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Giant clitoris sculpture stolen from French university campus… again

The sculpture of a clitoris by a British artist in the University of Poitiers campus grounds - which also host a giant penis statue - has been stolen for the second time.

Giant clitoris sculpture stolen from French university campus... again
The clitoris by British artist Matthew Ellis had already been stolen a year ago. Photo: AFP

The stainless steel structure by Matthew Ellis (pictured below) was unveiled in November 2017 and was first stolen about a year ago.

It was found three weeks later in bushes on the campus in western France. The thieves had sawn through the metal pole upon which the clitoris had stood and took only the upper part of the sculpture.

In the latest theft earlier this month they took the whole lot – the pole, the upper part and even the explanatory plaque.

(AFP)

 

“The university has filed a complaint with police. There is no trace of the artwork,” Marion Babin, of the local feminist group friends of Women and Liberation (LAFl)  which originally commissioned the sculpture, told Charente Libre newspaper.

The clitoris sculpture was installed by the group with the joint aims of illustrating the fight for gender equality on the campus and raising awareness about violence against women.

A spokeswoman for the group said at the time of the unveiling in 2017 that it was strange that the university “could have a giant penis on campus for so long, while the clitoris has only appeared in science textbooks this year.”

The erect penis statue, more than a metre tall, has been on the campus grounds for decades and is occasionally damaged by feminists who denounce it as the symbol of repressive patriarchy.

Officials at Poitiers University contacted by The Local were unable to confirm on Monday that the clitoris statue was still missing.

 
A farmer's crop field in southern France was adorned in 2016 with a giant clitoris in a bid to end the taboo around female sexual pleasure.
 

The 120-metre long explicit crop circle was mowed into a field next to a high school in the village of Montferrier-sur-Lez, close to Montpellier.

The stunt was the work of two sexologists and was aimed at stimulating a debate about the taboo that continues to surround the female sexual organ often referred to as the “joy button”.

It was created of Marie-Noëlle Lanuit and Jean-Claude Piquard.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.
 

 
 
 
Here are some of the key points.
 
1. Everyone hates Parisians
 
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
 
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
 
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
 
 
2. Staycations rule
 
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
 
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
 
 
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
 
3. Northerners like a drink
 
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
 
 
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
 
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
 
 
4. Poverty
 
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
 
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
 
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
 
5. Southern prejudice
 
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
 
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
 
 
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
 
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
 
For more maps that reflect France, head to cartesfrance.fr
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