Members of Parliament in France's National Assembly are in hot water this week after an incident took place where men whistled at Housing Minister Cecile Duflot because she was wearing a dress when she delivered a speech to her colleagues.
French male conservative MPs couldn’t help themselves Tuesday during a session in the parliament.
Newly-appointed Minister of Territory Equality and Housing Cecile Duflot was sporting a blue and white floral dress that did not show much cleavage and hung at the knee. Duflot was about to deliver a speech on a new metropolitan plan that would affect Paris when her male counterparts wolf-whistled at Duflot.
“Ladies and gentleman,” stated Duflot. “Obviously, more gentlemen than ladies...”
The video has made the rounds on the Internet and across television sets in France. Many are outraged over the act that some say is chauvinist and disrespectful to not only Duflot, who is known to usually wear jeans in the National Assembly, but to women in general.
But an Opposition MP claims he and others were only “admiring” Duflot.
“We weren’t heckling or whistling at Cecile Duflot, we were admiring her,” said Patrick Balkany, Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) MP, in an interview with Le Figaro. “If she didn’t want us to take an interest in her, then she shouldn’t have changed her look. [Duflot] put on that dress so that we wouldn’t listen to what she was saying.”
Meanwhile, MP Jacques Myard also tried defending the catcalls by saying they were only “paying homage to the beauty of this woman.”
Slate reported that Duflot took to the radio sometime this week where she provided a positive slant on Tuesday’s incident.
“There are a lot of men who do politics who aren’t like that; there are a lot of men who don’t do politics who aren’t like that,” explained Duflot. “I’d rather think about them. I’d rather think about feminist men.”