French screen actress Catherine Deneuve and 100 French women, including other actresses, performers, writers, directors, and behind-the-scenes workers, have denounced the #MeToo movement in an open letter claiming it’s an affront to sexual freedom and a “witch-hunt.”
In the letter, posted to the French news site, Le Monde, Deneuve accused radical feminists generally, and Hollywood feminists specifically, of adopting a prudish approach to sexual interactions, and warned of a “new Puritanism” threatening to take hold of society, The Dailywire reports.
“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not — nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” the letter says. “Men have been punished summarily or forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”
Deneuve pointed out that both rape and sexual harassment are already crimes, and by making any kind of flirty approach to a woman an automatic case of impropriety, women risk neutering men. “Rape is a crime, but insistent or clumsy flirting is not an offense, nor is gallantry macho aggression,” the women wrote.
Without the “freedom to pester,” the French women point out, interactions between the two sexes suddenly devolve into a “hatred of men and sexuality” that threatens the very nature of the sexual revolution. The women say they consider flirty behavior to be “indispensable to sexual freedom.”
Deneuve and the letter’s signatories may be the first prominent entertainment industry women to call out the #MeToo movement (or, as its known in France the #BalanceTonPorc — “squeal on your pig” — movement) for taking the fight against sexual violence a step too far, warning that a sexual harassment witch hunt can quickly turn from a valuable asset in the fight for equality to a terrifying blacklist designed to end all interaction between men and women.
“Instead of helping women, this frenzy (…) actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty — religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries. 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.”
Radical feminists in France, of course, fought back, accusing Deneuve of lumping sexual violence together with mutually desired, consensual sexual interaction.
“Sexual violence is not ‘intensified flirting,'” they wrote in their own open letter published to France Info. “One means treating the other as your equal, respecting their desires, whatever they may be. The other is treating them as an object at your disposal, paying no attention to their own desires, or their consent.”
They accused Deneuve and her colleagues of being out of touch with “modern” notions of relationships and interactions and of going “too far” in criticizing victims, whom they claim will now be less likely to come forward with accusations of abuse, the Dailywire reported.
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