Tag Archives: France

Lift the Skirt: Boys protest Sexism

Hundreds of boys in the city of Nantes in France ditched their trousers and came to school wearing skirts Friday as part of a campaign against sexism, despite opposition from conservative groups.

The “Lift the Skirt” initiative, an idea put together by students, saw pupils at 27 schools in the region around Nantes invited to attend school wearing skirts as part of efforts to raise awareness of discrimination and sexism faced by their female classmates. Though entirely optional, plenty of young men arriving for school on Friday morning appeared to have embraced the campaign.

“I borrowed my skirt from my sister,” one boys said. “My mother lent me mine,” added another.

The initiative has enraged certain conservative groups in France and on Thursday a group from the “Manif pour Tous” (Protest for All) group – which began as a movement against France’s legalisation of gay marriage last year – protested outside the Lycée Clemenceau, sparking a confrontation with students. Police stepped in on Friday to prevent clashes after a confrontation between students and a small group of protesters outside the same school.

Via France24, thanks to everyone who submitted the story


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Cupid Playing with a Butterfly
by Antoine-Denis Chaudet (1763 – 1810)

Chaudet went to the seine river in Paris to look for a model for this masterpiece. Approaching the young nude Parisian boys swimming. There was a misunderstanding about what he wanted from a nude young boy. This landed him in jail.


Cupid is portrayed as a naked, unarmed adolescent whose sole attributes are his short wings. He seems to be engrossed in an innocent pastime. His amusement is not as harmless as it seems, though; the butterfly allowing itself to be seduced by his rose symbolizes the soul, Psyche in Greek. Imprisoned by Cupid, the soul soon experiences love’s torments rather than its pleasures. The graceful bas-relief friezes on the base develop the theme: if the butterfly tastes the juice of a basket of flowers, it is pinned down by chubby little cupids, one of whom enslaves it by harnessing it to his chariot. But the soul finally triumphs thanks to the bees: infuriated by the arrows shot at their hive, they swarm all over the cheeky imps. These scenes are inspired by the Idylls of Theocritus (3rd century BC), the most famous Greek poet of the Alexandrian era, and the delicateness of the carving expresses all their bucolic charm.


A School Day?

Kids are going to be kids
Bullying is a natural part of childhood
Bullied kids need to toughen up

These sorts of sentiments are all-too common when the topic of bullying is raised. As a society we often seem to tolerate behaviours and actions directed at children that we wouldn’t accept as adults. Or at least that’s the point that a new, and difficult to watch French advert is making. The video, found below, shows an office worker being tormented by his co-workers through the course of his day. The tagline at the end reads "A work day does not look like this. And a school day?"

While the ad isn’t LGBT specific, there are signs that queer youth in France have particularly been having a difficult time of late. The fight for marriage equality exposed a deep current of homophobia running through the culture of the nation, and France’s only homeless shelter for LGBT youth has seen a dramatic increase in calls, averaging over five hundred a month even now.

As powerful as this video is, and honestly the Gary Jules’ and Michael Andrews’ cover of "Mad World" could make kitten videos tragic, some people may take exception to the fundamental assumption on which it’s based. Too many of us know first-hand that bullying behaviour isn’t limited to children, and the experiences of the video’s protagonist are sadly familiar for many people.

So what do you think? Is this video a good way to show bullying in a context that will get adults’ attention? Does it do a disservice by erasing adults whose work environments are emotionally or physically abusive?

Le Monde en face : Harcèlement à l'école – France 5 (BA)

Article via Bilerico