Bordeaux - Powerful women are tired of being insulted by anonymous profiles on social networks.
Bordeaux – Powerful women are tired of being insulted by anonymous profiles on social networks.
Sexism in French politics is no news. Earlier this month, female MP Véronique Massonneau was interrupted in the National Assembly by lawmakers who made clucking noises while she presented an amendment. In July 2012, housing minister Cécile Duflot was subjected to jeers and wolf-whistles while wearing a flowery summer dress in the National Assembly.
Misogyny can however also be found outside of the country’s political class. Indeed, French women are complaining about the rude messages they receive on Twitter. Often hidden behind a pseudonym, revilers challenge their helpless targets directly.
Cécile Duflot, once an avid tweeter, grew tired of the mean messages and has decided to “tweet less, reply less.” She has received messages calling her “fattest ass in the government” and implying that she is a lesbian. “I never answer, I even block [these people] systematically, but anonymous accounts are recreated endlessly,” laments the minister.
Former president of the Christian Democratic Party Christine Boutin told Duflot she receives much harsher messages. In the past, she has been called a “fat inbred fascist homophobe.”
Many French politicians including former and current ministers are regularly attacked on their views, but also on their physical appearance and private lives.
Nadine Morano, former MP and minister, is without a doubt one of the most targeted women on Twitter. In June 2012, she declared that anonymity should not be possible on the social network, since it makes it too easy to hide behind a profile. Tired of tireless haters, she herself had violent words and now rarely uses her account.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, former ecology minister and now candidate for Paris mayoral election, was the only one to take legal actions. In May 2012, a photo of her was posted on Twitter, along with a caption reading “huge bitch.”
Kosciusko-Morizet immediately sued the user, stating “I know very well, and I accept the fact that I am exposed, and that my actions, my words, my decisions can be criticized. Criticism yes. Insults no.” The user apologized and she eventually withdrew her complaint.