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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Right Wing in France - Editorial from Le Monde: Speaking While Female

French blame "boozy dinners" for the following outburst, while Americans can easily draw parallels with our own discriminatory political quagmires.

In fact, right wing extremism is becoming as infectious as the highly contagious avian flu H1N1. 

Even Socialist France is reporting an outbreak. Le Monde, the French daily newspaper, writes the following editorial reprinted in "Best Columns of Europe", reported in the October 25th The Week and also in MailOnline News:

"Heckled for speaking while female"

From The Week: "Being rude to a colleague on the floor of the (French) National Assembly should bring more than just a slap on the wrist, said Le Monde. Last week, when Veronique Massonneau, a deputy from the Green Party, spoke on a pension reform bill, Philippe Le Ray of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) began heckling her by clucking like a chicken. He refused to stop, even after an irate Massonneau snapped,"I am not a hen!". The president of the National Assembly was forced to suspend the session when other male UMP deputies broke out in laughter at Le Ray's "childish and ridiculous" behavior. Le Ray was clearly motivated by sexism playing on the fact that women in France are sometimes referred to derogatorily as "hens". But "Hen-gate" is more than just an example of misogyny. "It reflects a worrying deterioration in the level of public debate."  These days, the Right and Left "trade trade invective more often than they exchange ideas".  If we want to return civility to our discourse, "Le Ray's infantile and irresponsible squawking" should cost him more than a reprimand and a small fine.  Policymakers must be made to grasp "that when public debate degenerates to schoolyard taunts, the insult is to democracy itself".

Veronique Massonneau of the French National Assembly

MailOnline reports the story: Women...staged a walk out from the French parliament after their 'prehistoric' sexist male counterparts made clucking noises to imply that one was just a 'bird'.

Politicians from the ruling Socialist Party organised the protest yesterday, blaming 'boozy dinners' for the sexist culture in the National Assembly.   The worst culprits are said to be the UMP - the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy - who will be particularly concerned by the row, as he contemplates a return to political power.

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A Votre Sante, Veronique Massonneau!

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