Some are calling it the latest case of American puritanism, “far from French ways,” and reminding the French public that, at least in France, employees and bosses are free to date and protected by their right to privacy.
France is generally a very tolerant country when it comes to intimate relationships. The Paris Court of Appeal even recently acknowledged that an accident during sexual intercourse in the context of a business trip could be considered a workplace accident.
In the U.S.
, McDonald’s decision to act was interpreted as the sign of a concern for workplace issues that have come to light in the #MeToo era. But in France, the company’s rule not to date “employees who have a direct or indirect reporting relationship to each other” is seen as anti-freedom, including sexual freedom.
In the 1960s and ’70s, the women‘s rights battles in France, such as the fight for contraception or the right to have an abortion, gave women full control of their bodies and determination over their sexual lives for the first time.
It’s the ’70s really, the idea that in sex and sexuality they will find the heart of subversion.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images, FILE
Therefore, to exclude sex from the workplace as a means of protecting women is perceived as an exclusion from the sexual realm that they fought so hard to have access to, thereby reducing them again to the status of objects who need protection from men.
“We are putting walls in places where it is not necessary,” Rudisuhli said.
Rudisuhli voiced the concern that women in France risk being victimized in the wake of the #MeToo movement and reduced to an inferior position of needing protection, in the sexual realm as well as in the workplace.
“I come back from the United States,” said Rudisuhli, “and when I hear an old friend introduce me to her boyfriend, she tells me she found him via apps.
For Margaux Collet, a consultant on gender issues in the workplace, this is a fantasy. She sees a tendency to caricature American behaviors regarding these issues in order to point to the United States as an extreme in order to preserve “French seduction, the rapports of coquetry, French gallantry.
“There really is an urban legend that in the U.S.
The French archetype of female freedom was recently promoted by a lingerie brand‘s campaign called “The French Liberté.” On posters plastered on buses all over Paris, the free Frenchwoman is seen as white, thin and sexy in a bikini.
She owns “French sexiness,” as quoted in the advertising campaign.
As such, she is not expected to ask for her boss’ demotion if he flirts with her, nor hide her newly freed body under a veil. This may also be one of the reasons for France’s concern with hijab regulations.
<img style="max-width: 670px" src="http://www.
jpg” />Thibault Camus/AP
French journalist Sandra Muller gives a press conference, in Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019.
While Time Magazine voted her “Person of the year” for starting her own #MeToo movement called #BalanceTonPorc and speaking out against a French TV executive she accused of sexual harassment, New York-based French journalist Sandra Muller was fined €20,000 ($22,000) for defamation in France in September.
She accused the director of the movie that she was in when she was between 12 and 15 years old of forcibly kissing her on the neck and touching her thighs and breasts.
She spoke plainly of the “power relationship” and of “the hold” he had on her.
” The award-winning actress confessed to French media Mediapart that only after watching the U.S.
documentary “Leaving Neverland” did she decide to talk to a journalist.
S. for much longer than in France.
But it’s an easy solution for companies to simply ban.”
“There isn’t a need for McDonald’s regulations in France,” Muller agreed. “Not because it is less puritan, but because of the existence of strong bodies within companies that are here to represent employee interests, contrary to the U.
She created WeWorkSafe, an NGO that encourages companies to enact training sessions and stronger alert procedures.
For Vergès, “we can only be in favor” of “resolutions that ensure that these power relations are not suffered,” But she agrees that a ban is not enough to change cultural attitudes.
In the French militant movements, she sees suspicions about the systematic response to being sanctioned. Will the law finally solve everything? Is it going to change social relationships? Incarceration — or in this case, a layoff — may be a prop, not a long-term solution.