Hey, David Dewhurst: Do you really think the women who opposed your oppression of them were out of line? None of them has said you must lick her derriére.
Here’s how they do it in Europe; from The Guardian:
Femen-inspired postage stamp angers French right
Designers say youthful depiction of Marianne for new stamp was partially inspired by Femen founder Inna Shevchenko
You know enough about France from your world history class to know that the nation has, for decades, used an image of a woman as their symbol of liberty (“liberté“). For obscure reasons, the French have come to call their Liberty, Marianne. Her image appears on coins, stamps, and wherever else an image can be used. Most often an artist uses a beautiful French woman — Catherine Deneuve was the model for years — but about as often the name of the model is more obscure. This is the first time anyone has said a non-French woman might be the model, though the woman named is living in France now, as a refugee from the Ukraine.
It was supposed to be a straightforward new postage stamp to mark François Hollande’s presidency: a more youthful depiction of Marianne, the feminine symbol of the French Republic, reflecting the Socialist president’s promise to help the younger generation.
Instead, the portrait has sparked a spat on the political right after one of its designers said it was partially inspired by Inna Shevchenko, a leading member of the feminist activist group Femen.
The designers, David Kawena and Olivier Ciappa, had previously said their inspirations ran from the Renaissance to French comic strips and Japanese manga. But after the stamp’s launch on Sunday, Ciappa tweeted: “For all those who are asking who the model was for Marianne, it’s a mix of several women, but above all Inna Shevchenko, founder of Femen.”
Probably the most famous image comes from the painting by Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the Nation:
That painting is in a division of the Louvre; it was defaced just this past February, in an odd September 11 protest, by a wacko who insisted the attacks on the World Trade Center and the United States were government-sponsored. But I digress.
Christine Boutin, a former minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and founder of the Christian Democrat party, tweeted her disgust and her party called for a boycott of “this outrageous stamp”, saying it was an attack “on the dignity of women and the sovereignty of France” and should immediately be withdrawn.
Femen, which often stages topless street protests, was started in Ukraine but is now based in Paris after Shevchenko was granted political asylum following outrage at her felling of a giant cross in Ukraine in support of the Russian band Pussy Riot.
Femen’s most high-profile protests in France have targeted the street demonstrations against same-sex marriage. It also recently staged an anti-fascist protest in Notre Dame cathedral and attempted to ambush the French president at an airshow.
Ciappa, whose exhibition of photographs of imagined gay couples was vandalised in Paris the anti same-sex marriage protests, wrote on Facebook on Monday that he had received “messages of threats and hatred” against him on Twitter, “some violent and some funny, such as Christine Boutin’s call to boycott my stamp”.
Yeah, but here’s the money line:
Shevchenko tweeted: “Femen is on French stamp. Now all homophobes, extremists, fascists will have to lick my ass when they want to send a letter.”
Several French artists have designed different Mariannes for French stamps, but this is thought to be the first inspired in part by a woman who isn’t French.
I have some bad news, perhaps, for U.S radical right-wing wackoes: I understand that the model for the French symbol of Liberty, Marianne, was really Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis. The artist was seeking a model who demonstrated the French ideal of a woman standing up to lead her nation against the supposed juggernaut of Fascist oppression and repression. President Hollande is fearful of noting that, however, because he doesn’t want Texas Gov. Rick Perry to make a trip to France to poach businesses to move to Texas.
Hollande doesn’t fear any businesses would actually relocate from France to Paris; he just doesn’t want to waste any good French cheese or wine on a visiting Rick Perry.
In other Austin rumors, according to my sources at the groseille à l’oignon, the Texas Republic asked France for rights to the image for their own anti-State of Texas postage stamps just to tick off Rick Perry and the FBI, and the Texas Tea Party is considering using Marianne as their image on their stationery, posters and bumper stickers. If only they knew.
In the end, we have an entirely pointless, postage stamp tempest, with an artist sneaking in as a model a topless protester to play the role of the top-slipping symbol of French liberty, and typical French insouciance in arguments. You know darn well that Harry Reid would love to use that line Ms. Schevchenko Tweeted — and so would Wendy Davis, and Rick Perry, and Joe Biden, and even Orrin Hatch.
Maybe all they have to do is pose topless, protesting some infringement on freedom. Would they do that, even for freedom?
- Topless protester inspired Marianne (bbc.co.uk)
- Topless protester wins French asylum (bbc.co.uk)
- National Report Offers FEMEN Members Asylum at Corporate Office in Los Angeles (NSFW) (nationalreport.net)
- “Marianne in Tunisia,” Foreign Policy
- The Postage Stamp That Has France in a Frenzy (foreignpolicy.com)
- French stamp with activist’s likeness raises ire (kansascity.com)