Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Catherine Deneuve on #MeToo

In the news today, French actress Catherine Deneuve and dozens of her friends and colleagues sent an open letter to the French newspaper Le Monde—for the record, it’s the most serious, least tabloidy French paper—attacking the excesses of the #MeToo movement.

Like Daphne Merkin in the New York Times and yours truly on this blog they are warning against the movement’s excesses. That is, against the effort to regulate human sexual behavior by more legalistic and regulatory means. In the absence of accepted codes of courtship conduct we seem to be heading toward police state tactics. Surely, it is good that women step forth and call Halt!

The New York Times reports this morning:

Catherine Deneuve joined more than 100 other Frenchwomen in entertainment, publishing and academic fields Tuesday in the pages of the newspaper Le Monde and on its website in arguing that the two movements, in which women and men have used social media as a forum to describe sexual misconduct, have gone too far by publicly prosecuting private experiences and have created a totalitarian climate.

“Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression,” the letter, dated Monday, begins. “As a result of the Weinstein affair, there has been a legitimate realization of the sexual violence women experience, particularly in the workplace, where some men abuse their power. It was necessary. But now this liberation of speech has been turned on its head.”

Thus, they are calling for discernment and rational judgment. They oppose those who lump together of felonious rape with trying to steal a kiss. And they object to the notion of trying and convicting the accused men in the media:

They contend that the #MeToo movement has led to a campaign of public accusations that have placed undeserving people in the same category as sex offenders without giving them a chance to defend themselves. “This expedited justice already has its victims, men prevented from practicing their profession as punishment, forced to resign, etc., while the only thing they did wrong was touching a knee, trying to steal a kiss, or speaking about ‘intimate’ things at a work dinner, or sending messages with sexual connotations to a woman whose feelings were not mutual,” they write. The letter, written in French was translated here by The New York Times.

Of course, the movements risk to empower the extremists. The writers denounce reactionaries, but the current movement comes largely, in this country, from the left:

One of the arguments the writers make is that instead of empowering women, the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc movements instead serve the interests of “the enemies of sexual freedom, of religious extremists, of the worst reactionaries,” and of those who believe that women are “‘separate’ beings, children with the appearance of adults, demanding to be protected.” They write that “a woman can, in the same day, lead a professional team and enjoy being the sexual object of a man, without being a ‘promiscuous woman,’ nor a vile accomplice of patriarchy.”

And also,

After describing requests from publishers to make male characters “less sexist” and a Swedish bill that will require people to give explicit consent before engaging in sexual activity, the women write, “One more effort and two adults who will want to sleep together will first check, through an app on their phone, a document in which the practices they accept and those they refuse will be duly listed.”

They advise women not to be so quick to embrace the role of victim. In truth, if you suffer a trauma and hear all around you that this is the worst thing that can ever happen to a human being, the cultural climate will compromise your ability to recover:

 “Accidents that can affect a woman’s body do not necessarily affect her dignity and must not, as hard as they can be, necessarily make her a perpetual victim,” they write. “Because we are not reducible to our bodies. Our inner freedom is inviolable. And this freedom that we cherish is not without risks and responsibilities.”


James said...

I don't know about a lot of things, but I once accidentally saw Catherine Deneuve in "hunger" and didn't need coffee for two weeks and developed a stutter that wouldn't go away for a month and a half.

Anonymous said...


The kind of woman who takes your breath away and cause a normally articulate man to become unable to put two sentences together. I have traveled through a number of countries and I am always amazed at the fact that American women, on the whole, do not know how to be truly sexual and sensual. Sensual, now there is a word that seems to escape most American women. The graceful movements of the hands that has an almost swanlike feeling to it. The eyes, the lips and the movement of the head that are truly exquisite. And that is not to take in to consideration a walk that seems to have an artistic flow to it.
I never had any problem going shopping at the mall with my wife. Finding a nice spot in the middle of the mall and enjoying women who seemed to really love being a woman walk by. I have probably broken every rule in the SJW handbook of sexual harassment, but I don't care. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

Sam L. said...

The NYT printed that? I am amazed! The Feministas must be terribly, horribly ANGRY.

Jack Fisher said...

"I never had any problem going shopping at the mall with my wife."

I am not surprised.

Webutante said...

These are wise, discerning and attractive women who know a thing or two and have been around a block or two. Thanks for posting, Stuart.

Anonymous said...

I got to looking at some new and older pictures of Catherine Deneuve and they all demonstrate that glow of being a woman and loving it. One is struck by the idea that a significant number of women who seem to believe that one cannot be smart, strong, feminine and beautiful all at the same time. It is not a sin to enjoy being feminine.