PARIS — If Americans have long had a certain fascination with Frenchwomen and their attitudes toward matters of love and sex, so too have American views on sex, sexual codes and relationships between men and women intrigued French observers. Simone de Beauvoir was no exception.
In “America Day by Day,” which she wrote during a stay in the United States in 1947, the author observed her Yankee counterparts with a befuddlement that is still shaping sisterly relations across the Atlantic.
“The American woman is a myth,” she wrote. “She is often viewed as a praying mantis who devours her male partner. The comparison is the right one, but it is incomplete.”
In America, Ms. de Beauvoir felt there was a kind of invisible glass wall between men and women, which she didn’t feel existed in France. The way American women dressed, she wrote, was “violently feminine, almost sexual.” They talked about men with almost open animosity: “One evening, I was invited to a girls-only dinner: for the first time in my life, it felt not like a dinner among women, but a dinner ‘without men.’” American women “have only contempt for French women always too happy to please their men and too accepting of their whims, and they are often right about this, but the tension with which they cling to their moral pedestal reveals as big a weakness.”
Ms. de Beauvoir would later go on to write the 20th-century landmark feminist bible “The Second Sex,” and her writings, along with her very rich amorous life (which, notably, included affairs with her students, male and female), continue to shape the views of French feminists today.
There were echoes of Ms. de Beauvoir this week, when a hundred French female public figures, among them the actor Catherine Deneuve and the writer Catherine Millet, signed a public letter published in the daily newspaper Le Monde calling for a more nuanced view on how to tackle sexual harassment than the one advocated by the #MeToo campaign.
“We are talking here about destroying all the ambiguity and the charm of relationships between men and women,” explained the writer Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, who signed the letter, on the BBC. “We are French, we believe in gray areas. America is a different country. They do things in black and white and make very good computers. We don’t think human relationships should be treated like that.” Ms. Moutet sounded like Ms. de Beauvoir: “In America, love is mentioned almost only through hygienic terms. Sensuality is accepted only in a rational way, which is another way of refusing it.”
Like America, France is reeling from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, but in different ways. Initially, many French actresses — Léa Seydoux, for instance — started sharing their own stories publicly. Shortly after the #MeToo campaign appeared on Twitter, the French equivalent, #BalanceTonPorc (Call Out Your Pig), shot to fame and at first proved extremely popular. Women of all walks of life and from various professional backgrounds were calling out sexual predators and inundating Twitter with names of former colleagues or bosses who allegedly harassed them. Men were suspended or fired as a result.
And then, after a few weeks, the tone in France began to shift. Intellectuals began voicing their concerns that such denunciations were going too far. Ms. Deneuve, in a televised interview, declared: “I will certainly not defend Harvey Weinstein. I have never had much consideration for him. I always felt there was something disturbing about him.” However, she said she found extremely shocking “what is happening on social networks around it. It is excessive.” And she wasn’t alone.
There was something about the recent big displays of American sisterhood laid out on the cover of Time magazine, and at the Golden Globes ceremony, where women turned up dressed in black with their “Time’s Up” pins, that seemed to trigger Gallic irritation. In this week’s letter, the signatories worried that the “thought police” were out and that anyone who voiced disagreement would be called complicit and a traitor. They noted that women are not children who need protecting. But there was also this: “We do not recognize ourselves in this feminism,” they said, which “takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality.”
Call it a cliché if you like, but ours is a culture that, for better and for worse, views seduction as a harmless and pleasurable game, dating back to the days of medieval “amour courtois.” As a result, there has been a kind of harmony between the sexes that is particularly French. This does not mean that sexism doesn’t exist in France — of course it does. It also doesn’t mean we don’t disapprove of the actions of men like Mr. Weinstein. What it does mean is that we are wary of things that might disturb this harmony.
And in the past 20 years or so, a new French feminism has emerged — an American import. It has embraced this rather alien brand of anti-men paranoia that Ms. de Beauvoir described; it took control of #MeToo in France, and this same form of feminism has been very vocal against the Deneuve letter. Today, Frenchwomen, too, have the girls’ nights out that Ms. de Beauvoir once found so foreign.
When “America Day by Day” was published, American women were incensed. The novelist Mary McCarthy couldn’t stand the book. “Mademoiselle Gulliver en Amérique,” she wrote, “who descended from the plane as from a space ship, wearing metaphorical goggles: eager as a little girl to taste the rock-candy delights of this materialistic moon civilization.”
Ms. de Beauvoir was in many ways easy to mock: She wrote in a direct, authoritative, self-assured way that may have sounded arrogant to readers unaccustomed to its bluntness. But the epidermic reaction across the Atlantic, to both Ms. de Beauvoir and to that letter, may in fact underscore the sharpness of the French critique. To many of us in France, Simone de Beauvoir could have been writing yesterday: “Relations between men and women in America are one of permanent war. They don’t seem to actually like each other. There seems to be no possible friendship between them. They distrust each other, lack generosity in dealing with one another. Their relationship is often made of small vexations, little disputes, and short-lived triumphs.”
Keywords clouds text link
Dịch vụ seo, Dịch vụ seo nhanh , Thiết kế website , máy sấy thịt bò mỹ thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhome, gương trang trí nội thất cửa kính cường lực Vinhomes Grand Park lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà thegioinhaxuong.net/
|aviatorsgame.com ban nhạc||confirmationbiased.com|
|mariankihogo.com ốp lưng||Giường ngủ triệu gia|
© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.