Macho Macho Men
Male chauvinism roared its ugly head here in Paris this week and this time it showed up in the National Assembly, the political home of France’s elected officials. Here, in the gold and red sumptuously decorated meeting room, these guys (and a few women) are supposed to handle serious debates about the present and future of the French citizens who respected them enough to choose them as representatives. Well, this week, they really blew it. With just one whistle (literally) they blew all that respect out the National Assembly window.
The scene that inspired this macho manifestation was a simple one; it was really business-as-usual. The Minister of Housing Equality, Mme Cecile Duflot, rose to address the Assembly. As she approached the microphone and tried to speak, she was greeted with whistles and jeers from masculine members of the Assembly, from the right and left alike (but mostly from the right). It seems Mme Duflot was wearing a dress – yes, that’s correct.
The Minister was fully clothed in a modest dress that covered everything that needed to be covered. So why all the fuss? Well, my own personal opinion is that, in their childhood, when French politicians hit puberty, their growth was stunted. By growth I mean the part of their brain that governs dignity, respect and honor. That part stayed in the seventh grade. They manage to hide it most of the time, but once in a while, when you least expect it, the 13-year-old stupid adolescent they thought they used to be, shows up and embarrasses the entire country (not them remember, they’re 13 – they don’t care).
And the Point Is…?
What’s the use of France putting more women in office (half of the country’s ministers are female) if the rest of the Assembly members are going to treat them like children? Does it fill some kind of entertainment quota? Are the men listening or laughing when the female ministers speak? How can they possibly get down to matters at hand and rule the country if something as commonplace as a flowered dress tickles their funny bones?
There was even a deputy who defended the hisses by saying that there were “admirative” ones. He added that if the Mme Duflot was that sensitive and couldn’t handle it, then she should stay out of politics. Wow! Let’s just add a bit of macho arrogance to their adolescent behavior – the true colors of French male politicians are not pretty.
By the way, these men, these same men, are the ones who are deliberating and voting on the sexual harassment legislation that will soon become effective in France. This is a pretty scary thought, scary because it’s true. If they can treat a Minister so lightly and laugh right in her face, then I’m guessing they are not highly motivated to come up with a fair and just sexual harassment law. What 13-year-old thinks everyone is created equal?
Order in the House
The President of the Assembly had to use his gavel to call the legislative body to order. He hammered it on the table saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, actually gentlemen, silence please.” Mme Duflot was astonished, but kept her cool. She spoke but I’m sure no one was listening. (They were probably already tweeting their mistresses about the incident.) One critic said that a high percentage of male French politicians are still living in the 19th century. I disagree. Like I said, they didn’t stay in the 19th century, they stayed in 7th grade.