault. No does mean no. And it creates a problem when that ‘no’ is either not comprehended or ignored.