Don’t ask us to stop war, porn and femicide, but we’ll call you “Madame” if you like

Across France women are rejoicing in gratitude as Prime Minister Francoise Fillon decides he will allow the removal of the word “madmoiselle” from official forms and registries.  While men do not have to state their matrimonial situation on forms (men of all ages tick the “Monsieur” box), women must identify themselves as either “madmoiselle” (unmarried) or “madame” (wed-locked.) 

Mr. Fillon’s order, signed on Tuesday, came after an advocacy campaign of several months by two French feminist organizations, “Osez le féminisme!” (“Dare to be feminist!”) and Les Chiennes de Garde (The Watchdogs). The government minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, whose portfolio includes questions of “social cohesion,” pleaded the groups’ case with Mr. Fillon (The New York Times)

He will, of course, be hailed as a savior, possibly even a feminist, by feminists themselves. By feminists who were forced to campaign for several months to receive the grand prize of being allowed to call themselves Madame:

You’ve never wondered why we don’t call a single man ‘mondamoiseau,’ or even ‘young male virgin?’ ” the feminist groups ask on a joint Web site. “Not surprising: this sort of distinction is reserved for women.”

Magali de Haas, a spokeswoman for “Osez le féminisme!,” expressed the hope that, in time, private organizations would also drop “mademoiselle” and that the term would fall out of popular use.(The New York Times)

Said feminists been ridiculed by the public for insisting the changes be made, and have been dismissed as nitpicky. According to abc2 news:

“For reasons clear perhaps only to the French establishment and French feminist groups, the government is phasing out the lovely and elegant word “mademoiselle.” As of now, it is to be stricken from all official documents.

As if the French establishment and French feminist groups were one and the same, but I digress…
 
But the women are correct in pointing out that words matter, and that while women’s sex life or marital status has always been public property, and public knowledge, men’s integrity has always been allowed to remain intact. Madmoiselle had to go. All the same, I’m betting that all the “required field” for tax, social security and all kinds of bookings forms will continue to appear thus:

Monsieur      ( )     Madame   (  )

Or possibly:

Monsieur   (  )

Madame   (   )

And so while I’m glad the feminists are on the case, there are two worrying aspects about this piece of news. The first is the stultifying amnesia that tends to surround women’s issues and the fact that this has all been done before:

 “Back in 1967 and again in 1974 a circular from the ministry of the interior stated that “Madame” should be the equivalent of “Monsieur”. But things have only got worse with the internet.”(Guardian)

The second and more worrying issue, is that women spent months campaigning to the Patriarchal Fathers, months focusing their attention on men in power in order to get this itty bitty bureaucratic concession, rather than radically withdrawing their energy dispensing it to  each other and moving forward. In some media outlets the achievement has been hailed as a “surprise success“. Mary Daly would have had a word or two to say about that:

Women whose minds and senses have been thus fixed exhibit the classic symptom of the tortured–gratitude for any semblance of leniency on the part of the torturers (even though the situation of torture is not recognized as such). Like the tortured political prisoner who has been denied liquids and is grateful for a modicum of water, so the victim of the sexual politics of lying is thankful for a modicum of reasonableness, of truth. Such partial reasonableness, however, is not reasonable/truthful at all. In the State of Boredom, such pseudo-reasonableness is much in demand, for the hacks/hucksters of this state have manufactured a market for mini-truths.  Entombed/consumed in this state, women are thankful for menial jobs, moronizing education and entertainment, the right to vote for men.

Essential to the bore-ocratic strategy of deception is the labeling of modest reforms as “radical” and “extreme”. Within this context, women are informed that the proponents of the ERA are wild radicals, and are boringly instructed by William Safire of the New York Times that the use of the title “Ms” is extremist. The psychic and physical violence inflicted by means of such mind-shrinking strategies causes women to scramble for crumbs; the slightest pretense of sense is hailed as the hallmark of great “progress”. Chained to this wheel of absurdity, the victim does not even guess the extent of her victimhood.” (Mary Daly, Pure Lust)

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By Admin Posted in Europe