The Atlantic

France's Fight Over Sexual Freedom

A letter from prominent French women embodied a backlash against #MeToo—and then sparked its own backlash.
Source: Bertrand Guay / AFP / Getty

PARIS—After the backlash, comes the backlash to the backlash. It’s been fascinating to follow the torrent of responses in France this week to an open letter in Le Monde signed by French actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other women, effectively saying that the #MeToo movement had gone too far and that women should own up to their own sexual agency. (I wrote about the letter here and you can find a full translation here.)

“Sexual Freedom Threatened, REALLY?” ran the headline of , a left-wing daily, beneath photos of three signatories: Deneuve, Catherine Millet, the author of and Brigitte Lahaie, a talk-show host and former porn actress. The implication was, why should we listen to these women? “To entertain the idea that a groper on the metro ‘is the expression of a great sexual

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