French Female Journalists Expose Lecherous Politicians Through An Open Letter
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NEW DELHI: Tired of sexual comments and gender stereotyping characteristic of French Politicians, 40 female journalists of the country collectively wrote a letter denouncing the ill-mannered politicos in the newspaper Liberation on Tuesday.
Titled "Get Your Paws Off Me", the letter lists out demeaning remarks faced by these journalists in the line of duty, at the hands of thick-skinned old men of politics.
These include an acutely disparaging comment by a lawmaker who upon witnessing a female journalist waiting in National Assembly when he said, "Ah, but you're on the game, hustling for a client," comparing her to a prostitute.
Another instance figures a minister's advisor asking a journalist who had returned from holiday, if she was "tanned all over".
The letter exposes many more "lewd paternalistic" comments hurled towards female journalists, disparaging them and hurting their pride.
One scribe, a signatory to the letter, recounts how her peers were photographed sleeping during a flight on last Presidential election. While another writes about the fondness for a certain female anatomical part by a "friend of the President", when he said, "journalists are much more interesting when they have big breasts."
The French politicians have long been accused of having a condescending outlook towards their women counterparts and in general as well. This attitude came forth bursting on the scene first with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex scandal in 2012, though the charges were dropped later , but not without causing a shaming exposé of the rampant use of women as 'deal sweetners' among the high-flyers.
DSK, as the IMF Chief was known in France, was expected to announce himself as a Presidential hopeful when the scandal broke out, and extinguished all such desires.
Their was another incident which was reported widely in the French media in 2012 when Housing Minister, Cecile Duflot was hooted by her male peers when she addressed the parliament in a floral dress.
The harsh criticism faced by DSK back then by the international media inspired a feeling of 'eqaulite' among the female journalists and roused them to believe that such nonchalant sexism will be ended now, only to be dismayed by its recurrence time and again.
"We thought that the DSK case had shifted the line and that chauvinist attitudes were on the verge of extinction. Alas!" read the letter.
"The petition was signed by 16 reporters from the main French media houses including Libération itself, Le Monde and Le Parisien newspapers, Radio France International and Agence France Presse", reported France 24.
The rest decided to remain incognito considering the nature and sensitivity of their profession.