100 French writers, performers and academics including Catherine Denueve defend 'freedom to seduce'

The letter begins: “Rape is a crime. But a persistent or clumsy come-on is not a crime, nor is gallantry a form of macho aggression.”

In an open letter published on Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde, around 100 French female writers, performers and academics have defended the "freedom to seduce", reacting to Oprah Winfrey's "Time's Up" speech at the Golden Globes, as well as the #metoo campaign and what they see as society's "new puritanism".

The signatories of the letter include author Catherine Millet, who published her explicit sexual memoir The Sexual Life of Catherine M in 2002; writer Abnousse Shalmani, who previously compared feminism to Stalinism; anti-feminist philosopher Peggy Sastre, and many others cultural figures from France.

The letter has sparked a renewed discussion about the nature of sexual harassment since publication. It was roundly condemned by figures from the French feminist community. A group of 30 prominent activists, led by Caroline De Haas, responding with a critique of the letter on Wednesday. Deconstructing the major assertions of the letter, Caroline De Haas' response rebukes some of the misconceptions of the letter, as well as some its deliberately misleading arguments. Read it in full here.

Read the full letter here:

"Rape is a crime. But trying to pick up someone, however persistently or clumsily, is not — nor is gallantry an attack of machismo.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal sparked a legitimate awakening about the sexual violence that women are subjected to, particularly in their professional lives, where some men abuse their power. This was necessary. But what was supposed to liberate voices has now been turned on its head: We are being told what is proper to say and what we must stay silent about — and the women who refuse to fall into line are considered traitors, accomplices!

Just like in the good old witch-hunt days, what we are once again witnessing here is puritanism in the name of a so-called greater good, claiming to promote the liberation and protection of women, only to enslave them to a status of eternal victim and reduce them to defenseless preys of male chauvinist demons.

Ratting out and calling out

In fact, #MeToo has led to a campaign, in the press and on social media, of public accusations and indictments against individuals who, without being given a chance to respond or defend themselves, are put in the exact same category as sex offenders. This summary justice has already had its victims: men who’ve been disciplined in the workplace, forced to resign, and so on., when their only crime was to touch a woman’s knee, try to steal a kiss, talk about "intimate" things during a work meal, or send sexually-charged messages to women who did not return their interest.

This frenzy for sending the "pigs" to the slaughterhouse, far from helping women empower themselves, actually serves the interests of the enemies of sexual freedom, the religious extremists, the reactionaries and those who believe — in their righteousness and the Victorian moral outlook that goes with it — that women are a species "apart," children with adult faces who demand to be protected.

Men, for their part, are called on to embrace their guilt and rack their brains for "inappropriate behavior" that they engaged in 10, 20 or 30 years earlier, and for which they must now repent. These public confessions, and the foray into the private sphere or self-proclaimed prosecutors, have led to a climate of totalitarian society.

The purging wave seems to know no bounds. The poster of an Egon Schiele nude is censored; calls are made for the removal of a Balthus painting from a museum on grounds that it’s an apology for pedophilia; unable to distinguish between the man and his work, Cinémathèque Française is told not to hold a Roman Polanski retrospective and another for Jean-Claude Brisseau is blocked. A university judges the film Blow-Up, by Michelangelo Antonioni, to be "misogynist" and "unacceptable." In light of this revisionism, even John Ford (The Searchers) and Nicolas Poussin (The Abduction of the Sabine Women) are at risk.

Already, editors are asking some of us to make our masculine characters less "sexist" and more restrained in how they talk about sexuality and love, or to make it so that the "traumas experienced by female characters" be more evident! Bordering on ridiculous, in Sweden a bill was presented that calls for explicit consent before any sexual relations! Next we’ll have a smartphone app that adults who want to sleep together will have to use to check precisely which sex acts the other does or does not accept.

The essential freedom to offend

Philosopher Ruwen Ogien defended the freedom to offend as essential to artistic creation. In the same way, we defend a freedom to bother as indispensable to sexual freedom.

Today we are educated enough to understand that sexual impulses are, by nature, offensive and primitive — but we are also able to tell the difference between an awkward attempt to pick someone up and what constitutes a sexual assault.

Above all, we are aware that the human being is not a monolith: A woman can, in the same day, lead a professional team and enjoy being a man’s sexual object, without being a "whore" or a vile accomplice of the patriarchy. She can make sure that her wages are equal to a man’s but not feel forever traumatized by a man who rubs himself against her in the subway, even if that is regarded as an offense. She can even consider this act as the expression of a great sexual deprivation, or even as a non-event.

As women, we don’t recognize ourselves in this feminism that, beyond the denunciation of abuses of power, takes the face of a hatred of men and sexuality. We believe that the freedom to say "no" to a sexual proposition cannot exist without the freedom to bother. And we consider that one must know how to respond to this freedom to bother in ways other than by closing ourselves off in the role of the prey.

For those of us who decided to have children, we think that it is wiser to raise our daughters in a way that they may be sufficiently informed and aware to fully live their lives without being intimidated or blamed."

Incidents that can affect a woman’s body do not necessarily affect her dignity and must not, as difficult as they can be, necessarily make her a perpetual victim. Because we are not reducible to our bodies. Our inner freedom is inviolable. And this freedom that we cherish is not without risks and responsibilities.

 

Related Articles

Nadine Coyle Cancels Tour

"It's not meant to be," says the singer of her decision to pull the plug on a planned tour.

Read More

Avicii's Family Releases Statement

In a moving message, the DJ's family has thanked fans and fellow musicians for the overwhelming messages of love and support. "We are so grateful for everyone who loved Tim’s music and have precious memories of his songs."

Read More

The Trip To Tipp is back!

Yep, rock 'n' roll is returning to Semple Stadium in September, albeit in a posher fashion than before!

Read More

Christine And The Queens announce RDS Dublin show

Brace yourself for some serious Gallic pop cool in November!

Read More

NEWSFLASH: The Rolling Stones release 'Lucky Dip' tickets for Croke Park

Young Irish guns The Academic have been announced as the opening act!

Read More

Lykke Li Drops New Songs

Prior to her upcoming gig at Malahide Castle with LCD Sound System on 5 June, Swedish songwriter Lykke Li has just released her new single “deep end” and an additional track “hard rain”.

Read More

Digital Age Of Consent Should Be Set At 16, says Labour Party

Labour Party Justice Spokesperson Seán Sherlock has reiterated that his party supports and will seek to set the digital age of consent at 16,

Read More

TD Reports Removal of 8th Posters To Gardaí

Jan O’Sullivan has referred the removal of Labour Party posters on the Referendum to Repeal the Eighth to the Gardaí in Limerick City.

Read More

Charities Regulators Have Questions To Answer Over Removal Of Repeal Mural

The removal of the Maser Repeal the 8th mural at the Project Arts Centre is being described as an "affront to democracy and freedom of expression".

Read More

Star of Dexter's New TV Series To Air In May

Streaming giants Netflix has announced the launch date for upcoming drama, 'Safe', starring Michael C Hall of 'Dexter' and 'Six Feet Under' fame

Read More

Tributes Pour In For 'Mini Me' Star

Paying tribute, Verne Troyer's Austin Power co-star Mike Meyers said: "Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed."

Read More

Remembering Prince

As fans commemorate the second anniversary of Prince's passing, the likes of Lianne Le Havas, Janelle Monáe, Ani Di Franco, Simon Le Bon and former New Power Generation drummer John Blackwell reflected on both the man and the myth. Raiding the archives: Stuart Clark.

Read More

Avicii: The Swedish DJ is Dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, died at age 28 on Friday, April 20.

Read More

Stream Steamboat's in-store gigs for Record Store Day here!

Stream all the action as Little Hours, Windings, Zombie Picnic, Flag Listeners, Paddy Hanna and Inner City Radio perform in Steamboat as part of the Record Store Day celebrations.

Read More

Steamboat Limerick are gearing up for a massive Record Store Day tomorrow

The largest selection of Record Story Day stock in Munster, as well as some amazing in-store gigs. What's not to like?

Read More

MY VINYL SELFIE: Conor Wynne from Otherkin

On the eve of Record Store Day, Conor models this slinky Massive Attack number, and tells us why the band insisted on there being a 12" version of their debut album...

Read More

WATCH: Prince's lost original version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' has been found!

Check out the stunning performance ahead of its May 25 vinyl release!

Read More

Prince's Estate Launches New Website In His Memory

The Prince Estate has launched a new site for fans to showcase what Prince means to them.

Read More

Calls For Revenue “lo call” 1890 Number To Be Scrapped

A 30 min daytime call to an 1890 number from a Vodafone or Three mobile would cost €9.00- €13.50, according to Money Guide Ireland.

Read More

Irish Govt. "Still At Sea" On Need For Greater Social Media Transparency

Government is failing to get to grips with the need for new transparency measures on social media in order to protect the democratic process, warns Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Technology, James Lawless TD.

Read More

Repeal the 8th Described As "Workers' Rights Issue"

The Repeal the 8th movement has been strengthened by the news that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is now vocally supporting the campaign.

Read More

Leo Varadkar To Address Repeal the 8th Rally

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris will both address a pro-choice rally in Temple Bar this weekend.

Read More

Big Tom's Funeral To Take Place This Morning

At 11.00am this morning, the funeral mass for the late Big Tom McBride will be celebrated in Saint Patrick’s Church, Oram, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.

Read More

Daniel O'Donnell To Make Guest Appearance in TV Soap

The Irish icon will make his acting debut as a guest star in an episode of TG4's Ros na Rún next month

Read More

Stone Broken Announce Irish dates

Stone Broken, who will release their second studio album, 'Ain’t Always Easy' on 15 May, are coming over to play Dublin and Belfast in June.

Read More

10 New European Projects Announced By Netflix

Spanning from Lebanon to Scotland, Sweden to Jordan and Spain to Poland, Netflix’s upcoming local stories will encompass multiple forms of entertainment - TV shows, movies, unscripted, documentaries, independent films, stand-up comedies and kids titles - in multiple genres

Read More

Stranger Things Season 3 Casting Announcement

Cary Elwes has been cast as a guest performer in the role of "Mayor Kleine and Jake Busey joins as "Bruce"

Read More

Netflix Announces Release Date For GLOW Season 2

The girls are back in town. Season 2 of GLOW returns on 29 June - bring your leg warmers!

Read More

Dale Winton Has Passed Away

The popular English TV star and DJ has died at the relatively young age of 62-year-old.

Read More

MY VINYL SELFIE: Stuart Clark incurred severe parental disapproval by investing in a copy of 'Anarchy In The UK'

It was the best 99 pence our man ever spent...

Read More

Beth Rowley back on stage after 10 year abstinence

A decade after her debut album 'Little Dreamer' went straight to the top ten, the talented singer and songwriter returns to the spotlight with her new album 'Gota Fría'.

Read More

Limited number of £1 tickets for the Belfast Craft Beer Festival

Custom House Square will be the hoppiest place in Northern Ireland on June 1 & 2!

Read More

Call For Student Accommodation To Be Included In Rent Pressure Zones

The Government should ensure that student accommodation is included in so-called rent pressure zones.

Read More

Billboard Music Awards 2018 Nominations

Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar both lead the way with a staggering 15 nominations each this year.

Read More

Ex Rainbow & Deep Purple Singer Cancels Tour

Legendary frontman Joe Lynn Turner has been forced to cancel his European tour after suffering a heart attack.

Read More

New to Hot Press: Laura Mulcahy

For singer-songwriter Laura Mulcahy, storytelling is to fore of all her artistic endeavours.

Read More

Archive Interview: Big Tom graced the Hot Press Cover in 1983

Seemingly indestructible, BIG TOM continues to rule supreme when all around him is in a state of chassis. Hot Press interviews the man they call 'The King'.

Read More

Irish musicians and politicians react to the death of Big Tom

There’s been a huge outpouring of affection for Big Tom following the news that Ireland’s King of Country Music has passed away peacefully at home aged 81.

Read More

Big Tom Has Passed Away

The Irish country music legend, described this morning as "the greatest" by Daniel O'Donnell, has died at the age of 81.

Read More

BARE festival brings Obie Trice and his crew and God Is An Astronaut to Carlow

Borris House is ready and waiting for July 6 & 7's festivities!

Read More

Kendrick Lamar Scoops Pulitzer Prize For Music

The American rapper and songwriter has made history by becoming the first non-classical or jazz musician to be honoured with this prestigious award.

Read More

Mariah Carey's Ex Manager Claims She Was Sexually Harassed By Star!

As part of an upcoming lawsuit, Stella Stolper has filed court documents in the US claiming that the superstar stood naked in front of her, sexually harassed her and also conducted other inappropriate acts in her presence.

Read More

Star of 'Night Court' TV Show Has Died

Popular comedian actor Harry Anderson has sadly died at only 65-years-of-age.

Read More

Derval O'Rourke declares her support for repealing the 8th

“Telling me to educate myself and calling me names does not quieten me,” says the former Olympian as she's subjected to online abuse from anti-choicers.

Read More

Inclusion Ireland Joins Together For Yes Campaign.

Labour Party spokesperson on Disability, Kathleen Lynch has welcomed Inclusion Ireland joining the Together for Yes civil society group to repeal the eighth amendment

Read More

Price Brothers Announce Irish Tour Dates,

Brothers Sean and Conor, who made a big splash when they appeared on the X factor TV show, will also release their new single on 27 April, it's just been confirmed.

Read More

Robert Plant & Van Morrison join forces in the Dublin 3Arena

The two rock 'n' roll behemoths are joining forces in October.

Read More

Irish director Paul Duane completes his Bill Drummond documentary

Best Before Death was five arduous but fun years in the making...

Read More

Tributes Pour In For Miloš Forman

Since news of his death broke during the weekend, the likes of Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Mia Farrow, Larry Flynt and Ron Howard have all taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the Oscar-winning film director

Read More

Hard Brexit "Remains Real Threat," Insists Irish Politician

The possibility of a hard Brexit remains a "very real threat', says Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit, Lisa Chambers TD, who has voiced her concerns that Irish businesses are not prepared for such a scenario.

Read More

The Alarm’s Star To Stop Off In Dublin During 24 Hour Tour

To celebrate record day, The Alarm's Mike Peters will stop off in Dublin during a mental 24 hours transatlantic tour.

Read More

Government Urged To Rule Out Student Loan Schemes

Minister for Education Richard Bruton is being urged to publicly rule out student loan schemes.

Read More

Actor R. Lee Ermey Has Passed Away

The 74-year-old US actor, who will probably be best remembered for starring as the profane drill sergeant in Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket', died on Sunday.

Read More

Mariah Carey Feels "Uplifted" After Opening Up About Being Bipolar

The superstar says that the weight has lifted off her shoulders since she recently decided to go public about her personal battle with mental health.

Read More

Mary Black, The Strypes & James Vincent McMorrow headline Together For Yes gig

It's taking place on May 2 in Dublin's Olympia Theatre

Read More

Actor Alex Beckett Has Died

The Welsh comedic actor, best known for his role as Barney Lumsden in W1A, has died at the relatively young age of only 35-years-old.

Read More

Netflix's 'Lost In Space' Is Launched Today

Netflix's original dramatic and modern reimagining of the classic 1960s science fiction classic series hits the streaming service today.

Read More

New On Netflix This Weekend...

Monty Python fans will be delighted to hear that a number of their TV shows and films will be added to Netflix on Sunday. Here's a roundup of what's new on the popular streaming service....

Read More

Listen to First Track From Imelda Kehoe's Debut Album

The English raised Irish musician, who trained as a nurse before going into music, has just released the first track from her debut folk trad album.

Read More

One of the U2 'Claw' stages has found a permanent home in Utah

The 165-foot-tall engineering wonder is heading to the desert...

Read More

Irish Singer Timmy Matley Has Passed Away

The Overtones band member from Cork has sadly died at the relatively young age of 36-years-old.

Read More

The Chainsmokers Release New Music Video

Ahead of their upcoming gig at the RDS in Dublin on 24 June, the prolific group has just dropped their latest single.

Read More

R.E.M. Member Teams Up With Joseph Arthur For New Album

Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur have just shared the first track from their exciting joint project.

Read More

The Sound of Beckett

An hypnotic journey into the musical mind of Beckett by master interpreters, Gare St Lazare Ireland will be performed at The Pavilion Theatre on 27th and 28th April.

Read More

Huge Furore Erupts Over Jim Daly’s Hot Press Interview

The Minister's remarks about the possibility of Fine Gael one day going into coalition with Sinn Féin in our exclusive interview have been described as "inappropriate" by a spokesperson for the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Read More

In The New Hot Press: Hudson Taylor Go Gunning For Stardom

The new Hot Press, which is out today, April 12, features Irish folk roots duo Hudson Taylor on the cover!

Read More

Let's Rock The Vote

The Government should consider giving local authorities the power to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register on the register of electors to encourage younger people to be politically active.

Read More

Mary Black Cancels Gigs Due To Ill Health

The legendary singer has been forced to cancel two gigs scheduled for this week as she is "confined to bed".

Read More

€23m Investment For Improvements At National Library

The National Library of Ireland has welcomed the government investment in its Kildare Street complex, which was announced yesterday as part of the Culture and Creativity Investment Plan.

Read More

Calls For Online Personal Finance Course Funded By Industry

Political think-tank the Collins Institute has called for an online course in personal finance to equip citizens to make better financial decisions.

Read More

Snoop Dogg Compares Trump To The Devil!

Donald Trump accused the rapper of having a "failing career" during a Twitter spat last year. But Snoop Dogg has now escalated their tit-for-tat fight by saying that he imagines Lucifer would look like the US President!

Read More

Good Friday Agreement at 20 - the night when music met politics in Belfast

And Hot Press was at the heart of it! While politicians from across the spectrum of British and Irish politics were pulled hither and thither all-night in Stormont, trying to find agreement for an historic peace accord, musicians, rock'n'rollers and music lovers were pulling a harmonious all-nighter in the Europa Hotel for the Hot Press Music Awards.

Read More

Mark Zuckerberg appears before Congress on Wednesday: Read his prepared testimony

The Facebook CEO will testify before the US Senate and Congress this week about the company's data-privacy scandal.

Read More

Slow Skies Release New Single & Announce Dublin Gig Date

Dublin's Slow Skies (aka Karen Sheridan) has just announced that her debut album Realign will be coming out on 11 May and she will be playing Fumbally Stables on 17 May.

Read More

Check Out John Legend's New Music Video

Here's the official video for John Legend's new single 'A Good Night', which features Bloodpop...

Read More

New EU Regulation On Portability Of Online Content Services

A new EU Regulation now ensures that people from Ireland are from this month onwards allowed access their online subscriptions such as Netflix, Spotify and Sky Sports wherever they are travelling in the EU.

Read More

John Cusack Laughs Off Plans To Remake 'High Fidelity'

Disney is looking to reboot 'High Fidelity' with a female lead. But the star of the original movie reckons: "They’ll fuck it up!"

Read More

Fleetwood Mac Tell Guitarist: "You Can Go Your Own Way!"

Lindsey Buckingham has been reportedly fired by the band.

Read More

U2 Gave Live Debut To 'Love Is All We Have' Left At Dave Kavanagh Funeral

The first ever performance of the opening track on the Songs of Experience album was a musical highlight – at what was a funeral to remember

Read More

Clannad and U2 Among The Stars At Funeral of Dave Kavanagh

There was a huge turn-out of the great and the good this morning, at the funeral service of Dave Kavanagh – the man who created the Celtic Woman concept.

Read More

Alert The Pupparazzi: Netflix & Woof Is Latest Craze With Us Irish!

Our four-legged friends are the newest "binge paw-tner" for us Irish, according a new study from Netflix.

Read More

Cardi B Makes History With Debut Album

Cardi B has become the first female artist to achieve a Gold certified album on the day of its release.

Read More

Lily Allen Opens Ups About Being Harassed By An "A*******"

While she hasn't gone into any specific details about what type of harassment she endured, the 32-year-old star has made it clear that she plans to take legal action over it.

Read More

New Facebook Controls On Political Ads Mirrors Irish Proposal

The efforts being introduced by Facebook to fight the spread of political misinformation and fake news should be broadly welcomed but extended across other social media platforms and outlets, according to Fianna Fáil’s Technology Spokesperson, James Lawless TD.

Read More

Noel Gallagher Releases New Single As Collectable Picture Disc

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds has just released the music video for his new single ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’ – the third to be taken from the Number 1 album ‘Who Built the Moon?’.

Read More

Liffey Records & Celtic Collections issue statement on death of Dave Kavanagh

Liffey Records and Celtic Collections have issued a statement following the death of the music impresario, Dave Kavanagh, who began his career as a booking agent for U2, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats and more...

Read More

Former U2, Clannad and Celtic Woman man Dave Kavanagh Has Died

It is with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Dave Kavanagh – one of the pivotal figures in the Irish music industry over the past 40-plus years

Read More

Ash, Aslan & HamsandwicH confirmed for Listowel festival

Revival returns to The Square in August and, boy, is it going to rock!

Read More

New To Netflix This Weekend

Jay-Z is the latest guest on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, which is available on the streaming service from today.

Read More

Adam & Paul Star Takes Show On The Road

Pan Pan Theatre Group takes a stage play on a national tour. The Oscar Wilde-inspired comedy 'The Importance of Nothing' hits the road from 9-28 April.

Read More

Young Irish Musicians for ESB Feis Ceoil Gala Concert at NCH

A wonderful, youthful energy will be found backstage at the National Concert Hall on Wednesday, 11 April. Choirs will arrive by the busload, and orchestras will be tuning up their instruments. Solo performers will be looking for a quiet space to practice, while an organist will even bravely clamber into the seat of the beautiful organ that sits above the stage for his afternoon rehearsal.

Read More

Galwegian Roisin El Cherif Releases New Music Video

Part Irish, part Palestinian, the Galway girl Roisin El Cherif has just released the first song from her upcoming EP.

Read More

UK Shows Ireland The Way To Solve Gender Pay Gap

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has said the new British wage transparency reporting law has shone an important light on the existence of a substantial gender pay gap there, and that it is time for similar legal provisions to be introduced in Ireland.

Read More

Conor McGregor Questioned By US Cops

The Dubliner has turned himself in to New York police after he was captured on video attacking a bus carrying UFC fighters.

Read More

Kevin Shields, Flood, Brix Smith Smart, Donovan & Lol Tolhurst among major Vinyl weekender additons

It's shaping up to be a monster three-days of spoken word and performance!

Read More
 

Advertise With Us


For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below

Advertise

Find us elsewhere