Liberty, freedom of expression, and supporting feminism are all positive traits but to pose for the cover of a notorious magazine to make a feminist statement may not sit well with everyone, even the West. Shocking the world with her out-of-box idea, a French government minister appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine and stands by her decision despite much public criticism.
Marlene Schiappa, a 40-year-old feminist cherry picked from obscurity by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, is acquainted and immune to controversies where she triggers rightwingers, and defends her decision to appear — although fully clothed — on the front cover of Playboy.
Apart from local backlash, Schiappa even had the prime minister and leftwing critics raise a brow and believe that she made a mistake with her latest stint. Schiappa's intend to pose for the magazine was to draw attention to her 12-page interview on women's and gay rights as well as abortion.
"Defending the right of women to do what they want with their bodies: everywhere and all the time," Schiappa wrote on Twitter.
"In France, women are free. Whether it annoys the retrogrades and hypocrites or not."
Schiappa's stunt has vexed some of her colleagues in the government office who are already marred by the unending strikes and violent demonstrations against plans to raise the retirement age by two years in France.
The news of Schiappa wearing a designer dresses for the infamous magazine was not only viewed as a wrong message but also leading many people to believe it was an April's Fool prank.
According to multiple media outlets, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, the second woman to occupy the position, told Schiappa to tell her that it "was not at all appropriate, especially in the current period."
Greens MP and fellow women's rights activist Sandrine Rousseau, an outspoken critic of the centrist government, also reportedly said, "where is the respect for the French people?
"People who are going to have to work for two years more, who are demonstrating, who are losing days of salary, who aren't managing to eat because of inflation?" she told the BFM channel discussing the controversy on Saturday. "Women's bodies should be able to be exposed anywhere, I don't have a problem with that, but there's a social context."
Defending itself, the magazine, Playboy, will definitely publish the issue in its French-language edition.
Schiappa was the "most 'Playboy compatible'" of government ministers "because she is attached to the rights of women and she has understood that it's not a magazine for old machos but could be an instrument for the feminist cause," editor Jean-Christophe Florentin told international media outlets.
"Playboy is not a soft porn magazine but a 300-page quarterly 'mook' (a mix of a book and a magazine) that is intellectual and on trend," Florentin added, also admitting there were "still a few undressed women but they're not the majority of the pages."
#EmmanuelMacron dans #pifgadget #MarleneSchiappa dans #Playboy— Jean Lassalle (@jeanlassalle) April 1, 2023
A quand #ElisabethBorne dans #Youpimag? #ÉricDupontMoretti dans le #journaldeMickey ? Pendant ce temps-là des millions de Français continuent à se mobiliser contre la réforme des retraites#demission #dissolution pic.twitter.com/rYRTgcotjD
On her professional front, Schiappa is a regular on French TV talk shows. She is accredited with bringing in legislation outlawing catcalling and street harassment while serving as equalities minister in 2018. The mother-of-two was also prolific author and blogger highlighting the challenges of motherhood, women's health, and pregnancy. Schiappa also aunthored a book that offered intimacy tips for the plus size people which critics viewed as propagating stereotypes, in 2010.
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