“The feminization of culture in France is accelerating, proof that it is less foam than a ground swell”

VSIt was not the primary objective, but the #metoo movement, in five years, has caused a spectacular feminization of culture in France, whether in the nominations or the works put forward. Above all, the phenomenon is accelerating, through multiple signs, of varying intensity, proof that it is less a question of foam than of a ground swell.

Already a sign. On September 30, the weekly French Film published on the cover a photo bringing together six actors (Pio Marmaï, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Cassel, François Civil, Pierre Niney, Dany Boon) surrounding Jérôme Seydoux, the boss of Pathé. Seven mercenaries gathered to launch the “reconquest” French cinema. Seven men, zero women. Not long ago, this photo would have gone unnoticed. It provoked a torrent of outrage on social media, including that of filmmaker and writer Audrey Diwan (“If you are bothered, do not hesitate to say so”) and the newspaper’s apology.

Symbols, there are so many others. The Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Annie Ernaux. The jury of the Prix Médicis which has just unveiled its second selection of novels comprising seven authors and one author. Laurence des Cars, first woman appointed head of the Louvre Museum. The Palme d’or 2021, in Cannes, for Titanium of Julia Ducournaufollowed three months later by Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Audrey Diwan and his film The Event.

Read the picture: Article reserved for our subscribers Annie Ernaux, a Nobel whose “I” says the common experience

At the last Mostra, precisely, where the star Timothée Chalamet walked the Lido red carpet with a hybrid red jumpsuit – pants down, bare backs up – several films were hosted by homosexuals, transgenders, transvestites or drag queens. With two symbols: Trace Lysette, first transgender actress in a main role for a film in competition (Monica) and Cate Blanchett as a conductor married to a violinist (Tar). All of this doesn’t necessarily make good films, but men don’t necessarily make good films either.

Theater and classical music have moved

There is still a delay in cultural parity, notes the 2022 report of the Ministry of Culture, but which adds that two sectors, considered to be lagging behind, theater and classical music, have moved strongly. In four years, the proportion of women running one of the thirty-eight National Drama Centers in France has risen from 20% to 42%. And the number of female conductors, long almost non-existent, has doubled at the Philharmonie or the Paris Opera.

The best student – ​​and by far – remains that of the visual arts, to the point of serving as a laboratory for other disciplines. Let’s see what happens. The list of exhibitions by women artists to be seen now or in the coming months is phenomenal, amplifying a rhythm set in motion two or three years ago: Alice Neel, Rosa Happiness, Joan Mitchell, Frida KahloFrançoise Pétrovitch, Farah Atassi in Paris, Niki de Saint Phalle in Toulouse, Marcelle Cahn near Saint-Etienne, several names in Bordeaux, Fabienne Verdier in Colmar, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva in Dijon, Nicole Eisenman in Arles… Let us add that the prestigious Venice Biennale is very feminist.

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“The feminization of culture in France is accelerating, proof that it is less foam than a ground swell”