French publisher of educational textbooks, Magnard Editions have made headlines by including a diagram of the clitoris in the 2017 edition of their biology textbook.
The move has been hailed as a “big first” by a network of teachers (STV Egalité) who have set about fighting stereotypes in teaching. They are delighted that “at last” the clitoris will be faithfully represented in diagram in a science textbook for school pupils.
Until now, the female organ — the only organ whose sole function is pleasure — has received blanket omission from secondary school science textbooks in France, according to France TV Info.
“We are optimists. Things are advancing little by little, but they are advancing,” teacher and member of STV Egalite, Alexandre Magot told L'Express magazine.
But STV Egalité are disappointed that in spite of Magnard's bold move, other publishers of biology textbooks, including Belin, Bordas and Hachette have not followed suit.
“Unfortunately we can't say things are moving quickly because out of all the new textbooks, only one out of eight have updated their diagrams.
“All of the others have recycled their old false diagrams: without the clitoris, or have mentioned it without showing it, or reduced its size to a few milimetres (whereas its average size is 10cm).”
“Representing the female body in its entirety is essential. It's not militancy,” teacher and member of STV Egalité, Alexandre Magot told France TV Info.
It allows teachers to speak to their students “about female pleasure as an equal of male pleasure, which is an aspect of preventing rape,” she said.
It's not the first time there have been complaints from groups about the issue of finding the clitoris in France.
In 2011 French feminists group Osez le Feminisme launched a campaign ‘Osez le clito’ (‘Dare the clitoris’) and aimed to reclaim the right to sexual freedom and expression.
The official website for the campaign, osezleclito.fr, claimed that in sexual matters, equality between the sexes is still an area where men have the power. “Whether in text books, exhibitions, literature or in relations between individuals, the clitoris is often forgotten and seen as unimportant or just part of foreplay. Every woman has the right to understand how to enjoy her own body.”
And in 2016 campaigners launched a more eye-catching campaign when they mowed a giant clitoris into a farmer's field in southern France, in a bid to end the taboo around female sexual pleasure.
The cunning stunt is the work of two sexologists and is aimed at stimulating a debate about the taboo that continues to surround the female sexual organ often referred to as the “joy button”.