The man is a wolf to the woman? Is it dangerous to be beautiful? Have women been complicit in the machismo? In his book The world before #MeToo, fort of a hundred of images decrypted from the pop culture of the 1950s to the present day, the journalist Agnès Grossmann, the author of several works devoted to the women, questioning the clichés that, for years, have broken the genres.
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The spanking of John Wayne, to quell the most fierce amazons, the body érotisés and exhibited in the advertisements often reduced to a piece of flesh, rape and violence against largely commoditized in the movies… so Many images that, according to the author, have shaped our view of the man-woman relation, and that is not tolerated today.
Galeries Lafayette in fees at this time. Advertising giant deployed on the facade of the boulevard Haussmann in Paris, with the buttocks of a woman without a head for the lingerie brand Aubade, does not pass. It has attracted the anger of Hélène Bidard, assistant to the mayor of Paris in charge of equality woman/man: “Seriously the Galeries Lafayette, in full-wave #MeToo and a few days of Christmas, you don’t have anything better to view that the buttocks of a woman without a face?! I demand the immediate withdrawal of the campaign #sexist!!!” she blasted on Twitter.
If faced with the controversy some cry for puritanism, others have understood, like Agnes Grossmann, the impact of this type of representation: “through the pop culture of the 1950s to our days, I tried to understand the mechanisms of cultural that have been able to afford a Harvey Weinstein has been able to consider that sexually abusing women was part of its prerogatives of male dominance,” she wrote in the preface to his book.
The privilege of the rich man, the producer has exercised with impunity, during decades: “I wanted to determine which system of thought has allowed the world around him, accepts his aggressive behavior against women.” Agnes Grossmann analysis, leading to a striking manner the messages of some of the images, rebels without ever taking on the men. This would be much too simple. It is aware that some may sometimes be caught in the trap of sexism.”We are all victims of ‘ machismo, she says. But women are more than men.”
“Here, the woman has no eyes; head tilted , she is only a body, easy to take, no personality. There is no exchange, and they all seem to get bored. As if this were the sex!” Rights reserved “The film also ranks at the desire of the man. On this poster for the Italian film La Sbandata, Alfredo Malfatti, and Salvatore Samperi, we see that the desire of the woman does not exist. Only count the gaze and desire of male. It is convenient for a lot of men, who can afford to judge and evaluate women never consider to be weighed in their turn. They are without complexes.” Rights reserved
LE FIGARO – How have you approached this book?
AGNES GROSSMANN – I wanted to identify one hundred images sexist that would not be montrables today. I am part of my feelings of a woman who has grown up in front of these representations are based on a system of macho that have permeated our thinking and our behavior at all. This book is mainly based on the observation.
What do you mean exactly by system macho?
Our company is built on the gaze and male desire. A look demanding on the physique of the women. In a world where the woman is subjected to his dominion, they must please them to get their favors. The men spend a lot of time to prove to other men of their virility, and the woman is a constitutive element. A beautiful woman is a guarantee of power. From this point of view, capitalism does not help things. How many advertisements have been made to excite the desire of the man, showing off the bodies of gorgeous women to sell a car or even a deodorant. The message is very clear: “Buy the car and you will have the woman that goes with it.” As if a woman was a reward, an object that one buys. As if we were prostitutes. Having money means the pledge of success par excellence, the means to establish its dominance. Everything is allowed to the rich man. Other vectors such as films, cartoons, photography and even the fairy tales have no shortage of examples of female representation as to reinforce the men on the idea of their omnipotence.
These ideas would explain alone the behavior of someone like Harvey Weinstein?
of course Not! The problem of the Case, Weinstein is not so much his conduct was that of her entourage who let it do so for twenty years. I questioned this complacency. When I looked more closely at the movement #MeToo, I realized that he was questioning the relation to power, that you associate to men. It combines masculinity, domination and power is domination. There is a discount because of that. #MeToo denounces before the whole abuse of power, the right of cuissage”! This is not a questioning of the gaudriole, or of the gallantry of the French, as has sometimes wanted to believe. This movement relates to women who have been assaulted. No woman complained of having been invited to dinner by Weinstein or have received a bouquet of flowers. A culture that also permeates: I think that there are women who said no and who have paid dearly for it, and others who have said yes, that have played the game, because they had decided or were not able to do otherwise. They have also taken advantage of their physical. Women are sometimes victims themselves.
You dédicacez your book to the women ugly and the men poor…
Because they are the losers of the system macho. In this system, the woman is valued if she is beautiful and man if he is rich. The women ugly and the poor men are treated as second-class citizens. The woman is ugly can not be a victim of Harvey Weinstein because she is not in Hollywood. It is excluded from the system. From the moment when one says to a man that he will be dominant if it has a beautiful woman, it is not considered really a girl less attractive as a woman. Ditto for the poor men, money is the prerogative of power, and thus of manhood, they are not really considered as men.
By using their beauty, the women would be, in some way, accomplices of this system?
Be nice is a power and like all powers, if it is misused, it turns against the person who exercises it. If the actresses have played the game since generations, they no longer want to play it, today. They believe that this collusion cost them more than it earns them. Put themselves in the position of sexual object, it is endorsing a system that in fifty years they will also be retiring. They are both accomplices and victims. If the system allows the actress to showcase his talent before his physical, he will be more easy to aging. Women need to be desired and desirable, without that there are issues of power. And they should not be reduced to their physical. I am appalled when a man types on the buttocks of a woman in the professional life, because it undermines trust.
What are the solutions, according to you, that this look and these attitudes change?
I am from a generation where we women born in the years 1960 and 1970, have not always been clear on the subject of machismo. We wanted to be the equal of the man, while continuing to want it strong and even domineering. If women really want out of the system macho, they will not be able to make the economy of wonder about the balance between virility and domination that they have sometimes sanctioned as well as their complicity, because the machismo also gives privileges. I hope that in the future, men and women will become alter ego, while expressing their differences. Because I think that if we are able to do the same things, we are still different, and I regret that we women are too often in the imitation of male behavior. If they stopped, finally, of wanting to imitate the men, we could express our feminine power, which will perhaps prove to be totally different from their own. If the equality between the sexes is based on the uniqueness of each, the complementarity, we will win all. Free-we all in this together and we will enjoy ourselves more.
The world before #MeToo, through 100 images of pop culture decrypted, Agnes Grossmann, Off Collection, 21,90€.