Marine Le Pen Defies the Feminists
Here's a 5-minute video for those interested in Marine Le Pen's views on women, and her ability to take on an opponent who misconstrues the reasons for her rise to political power. However, I don't feel she acquitted herself as well as she might have mainly because she missed some opportunities to explain crucial points, but possibly she did not have the time. The following is a somewhat reduced version of the first two minutes.
The moderator enumerates the women who are today running for office, and wonders if there is a "Women's Power" movement in France. Then her guest, Soumaya Benaissa, a journalist with France 24 (who dominates the first half of the video), cites a new book called Women and Power that shows that in the course of the Fifth French Republic, the increase in the number of women in office has been due not to institutional or legislative changes, but only to arbitrary decisions by the country's leaders. Thus, she says it is, paradoxically, easier for a woman to become a minister (i.e., an appointed office) than a deputy voted in by the people, and that from Charles de Gaulle to Nicolas Sarkozy there has been a steady rise in the number of women ministers and junior ministers. She mentions that Marine was recently on the cover of the feminist magazine Elle featuring an article that raised eyebrows because here was a magazine, feminist par excellence, that profiled a woman, who is a product of feminism, but who espouses ideas that are intolerable to feminists and feminist values.
MLP - What are the feminist values?
SB - For example, the Veil law (legalizing abortion). Your vice-president, who is working on a policy regarding women's issues... the last time she spoke about the law said that there was no possibility of revoking it, but it was necessary to reduce its usefulness.
Note: The vice-president in question may be Marie-Christine Arnautu, but I can't be certain.
At this point Marine gets angry.
MLP - Do you in all honesty think you can reduce the role of women to the mere issue of abortion? Women are citizens like everybody else, they work, they worry about their children, they want their children and their family to live without fear of crime...
SB - No, it's that up to now, the Front National has always considered women from the viewpoint of children and the family.
MLP - But that's not true! It's all the politicians who have done that. I find it shocking that women's magazines reduce women to the questions of abortion and children…
SB - No. To the question of the body. That is different.
SB and the moderator insist they are talking about "gains" ("des acquis").
MLP - For my part, I don't choose a person according to his or her sex, but according to his or her merits, competence and qualities. But to reduce women to the sole question of abortion, again...
They all speak at the same time. Benaissa and the moderator insist that they are not "reducing" women, but are referring to the "gains" made. Benaissa brings up the issue of a bill for the National Assembly that may threaten the Veil law.
MLP - What bill? There is no bill. I've talked about this a dozen times. But if you think that because there are two hundred thousand abortions (per year) in this country and you say "Oh that's great!", well I don't think it's great.
SB - And pre-natal adoption?
MLP - And you find pre-natal abortion scandalous?
SB - No, but it calls for a review of the Veil law.
MLP - You think that the possibility of implementing a plan for pre-natal adoption which would bring down the number of abortions is scandalous?
MLP - If we've reached that point then we will find ourselves saying outrageous things.
At that point the moderator stops the conversation.
They fear that Marine Le Pen wants to abolish the Veil law, but this has not been her position. She wants the National Health System to stop funding abortions, and she wants to increase the birthrate of Frenchwomen. Through her adoption plan, she clearly wants to prevent some abortions.
I think she missed a chance to respond to Soumaya Benaissa's comment that she is a "product of feminism." Marine Le Pen is not a product of feminism, and if she is politically powerful today it is only because there is nobody else. There may have been several promising conservative male politicians in the recent past who seemed poised for political stardom, but they lost interest, or could not garner enough votes. Marine Le Pen has been immersed in the political and cultural fate of her country for most of her life. She has had to convince the people, first, that the Front National has always been the patriotic party of France and second, that she will not make the blunders (intentional or not) of her father. So far, she has succeeded.
It would also be beneficial for her and her constituents if she clearly defined the differences between "feminine" and "feminist", where the former is an innate quality of women, and the second an ideology of conquest that derives from and is attached to the Left in all its forms. There are times in any woman's life when she feels revengeful and "feministic", but these should be passing moments, not permanent obsessions. The feminine woman will not drive a wedge between men and women, she will not be out for absolute parity, she will worry more about her home, her family, the quality of her children's education, the moral health of the society in which she lives and the strength of her heritage than about glass ceilings. Most important, she will not betray her country when it is in danger.
There have always been courageous women. Joan of Arc is the most striking example, and while Marine may not be Joan, she's doing a lot better than the spineless prince in Elysée Palace today.