Boys in Skirts

The French have suddenly gone barmy.

A teenager stood outside his lycée recently in a knee-length red skirt that kept riding up to reveal his hairy thighs. ‘I’m a bit cold,’ he muttered. ‘But it’s all in a good cause and the skirt didn’t cost anything as I borrowed it off my sister.’

The eighteen-year-old, who declined to give his name, was one of about a hundred boys in Nantes, who arrived at their schools wearing a variety of skirts and kilts as part of an anti-sexism campaign.

Supporters of this ridiculous, looney exhibit hailed it as a sign of enlightenment among the country’s youth, but it was denounced by critics as a further step in a government drive to transform France into an androgynous nation.

The initiative was intended to highlight the prejudice that makes many girls and women reluctant to wear skirts in France for fear of facing wolf whistles and insulting comments.

In fact, the opposite is true. In an interview I conducted with Édith Cresson before she became prime minister under President Mitterand, she had the audacity to call most Anglo-Saxon men homosexuals as they are not interested in women. The reason she gave was that strolling about in London, men in the street don’t look at you nor behave like their counterparts in France. In other words, she claimed that French women loved the very attention that the socialist government is now trying to eradicate.

The elected representatives of lycée pupils in Nantes who proposed the campaign are given official backing by the education authorities. A total of twenty-seven lycées – the equivalent of sixth form colleges in the UK – issued a formal invitation for pupils of both sexes to arrive in skirts.

Théotime Henrieux, a pupil delegate at lycée Clemenceau in Nantes who was wearing a long black skirt that looked a little like a curtain wrapped round his legs, said: ‘We want to open up people’s minds and make them think about sexism.’

What a load of rubbish, I say.

Another teenage boy said he had helped himself to his mother’s short jean skirt for the occasion. ‘My mother,’ he claimed, ‘was super happy that we are taking up the fight in this way.’ My father thought it was a bit strange, but he wasn’t against it.’

He should have been if he was a real father.

A girl at lycée Clemenceau wearing a skirt for the first time this year welcomed the attempt to highlight sexism in France. ‘You can’t go out in a short skirt without being looked at in an odd way by men, or having to put up with unpleasant remarks,’ she said. ‘I can only congratulate the boys who have turned up in skirts. Frankly, they’re courageous and not afraid of ridicule.’

She is totally and utterly misguided. As it is, we find it sometimes difficult to tell a boy from a girl. The time will perhaps come when, if we carry on with this lunatic fringe, we may sleep with the wrong gender by sheer accident. What a let down it would be, especially if men would trim their pubic hair as women do to enhance the look of their fannies.

The Day of the Skirt, as the initiative was called, comes after the global success of Oppressed Majority, a French role-reversal film that portrays men as victims of sexist behaviour by women.

However, opponents held a demonstration for a second day running in Nantes to denounce what they believed to be the input of an American academic theory that gender is not so much determined by biology as cultural factors.

Not true, I am afraid.

France’s socialist government is proving to be on course to make boys more feminine and girls more masculine. It is disastrous if the difference between the sexes is allowed or for that matter encouraged to disappear.

Critics are right in seeing the legalisation of same-sex marriage as a clear indication of the Cabinet’s commitment to implementing the gender theory in France.

Making men wear skirts is the ultimate in madness and has nothing to do with sexism. The sooner this oaf of a president with double standards goes the better for France.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope that he will not cause irreparable harm with his wayward policies before he is kicked out.

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