Stop believing in the war of the sexes

What advice would you give women to accelerate this conquest of freedom?

B. C.: I will tell them first of all. To leave the question of the difference of the sexes indefinitely and to make it first is to deny what makes our humanity: this wonderful brain which gives us the capacity to reinvent ourselves permanently. And this brings us to a lot of reluctance at the place of emancipation. So: let's keep thinking! I would also say: pay attention to the education we give to girls. I am very worried to see, in the way of make-up, to dress the girls, a reinforcement of the marks of the femininity. Finally, let's not teach them that there is going to be a big fight against men, and that making their place will be difficult. Stop doing as if there was a war of the sexes. There is tension, fighting to fight, but we are not at war. On a daily basis, we live much more in the desire and the love of the other. But it is precisely so that this love and this desire can spread that we must live in a good, egalitarian relationship with men.

Would total equality not extinguish desire?

B. C.: How to know? I do not make a science fiction company. But what I am deeply convinced of is that equality in working life or in the sharing of household chores does not extinguish desire in any way. I think that if we have this fear, it is because we are haunted by the - old - fantasy of a kind of androgynous being to which the equality would lead. To my knowledge, this does not correspond to any reality. I rather fear that this fantasy plays as a factor of differentiation that motivates regressive attitudes, by reinforcing markers of femininity and masculinity.

This fantasy hides the reality of a malaise: many men feel weakened in their masculinity by the rise of women ...

B. C.: But women gaining power does not mean men lose it! I do not want to be superior to men. I want to be in the expression of my freedom, of my power to make, to bloom ... By always having, in front of me, interlocutors who are in the same freedom and in the same power. And if men are worried, let them work on them! As we, women, have worked to transform us. Remember the catastrophist speeches when the first feminists appeared: they announced that these women would ruin any possibility of seduction.Now, we know today that this is not true. The power of some does not necessarily affect that of others. And equality never hurt anyone.

The refusal of stereotypes

Based on her experience and relying on scientific work, the author re-examines the question of femininity. Through a light and often funny pen, she invites to refuse a return to stereotypes - this temptation to become Penelope defeating the work of emancipation accomplished by women during the last four decades.

Key Dates

1958 Birth in Tunis.

1975-1980 Participation in the feminist movement.

1988 PhD in Comparative Literature, a subject she taught in 1989 at the University of Corte and then in Caen.

1990 First novel, Last Walks in Petrópolis (Threshold). 2001 Essay Prize of the French Academy for the Writing of Desire (Calmann-Lévy, 2000).

2005 Grand Prix of the Essay of the Society of Men of Letters for The Feeling of Imposture (Gallimard, "Folio Essays", 2009).

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