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FEMINISM

Why are French women posting pictures of their cleavage on Twitter?

Selfies of French women posing in bikinis, vests and strapless tops have flooded Twitter. But what has prompted les francaises to 'get it out' for social media?

Why are French women posting pictures of their cleavage on Twitter?
Photo: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos
How did it all start?
 
It began when one Frenchwoman hit back at insults over her cleavage by posting a picture of herself wearing a low-cut top.
 
More than 4,000 people “liked” the tweet posted last week by a young woman who works in a laboratory, according to her Twitter profile, and has 444 followers.
   
“So, according to the guy I just passed in the street, this top makes me look like 'a dirty whore' … mate, my breasts and I say fuck you,” the woman posted, alongside a photograph of herself wearing a stripy, low-cut vest (see tweet below).
 
   
 
So, why did other women start posting cleavage selfies?
 
After the initial outpouring of sympathy, the tweet prompted a flood of selfies of women posing in bikinis, vests and strapless tops alongside the hashtag #JeKiffeMonDecollete (I love my cleavage).
 
A woman going by M Claire posted a photo of herself wearing a blue and pink vest, with the caption “#ILoveMyCleavage too. And my husband loves it. To anyone who's not happy about that – too bad”.
   
“#ILoveMyCleavage because I'm a free woman, because our grandmothers fought for our freedom,” another user identified as Marie D'Ange wrote, with a photo 
of her low-cut red top.
   
“My breasts and I beat cancer, and we didn't do it to get hassle,” said FeeNeante.
 
 
 
What does the law say about sexual harassment?
   
Last August, French lawmakers passed a new law making sexual harassment in the street punishable with on-the-spot fines.
 
The law covers behaviour including comments on a woman's looks or clothing, catcalling, intrusive questions and stalking.
 
 
But it's not just about bare skin…
 
The onset of high summer temperatures has revived the debate around women's clothing, but that doesn't just go for women who are wearing fewer clothes. 
   
The controversial burkini, which was at the centre of a standoff in several seaside towns three years ago — some towns banned the garment, claiming it was a security threat, only to have the bans later overturned by a court — made waves again on Monday.
   
Right-wing politicians, including National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, hit out at the Islamic full-body swimsuit after a group of burkini-clad activists took a plunge in a public swimming pool Sunday in the southeastern city of Grenoble. 
 
The women are demanding that public pools, which currently require men to wear swim briefs and women to wear bikinis or one-piece swimsuits, change their regulations to accommodate burkini wearers.
   
Le Pen demanded that local authorities stand firm on pool attire.
   
“It's time to say loud and clear that the burkini has no place in France,” Le Pen tweeted.
   
The centre-right head of the greater Paris region, Valerie Pecresse, also warned against normalising full-body swimsuits.
 
“If we accept the burkini, in a few years, all the young girls from poor neighbourhoods will be bathing covered up, for moral reasons or to protect their reputations,” she told Radio Classique.
   
Enforcing traditional swimsuits was necessary to “leave women free”, she argued.

Member comments

  1. “Enforcing traditional swimsuits was necessary to “leave women free”, she argued.”
    Has she ever thought that women who wear burkinis might just choose to wear one because they feel more comfortable doing so?

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FEMINISM

Strike calls in France on International Women’s Day

Men and women are being called on to finish work at 3.40pm on Monday to highlight the gender pay gap, one of many actions and demonstrations taking place around France to mark International Women's Day.

Strike calls in France on International Women's Day
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Several organisations and unions are calling for a strike to denounce pay inequality.

“On March the 8th, we will be on strike along with women all over the world to refuse to pay the price of the crisis with our jobs, our salaries, our bodies,” several unions including the CGT, FSU and Solidaires said in a press conference.

The objective is to denounce the gender pay gap that continues to impair women’s rights, but also to denounce the unfair burden that the past year’s health crisis has put on women.

“The lockdowns have been very heavy burdens on women for the past year, whether it’s in the health, work or home environments, increase in domestic violence. Not to mention the large amount of predominantly female jobs that have continued to maintained a level of normality during the lockdown,” the co-secretary general of FSU, Murielle Guilbert, told Les Echos.

The below map shows the actions planned around the country on Monday.

In Paris, a demonstration will start in Port-Royal at 1pm and move towards the Place de la République.

Organisations including Osez le féminisme, Les Effrontées and Unef have called women as well as men to go on strike on Monday from 3:40pm, in order to denounce the gender pay gap.

For a full list of actions around the country, click here.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been criticised by a junior minister for having only one woman among his closest advisers.

“I told him ‘Mr President, you are not giving a good example,” Elisabeth Moreno, a junior minister in charge of gender equality, told French media on Sunday.

She declined to say how the 43-year-old reacted, but she praised him for making gender equality a public priority and for ensuring balanced governments throughout his time in office.

Every cabinet since Macron came to power in 2017 has featured equal numbers of men and women, although both prime ministers have been male and the majority of the top cabinet jobs are currently held by men.

Macron has also been criticised for appointing Gérald Darmanin as his interior minister – the man nominally in charge of the country’s police force – while he is under investigation for rape.

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