Sunday, April 20, 2008

Are the French turning into Prudes???

I read an article in the news today about a (French) TV anchorwoman who posed in the nude. Her (French) husband stated that he was 'embarrased', and "He didn't know how he could possibly explain to his son about his mother's photo." (Topless on the cover of a national magazine).
Her comments: "Ever since I've been a mother I feel better about myself and my body, and I'm perfectly comfortable showing it."
The French journalist who wrote the article added this:
"It depends how you look at it."

Well, he's right. But it surprised me. For years the French have had a laissez-faire attitude towards nudity. After all, the beaches are, for the most part, topless and even nudist, there is nothing unusual about a nude statue or paintings, or photos of nudes in public places on billboards, in fact, the French are almost as much at home with nudity as the Scandinavians, who have long held the opinion that your skin is ample covering for any occasion. My husband used to tease me about how prudish and Puritan the Americans are. There really is a completely different mind-set about nudity, accidental or otherwise. If Janet Jackson's whole shirt had fallen off here in France during that live Telecast, no one would have thought it a crime.
But is that changing? Carla Sarkozy's nude photo in the English newspapers went practically unmentioned here. The French press were strangley silent, and only a brief mention was ever made. Before, in the 70's or 80's, it would have been cause for national celebration. "Our first lady has a body to die for - and here's the proof!" Now it's an embarrassment.
Quelle Dommage.
The "You've gone a long way baby" has turned into "You've arrived, so stop making so much noise, get dressed, sit down, and shut up." And we did. And now we're going to regret it. For me, the first sign of things to come is that the French are turning into prudes.


Gabriele C. said...

I think there's too much nudity in commercials and I could live without every actress and sport star showing their body in the yellow press, but in private life - and that includes beaches and the English Garden in Munich, lol - people should be allowed to decide for themselves what to show or not. It's the border between just feeling comfortable nude, and exhibitionism that gets crossed too often these days.

Oh, and that woman on the pic? - she's too skinny.

Charles Gramlich said...

The French becoming prudes? Isn't that a sign of the impending apocolypse?

calderwoodbooks said...

Gabriele, that, my dear, is our first lady, Mrs. Sarkozy! (a few years back). And yes, she's too thin in my opinion as well! (but pretty just the same!)

Charles - this is what I'm afraid of...


Paul said...

The thought the French might be becoming prudes is appalling. This is the most depressing news I've heard all week. Not even the excellence of your writing softens its cold bite.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You see, that's precisely why Kennedy never married Marilyn.
Just kidding.

As a part-French, I think (and hope!) you're worrying way too much. That's only part of the story. The whole of the story is that the major change of style brought by Nicolas Sarkozy has many people hesitant, in a global way. His new wife is just an element of that unsureness, because people don't always know how to deal with it. Not to worry. Yet.
And there's always, there always has been, a debate about nudity and prudishness. There's one everywhere. That doesn't mean at all that cons of the former are beginning to win. France is still very free.
Unlike Lebanon. :-(

I like the way you formulated your profile, Sam. You might like mine too.