Ah, France. The land that brought the world Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite, tongue kissing and stinky cheese also gifted us chauvinism, Nazi collaboration and, um, stinky cheese. Ok, that bit about Nazi collaboration is a low blow, but I’m not taking back the part about stinky cheese. I mean, do you know about epoisses? It’s a cheese that smells so bad it is banned from public transportation.
But I digress. Awhile back, I wrote about the new sexual harassment law winding it’s way through the French legislature. You can find that post here. In the wake of the Dominic Strauss-Kahn scandal, sexual harassment and the sexual abuse of women in French society became a very hot topic, and there was much discussion and many demonstrations, and, ultimately, out of all of that came a new and improved sexual harassment law that makes prosecution (ayup, it’s a criminal offense in France) easier. The National Assembly was scheduled to vote on the new law this week so guess what happened when the Minister of Housing, Cécile Duflot, stood up to speak before that august legislative body? The “male legislators broke out in hooting and catcalls.”
Can you imagine this happening in the US? Probably not, because Duflot’s counterpart in American government is this guy, but my point still stands. The unintentional hilarity continued when one of the assemblyman explained
“We weren’t booing or whistling at Cécile Duflot. We were admiring,” Patrick Balkany, of the conservative opposition UMP, told the newspaper Figaro.
Yes! Treating a cabinet minister like she’s the entertainment at a bachelor party is a freaking compliment!