Living in a new country, and attempting to integrate and understand a new culture can be daunting at times. Often the difference between success or failure in this task is your own psyche. A few questions I often find myself asking is: how abhorrent is this cultural difference to me? Will I take the cultural relativist road and try to use my own intelligence to think: this is simply a different way of thinking, this does not make it wrong; or will I simply push it away in the box labelled “The Irish Way is the Best Way.” Today in relation to the topic of a woman’s appearance, sadly, I have had to go with the former.
Sorry, France. Today, you suck.
This is a subject which has been covered again and again, however this time I won’t be writing an insipid article detailing all the ways women in France eat “all that cheese and bread” while keeping their figures. Amazing, we are ever in your humble shadow ladies.
NB: They have much better weather and they EXERCISE guys.
No, after the recent discovery that the “weight” I have gained since moving to France was recently a topic of conversation between my boyfriend and his father I felt the need to discuss this a little bit (and rant) with the internet. As a 5″7, 57 kilos, size 10, 22-year-old, I can hardly be labelled as a fattie. Of course, the proof is in the pudding: I have put weight on in France (53 kilos upon on arrival), that is not the problem, the fact is where French men feel they have the right to comment on a women’s weight. The simple fact is France is an inherently sexist country. The language itself says it all, the word vagina is a masculine word (ownership of a women’s sex organ right there). But my main irk is the fact that so many intelligent French men seem to have a blockage to the FACT that they live in a sexist country, right down to the language.
I’m moving off the point. The mere fact that my weight was up for discussion between my boyfriend and his father is laughable. The thought of that occurring in Ireland is quite simply, hilarious. As if two Irish men would discuss a women’s weight (perhaps in some instances they would, when the women in question was perhaps verging on the obese) firstly, they have better things to talk about, secondly, they would also see it as rude.
But in my case, where in nearly every country on the planet I would be considered slim and healthy. Yes, I am eating too much cheese, I am drinking too much wine etc. but to think that this is a topic up for discussion behind my back is absolutely inappropriate. Living in a country where a women’s appearance is consistently held up as a topic of discussion sickens me. I can only look to the women of France, who still allow this to go on. I have been in the room when a woman’s weight etc. has been nitpicked, maligned, destroyed, and I don’t stand for it. I ensure that my opinion is made known and that I am unimpressed with that kind of behaviour.
The fact that French men still feel it is appropriate to have these kinds of discussions leads me to feel French women let it slide, as long as it’s not them under the microscope. So fellow English speakers, don’t be impressed by the French woman’s maintenance of her figure long into adulthood, among other reasons, she is avoiding having her weight to be mocked and ridiculed, discussed at length by her fellow countrymen in the wondrous equality driven country, la belle France. As feminists have fought against for many years, the French woman’s appearance still matters more than anything else, sadly.
- The French Are Getting Fatter and What Are They Doing About It? (foodworksblog.wordpress.com)
- The Francophile, the Francophobe and the Critic (hiddeninfrance.typepad.com)