August 1st, 2014

Translation of the brilliant illustration here:

I’m a little late, but I wanted to post my reaction to the buzzz about these women who take photos of themselves with a sign saying:

“I don’t need feminism because ….”

[Illustration: Brown-haired woman.
Annotation: They don’t all have this “silly goose” expression but they annoy me
Sign: I don’t need feminism because I like making little dishes for my dear boyfriend ♥]


“I don’t need feminism because I like it when a man carries my luggage”


“I don’t need feminism because I like wearing barrettes in my hair”

(OK, OK, I’m stretching a bit. But I told you, they annoy me.)

If you want to read their Tumblr for the lolz (or not) click here

For a long time, “feminism” has been a dirty word.

A few weeks ago, during the release of the film

[Film poster: Sous les jupes des filles, [lit: Under Girls’ Skirts]]

the female director and actresses took great pains to explain that their film about women was absoluuuuutely not…


[Speech bubble: A very beautiful film about women, absolutely not feminist — said Vanessa [Paradis]]

[Speech bubble: No, but like, hello? What? You’re a girl and you’re not a feminist? — Nabila would say]
[ed. Nabila is a minor reality TV star, subject of a meme from her quote – “No, but like, hello? What? You’re a girl and you don’t have shampoo?”]

It seems that asserting the feminism of the film would risk losing millions of cinemagoers and that one can talk about the place of women in society without being feminist. (Really?)

What scares people is imagining that feminists are totally

like this:
[Illustration: Stereotypical short-haired “butch” woman holding a sign – “Hang them!”
Annotation: “armpit hair”]

or like this:
[Illustration: Topless Femen protester with “My body is my freedom” scrawled across her torso]

but not like this:
[Illustration: Smiling long-haired woman wearing a red hat, necklace, green skirt, and heels, riding a city bike]

[Bubbles: Hysterical. Aggressive. Masculine. Ugly. Castrating. Lesbian. etc.]

But, feminism – does it really need to be said again – is not against men, but rather with them, egalitarians in the running of the world.

What’s shocking about the action of these women is that they’re young, white, very WASP-y, and that they have such disdain for a battle which has made them what they are today:

Having the right to vote
and the number of children
that they want
(or none!)

These rich women, from privileged countries, should get their heads out of the sand and observe what’s happening (still!) to their counterparts around the world.

It’s only….

Female circumcision
a totally barbaric custom
which is practised in 29 African countries and which 53,000 girls in France undergo every year

In Guinea, Mauritius, or Egypt, nearly 95% of girls are mutilated!

[Illustration: Woman with her hands on her mouth]

Arranged marriage
which happens to – according to the incredible figure given by Le Monde five days ago – 250 million girls!

[Illustration: Woman holding a sign: “I don’t need feminism because my boyfriend treats me well”]

[Speech bubble: Enough, don’t you feel a little uneasy or anything?]

And these are atrocities committed quite out of sight and out of mind, but in our country, there are male/female inequalities concerning:

– salary (31% pay gap)
– sharing of domestic duties (4 h/day for women, 2.5 h/day for men)
– unemployment (higher for women)
– politics (only 27% of the members of the National Assembly are women)
etc., etc.

In a year, 75,000 rapes occur in France, and women are the victims in 91% of them.

(anti-rape slogan (feminist?))

On street harassment, I advise you to go and read Diglee’s excellent post on the topic.

Like her – and a good number of my girlfriends – I’ve also been a victim of this.

When I arrived in Paris at the age of 20, bright-eyed and naive, I wore tight, tight skirts (and fuchsia sweaters, oh yeah) and smiled all the time, at everyone.

One day as I was climbing the stairs to the metro, I ran across a weird-looking guy who was watching me as he rolled up his magazine.

[Illustration: Woman in skirt walking up stairs, man with magazine walking down stairs]

And… believe it or not … I smiled at him!!!

Except that, two seconds later, he walked behind me to slap me on the butt with his magazine!

[Illustration: Magazine hitting butt]

How humiliating.

I hadn’t even done anything.

(Unless wearing a skirt and smiling made me RESPONSIBLE) <-- something that certain people think Honestly, what happened afterwards - I sobbed for hours. [Illustration: Woman crying] At that time, I experienced other aggressions like this, clearly misogynist or sexual in nature. One of the most memorable - after the encounter with the magazine - was the time when a hobo sat close to me in the metro and in the two stations before I could get off (what seemed like an eternity to me), he shouted things like: "I'm sure this one ain't wearing underwear under that skirt, I'll stick my fingers in 'er to be sure!" It was the longest three minutes of my life, all the worse because the people around me seemed incredibly interested by the ceiling or their shoes. I stopped wearing skirts then, and when I dared to wear them again, I was 35 and the cloth went past my knees. (Because - just between us - I learned that after 30, one experiences a lot - well, a lot less - of these kinds of things) And if today I would have yelled louder to defend myself, at that time I was in a mute stupor to find myself considered like a [Illustration: vase with flowers Annotation: Although it seems you don't hit flower pots...] This revelation, it puts a feminist soul in you for your whole life. But above and beyond this rejection of an essential battle for equality, what I notice is a striking re-emergence of the boy/girl opposition. Whether it's in fashion, books, or school (the polemic about the ABC's of equality). You get the impression that they want all little boys to be superheroes and all little girls to be princesses. The pressure is so strong that the same fear is found in the parents. On a Sunday not long ago, my daughter and her cousin (a boy) were playing next to a fairy tale castle: [Illustration: Castle] A little boy ran up [Illustration: Boy running up. Speech bubble: Wanna play with thaaaat!] before his father quickly stopped him [Illustration: Boy held back. Speech bubble: NO! It's for girls] And even though the mother protested (meekly) by pointing out my daughter's cousin [Speech bubble: But look, there's another little boy playing....] Her little boy had to leave, reluctantly. (NB: My daughter's cousin was the ONLY little boy to be found there) A few days ago, in the metro (the metro is a great place to discover urban wildlife) a little boy sitting next to me was particularly interested by (attracted to?) my sparkling bag. [Illustration: Woman and boy sitting on metro seat. She is carrying a purse. Annotation: Highly sparkly studded bag, golden boots (I have to admit that I'm really into glitter right now)] He just wanted to touch my bag, which naturally didn't bother me at all. Until his mother, sitting across from us, intervened: [Illustration: Mother of boy. Speech bubble: Nathan, don't touch! Speech bubble: Anyway, sparkles are for girls!!!] I didn't have the time to protest because they got off at the next station. But seriously, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?! Was she afraid that her son would turn gay if he touched the golden pieces of my handbag? Is it dangerous for boys to like sparkles? It's definitely not the view of my friend Jérémy who wears moustaches AND sparkles every night [Illustration: Jérémy Caption: Yeah yeah, like Conchita] As long as we are still being told that men and women are "not the same" - as if there were only one way to be a man and one way to be a woman - and that people are not equal, from any point of view, just because of their sexual attributes, we need feminism. Even if those who have forgotten what they owe their forebears don't like it.

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