You’ve seen them before. Those tacky holiday postcards featuring young women with 90s hair, posing in compromising positions in Borat-style bikinis.
Thought they were a thing of the past?
Well it turns out this lewd form of holiday correspondence is still around in France and one feminist association wants it banned from newsstands and souvenir shops for good.
Since last Thursday August 2, France’s Femmes Solidaires group has embarked on a mission to denounce and ban these “sexist and sometimes pornographic” postcards.
The association has also received more than 200 postcards from activists throughout France who are also offended by these “day to day sexism” examples.
“These traditional postcards are available to all, regardless of the age of the customers,” Femmes Solidaires writes.
“They contribute to the culture of the rape which imposes a degrading image of women and legitimises and trivialises violence against women.
“These postcards reinforce the stereotype of women as objects, consumable and disposable under the pretext of leisure and entertainment.”
But for some of French publishing houses under fire, this type of racy post represents an inconsequential part of the postcard market, which in 2015 drew in €400 million in France.
“It's been years since we published those,” publisher Yves Nicolet told French daily 20 Minutes.
“It’s an anecdotal market these days, it doesn’t really affect anyone.”
But for Femmes Solidaires the fact that these postcards are still in circulation is sufficient reason for a complete ban.
“They illustrate the difference in which men and women are viewed and the issue of inequality in the image processing between men and women,” said Sabine Salmon, president of the association.
Femmes Solidaires is calling on Marlène Schiappa -French Secretary of State for Gender Equality – and Françoise Nyssen – Minister of Culture and the High Council for Human Rights – to outlaw their production and distribution.
“We're focusing on the postcards now but we’re fed up with TV and advertising, these same representations are used,” Salmon added.
The group’s campaign comes just days after the French public was left shocked by a video of a woman being punched by a male harasser outside a Paris café.
French lawmakers reacted quickly on Thursday by voting to pass a law which imposes on-the-spot €750 fines on catcallers and wolf-whistlers, as part of a broader crackdown on sexual harassment in public places.