Sad ! Faced with nags, muzzles, bitterns and other thugs who whistle, fiddle with, brush against, attack women in the metro, they have found a parade: the “subway shirt”. This “technique”, imported from New York, is relayed massively by TikTok and women’s blogs. It consists of putting on a loose, long shirt or a shapeless T-shirt to hide bare legs, a belly, a cleavage and/or a chest. In fact, everything that usually distinguishes a city woman from a city man. The goal: to have peace in public transport
The Parisian theater of seduction is crumbling
A kind of Western chador that endorses the idea that women are in essence temptresses and that men are naturally slaves to their senses. It is therefore women who have the obligation to “desexualize” themselves. If the “subway shirt” can look trendy on social networks, it signs – of course – a defeat. A particularly heavy rout for France and its capital. Hemingway saw “Paris as a party” where women were free of their bodies, their fashions and the skin surface they decided to show or not…
Admittedly Hemingway, bobo before the hour, lived in central Paris. Not in Aubervilliers or Malakoff. Still, it’s true, the whole of Europe before the war of 1914, between the wars, the 1950s and 1960s, dreamed or fantasized about the Parisian theater of seduction and the art of appearance , of free, plural and asserted sexuality. Paris was the sassy cocottes of 1900, Arletty, Coco Chanel, Colette, Sagan, Sarah Bernhardt, Joséphine Baker, Bardot, Emmanuelle…
And now, by an entirely legitimate self-defense reflex, the Parisian should “kaboulize” herself. Putting on a bag from head to toe to neutralize your figure, excuse yourself for being desirable, comely or seductive.
Reverse the load of shame
The defeat is primarily political because the state’s counter-offensives have failed to reverse the meaning of “guilt”. To make sure that it’s not for women to feel “sinful”, but for men to feel the shame running through their veins and on their foreheads when they play the practicing stalker. In short, we failed to return to the famous formula of Albert Camus that he lends to his father in the novel The first man : “A man, that is prevented”.
The strike of justice turns out to be largely ineffective, including with the new sentences: how then to assert a “sexist outrage” in the face of a big clumsy who squeezes you closely with his four equally clumsy friends in a crowded train of the metro at 7 p.m. Gare du Nord? By imposing a fine of 3,750 euros and a prison sentence? By sending an SMS to 31 177 to describe the clumsiness? Good luck !
However, reversing the burden of shame is certainly the right approach: the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin is trying to do so. Thisnq million flyers “for women’s safety and against sexism” by police and gendarmes since May 30. This operation would rather go in the right direction, failing to “solve” a recurring problem since Homo Sapiens.
Well, no: a shower of jeers fell on Darmanin. “It is obviously out of weakness that the Ministry of the Interior comes to announce with a bang, as the summer of 2023 approaches, a measure aimed at distributing flyers to fight against sexism”, reacted in Le Figaro the journalist Noémie Halioua, author of the book “The ones against the others” (editions of Cerf). As if to fight, a little, the age-old scourge without breaking it all at once, was necessarily to show laxity.
It’s silly, but what you have to understand in this exasperation is the rage of the citizens at not always being citizens like the others, but prey, almost fresh flesh as soon as they descend into subway or walk on the sidewalk.
Is it the effect of the “degradation” of morals? Of “Decivilization”? Of the greatest importance of the populations of the southern Mediterranean where women do not experience European legal equality, but suffer from a secondary status? The fault of our cowardice in the face of these attacks in public places? Or thehe salutary result of the greater awareness of women victims who no longer suffer as a fatality but as an attack and, from now on, howl it in opinion polls?
Investigations are overwhelming. In the exciting “Sexism” Barometer (November 2022) of the High Council for Equality between Men and Women, it is essential to read the results of the ViaVoice survey. We must realize this: “9 out of 10 women express a mental load of anticipation of sexist acts and remarks which pushes them to adapt avoidance or renunciation strategies such as going out and doing activities alone (55%), dress as they wish (52%), be careful not to speak too loudly or raise their voices (41%) censor what they say for fear of the reaction of men (40%)”.
How many women have personally felt that they were treated less well on the basis of their gender on the streets and in transport? “57% for women against 15% for men”. And 80% of women have already been afraid to go home alone at night.
A young generation not so aware
Let’s continue this journey in the France of gougnafiers: only 48% of men between 15 and 34 years old consider that the image of women conveyed by pornographic content is “problematic” against 79% of men aged 65 and over. 37% of men are shocked by a work meeting where there are only men compared to 48% of women. 40% of men consider it normal for women to stop working to raise children compared to 27% of women.
And so on… Note, however, that the most appalling results are recorded in the generations between 20 and 35, which does not bode well for the future. On other important items, the reactions are however convergent, whether it is equal pay or the election of a woman to the presidency of the Republic.
There remains this profound alteration in the relationship between men and women. Like a reflex distrust: only 38% of women consider it “acceptable” for a man to approach a woman in the street to offer her a drink. That is 10 points less than among men.
Exit then the surprises and the sociability of the coffee. And forward the between oneself, the predictable, the compartmentalized and socially incestuous sociabilities. Before the “kaboulisation” of the t-shirt-tchador on the metro and RER lines, there was gender segregation. A societal decohabitation of the public space. Sad. Two halves of humanity that decouple. Who “make like”.