In the wake of the rampaging sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood, French actress Catherine Deneuve is taking a different tack, saying that men should be “free to hit on” women.
“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not – nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” said Deneuve.
According to The Guardian, Deneuve and 100 other French women who work in arts and media, wrote an open letter in French newspaper, Le Monde, shutting down the “denunciations” following Harvey Weinstein’s plethora of rape and sexual assault allegations. In the letter, the women claim the “witch-hunt” following Weinstein’s allegations is a threat to sexual freedom.
“Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss,” the letter reads.
The letter also attacks the popular feminist social media campaign #MeToo, along with the French counterpart campaign, #BalanceTonPorc (Call out your pig), claiming that these campaigns have turned “legitimate protest against the sexual violence that women are subject to, particularly in their professional lives,” into a witch hunt.
“After ‘calling out your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘call out your whore’?”
“I don’t think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive,” Deneuve said about the #MeToo movement. “After ‘calling out your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘call out your whore’?”
The Oscar-nominated actress, who is best known for her role in the 1967 international classic, “Belle de Jour,” in which she played a bored housewife who turned tricks in a brothel, signed the letter with other signatories such as Catherine Millet, the French author and art critic, known for her explicit 2001 bestseller, “The Sexual Life of Catherine M.”
“Instead of helping women, this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries,” the signatories say in the letter.
“As women we do not recognize ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality.”
The letter goes on to say that women are “sufficiently aware that the sexual urge is by its nature wild and aggressive. But we are also clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack.”