mardi 2 mars 2010

French women

There seems to exist an American fascination with French women. Some sort of phantasm like what is inaccessible.

When Gertrude Ederle died  6 years ago, it was reminded how, being a member of the American women team for the 1924 Olympics in Paris (the last ones to date and certainly for the foreseeable future), she was relegated to the outskirts of the French capital, the American delegation wanting to keep the girls away from the cauldron of vice, lust and lewdness Paris was supposed to be by then. 

As a matter of fact, Puritanism wasn’t exactly the kind of fun the French were having during these same years. When N. Hawthorne was writing “The Red Scarlet”(1850), G. Flaubert was working on Madame Bovary (1857)… Then there was Colette and her Gigi series about women enjoying freedom in the choice of her partners/lovers. Not really the American habits of the time. And then came Françoise Sagan and her Bonjour Tristesse (1954). This novel was an incredible hit when it was published in America

The French were at it again with their stories of emancipated, multipartners women. Now, wasn’t that some fodder for their reputation of womanizers, free sex etc. Remember l’Origine du monde by G. Courbet? Do I have to mention the movies where naked breast was a common fixture of French films? How many times have I read souvenirs by American males telling how they would have killed anybody to see a French movie, knowing that was a not to be missed opportunity to have a glimpse of the forbidden fruit? 

Nowadays, how many times are naked women to be seen in American movies or on American TV channels? (Here is another culture shock for Americans spending some time in France when they watch French TV channels or see posters in the streets). Now, this mistress thing is a follow up of literary, history, painting etc. items which actually were a referenced discriminator between America and France.

After Colette and just before F. Sagan there was also Simone de Beauvoir with her deuxième sexe which didn’t pass unheeded in the US. Add to this her 10 years or so long liaison with American Nelson Algren while she was with Sartre (who, himself…)… Although I don’t know if that liaison was particularly known in America.

7 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

Je vais prendre un peu de recul, je crois que le blog va être inactif for a while.

Merci à ZapPow de sa fidélité et aux visiteurs assez réguliers des US, notamment de Falls Church, Beverly hills, New York, Orlando etc.

On n'oublie pas nos amis belges qui viennent tous les jours.

Avec un titre pareil ça devrait donner un petit plus de trafic.

Il suffit de taper ces 2 mots sur Google ou Yahoo...

ZapPow a dit…

J'espère que ce recul n'est pas dû à des problèmes de santé ?
Quoiqu'il en soit, tous mes vœux, et à ton retour. Je surveillerai si tu te manifestes.


Flocon a dit…

Merci de ta sollicitude ZapPow.

Non, ce n'est pas une question de santé mais bien plutôt une fois encore un sentiment d'humilité qui m'anime.

Il y a tellement de blogs mieux écrits, mieux conçus, plus intelligents etc. que ça me ramène au réel.

Commenter l'actualité, c'est facile, tout le monde peut donner son avis au café du coin.

Un blog est intéressant à mon sens si on y peut lire ce qui ne se trouve pas ailleurs (c'est difficile l'exclusivité). Sinon je trouve ça aussi inutile que vaniteux.

Il faut être original!

En faisant le ménage dans les archives j'ai retrouvé ton premier commentaire sur Shall we talk le 7 mars 2008. Mais depuis je ne l'y retrouve plus??? En tous cas c'est sûr, c'était il y a deux ans presque jour pour jour. Quelle fidélité!

Cela vaut bien que je poste de temps en temps mais à meilleur escient que ces derniers mois.

Et puis je dois renouveler les musiques...

Fare well ZapPow!

Anijo a dit…

Brilliant analysis Flocon.

Anijo a dit…

Okay, so what I will offer here will no doubt be dispute. Overall, however, I will say this. In France a woman can be both sexy and intelligent. In the U.S., overall, there is this notion that a sexy woman must be a slut/stupid/not too intelligent and that an intelligent woman "wears comfortable shoes" which is code for she is ugly. Perphaps this same idea has a seed in French mentality?

Flocon a dit…


Your proposition shouldn't trigger any dispute since I believe these clichés are about the same all over the word.

French women are like any other women everywhere no matter their nationalitites. And the same applies to men.

In France a woman can be both sexy and intelligent

Aren't you living evidence the same holds true in the US?

I've replaced Ravi Shankar for Claude Debussy and Erroll Garner by Bud Powell. Hope you like both

Anijo a dit…

I do indeed like both. Debussy's music reminds me of Monet's paintings.

Bud Powell's piano playing is rapid and yet not hectic. He lived in Paris for awhile as did many Black jazz musicians, as you know of course. The last time I was in Paris I attended a performance by a Black American jazz musician which was held in the basement of a library. There was just a small group of people there, quite friendly and most charming.