The ‘#MeToo’ hashtag spread across borders and social media like wild fire in 2018, denouncing sexual assault, harassment and sexual misconduct.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron and his gender balanced cabinet worked to rid France of its ‘macho culture’

The intention was to make street harassment, including wolf whistling, a criminal offence. According to Macron, French men are just too ‘manly’ and women don’t feel safe enough on the streets to dress as they wish or walk where they please.

So where does flirting stop and harassment start? When does a compliment become a threat? Is it just a French thing?

Well, of course not….but in a recent poll on the rudest people in the world, guess who came out on top? (no pun intended). Yes. French men!

They also come first, along with the Italians, as top of the cheaters.

Historically, French culture has tended to be more tolerant of infidelity than Anglo-Saxon countries, and French men are traditionally very confident in their own sex appeal- but the-times-they-are-a-changing!

According to a survey by GoEuro, the online travel planner, British men have overtaken the traditionally sexy Frenchman for charm, gentlemanly behaviour and general ‘lady-appeal’.

Personally, as a middle aged woman, I rather like a gentle reminder every now and then that I havent become totally invisible since I arrived at ‘a certain age’……but that’s just me.

So are French men too macho?
We thought they should have a chance to defend themselves.

Olivier, Maureillas
Je ne pense pas que les Français soient plus machos que les autres mais dans mon cas cela n’aurait pas marché car je suis marié à une machotte.

Useful Vocab
cela n’aurait pas marché – That wouldn’t have worked
car – because
machotte – made up feminine of macho

Axel, Maureillas
Certes, ils ont l’image de macho, oui, mais ce n’est pas vraiment une question qui a une réponse! Les français sont ils tous des buveurs de vins? C’est le même genre de question

Useful Vocab
Certes – admittedly
buveurs – drinkers
genre – kind/type

Following on from the #MeToo hashtag came the #BalanceTonMetro (#DenounceYourMetro)hashtag aiming to spotlight and hopefully help to prevent harassment in the Paris metro and on any form of transport.

Statistics show that one in two women feels unsafe or fears being assaulted on public transport. In fact, in and around Paris, 100% of females have been sexually harassed at least once on pubic transport.

RATP insist that they are working hard to provide safer conditions by installing more cameras, training and placing more security agents on site, and training agents in victim care, as well as awareness campaigns and alert systems.

Anaïs Leleux, at the head of the latest hashtag, feels that campaigns need to be more effective, explaining that the latest one showing animals being abusive was not very relevant, adding “I have never been attacked by a bear, only by a man.”

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