French prime minister: Naked breasts represent France better than a headscarf

French prime minister: Naked breasts represent France better than a headscarf
Detail from "Liberty Leading the People," by Eugene Delacroix (Image: eugene-delacroix.com)

The French prime minister has drawn criticism for suggesting that naked breasts are more representative of France than a headscarf, in the latest flare-up of the bitter political row over the burkini.

Manuel Valls, who clashed with France’s education minister over his support for mayors who have banned full-body swimsuits from beaches, gave a rousing speech on Monday night in which he hailed the bare breasts of Marianne, a national symbol of the French Republic.

“Marianne has a naked breast because she is feeding the people! She is not veiled, because she is free! That is the republic!” he thundered at a government rally.

The inference that bare breasts were a symbol of France while the Muslim headscarf was problematic sparked scorn from politicians and derision from historians and feminists.

Continue reading →


Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.