Ministers quarreled with skirts

The Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer is known in France as a person of prudence and restrained judgment. But he could not help himself when, during an interview on one radio channel, he was asked how he felt about the fashion among the current high school girls to dress provocatively. That is, show up for lessons in mini-skirts, cropped tops that reveal the belly, and other deep cleavage.

The minister called this behavior provocative. He stressed that “it is unacceptable to come to school as to a beach or a nightclub,” and added that “it is correct to appear there in a republican style,” because this corresponds to the social status of educational institutions.

Several female colleagues immediately took up arms against the minister. A staunch feminist and Minister-Delegate for Citizenship Marlene Schiappa, in opposition to him, declared that with this demarche young French women demonstrate “freedom in the face of sexist judgments and actions.” After her, the Minister-Delegate for Gender Equality Elizabeth Moreno expressed her “fi” to him. In France, she said, “anyone can dress as he wants.” After all, women “fought for this right for centuries, and it is priceless.”