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Sarkozy, Feminist

But equality just isn't enough.

By Petrarch  |  July 17, 2008

Insofar as most Americans think about French politics at all, it's generally with an attitude of ridicule or even contempt.

When the French refused to join Bush's "coalition of the willing" for the Iraq invasion, French fries and French toast on the Congressional cafeteria menus were notoriously renamed "freedom" fries and "freedom" toast.  Former Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin earned his footnote in history by pointing out that "Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordion.  You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind."  Stereotypes of French tastes even played a role in the 2004 election, with John "French" Kerry appearing in parody posters dressed in a beret or being lauded by fruitcakes with French accents for his liberal, European views.

Then came last year's election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the French Presidency.  In a way, he was the mirror image of John Kerry: as Kerry was bashed for his "French" preferences, Sarkozy's opponents branded him "Sarko l'Américain," or Sarko the American.  This slur didn't seem quite as effective, though, since Sarkozy won the election.  Since then, he has scandalized Europe by vacationing - shock! horror! - in the United States of all places, and even siding with those bloodthirsty Americans on a number of international issues.

He does, however, remain a Frenchman.  Once upon a time, the French media was as deferential to the private practices of its politicians as the American media used to be.  John F. Kennedy's fun and games with Marilyn Monroe and other ingenues were not "fit to print" during his lifetime.

French Presidents have always had illegitimate children; but Francois Mitterrand had an entire illegitimate family that he actually lived with while in office, that the French media never saw fit to mention.

Times have changed, though.  Almost Sarkozy's first official act was to divorce his wife Cécilia - who he'd met and started romancing when he officiated at her wedding to someone else when he was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine.  All this was prominently published in the news, just as is now done in the rest of the world.

Following his divorce, he didn't waste much time alone; he started an even more public pursuit of model and singer Carla Bruni.  A less likely Presidential mate would be difficult to imagine: she has made such interesting remarks as stating that marriage is boring, sung the praises of enjoying multiple partners, and been photographed regularly in the nude.  What wouldn't pass here in the U.S., or even in England, seems to be no problem in France; Sarkozy and Carla were married last year, whatever that may mean.

As apparently befits the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has a keen appreciation for the fair sex.  He made an interesting remark in his acceptance speech after winning the election - one which was not included in the official released version of the speech, but which can be heard in recordings of it and translated transcripts therefrom:


France will not abandon women condemned to wear a full burqa, France will not abandon women who are deprived of freedom.  [emphasis added]

One can easily imagine why the husband of Carla Bruni would or would not want to sentence her to a burqa even if he could, but the issue of Islamic sharia law is a hot one in France.  We've previously reported how Islamic sensibilities of marriage are causing problems for French divorce law.  Where does tolerance of others end; where does allowing others to oppress you begin?

And here, a valuable lesson in dealing with both sides can be learned from Nicolas Sarkozy.  Feminists are our most rational allies in fighting creeping Islamism; after all, the ladies pay by far the harshest penalties in loss of freedom and dignity under strict Sharia.  In his call for supporting women's rights, Sarkozy not only underscored France's glorious history of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", but reminded feminists as to which side of the battle they ought to be on.

At the same time, Sarkozy knows full well that, as the French say, "Vive la différence!"  Even Time magazine discovered last decade that men and women are different, and might even be born that way; the French figured this out some centuries back.

Yet we still find feminists demanding that women and men are just the same and should be treated accordingly.  Hillary's campaign was supposedly all about piercing the last glass ceiling - even though nobody is allowed to say so.  What to do?

So, comes the recent political event of France assuming the rotating presidency of the EU.  Sarkozy decided to mark the occasion by sending a gift-box to each member of the French parliament.  Male and female alike, all received exactly the same present, in a gesture of perfect equality, to say nothing of fraternity and liberty.

And, sure enough, as the BBC reported:

The French president has irritated female members of parliament by sending them what they say is an ill-judged gift to mark France's EU presidency.  Nicolas Sarkozy's office sent a sleek black case to all MPs, male and female, including a pale grey tie.  Socialist MP Aurelie Filippetti proclaimed it "yet more proof of male chauvinism in the political class". [emphasis added]

No matter how equally you treat them, there's just no pleasing some people!  Maybe Ms. Filippetti is jealous of how Carla Bruni's style charmed the British from the queen on down during their recent state visit.  Do you suppose, perhaps, men and women really are different, and that it's just as well?