Catherine Deneuve – defending l’amour, but not rape



Catherine Deneuve, the formidably beautiful icon of French cinema is picking up flak for suggesting the #metoo campaign is a new puritanism, portraying women as weak and hates both men and sexuality. An open letter to Le Monde, signed by 100 French women, said: “Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss. Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack.”

Deneuve, was born 22 October 1943 1.35pm Paris, the daughter of two stage actors, has worked for cinema greats like Truffaut, Bunuel and Polanski; lived with a succession of starry men like photographer David Bailey, Mastroianni, Roger Vadim and a Canal+ executive, and supported liberal causes throughout her career.

She does have an intriguing though tough chart. Her 9th house Libra Sun is trine Mars Saturn in Gemini, sextiling onto an 8th house Jupiter. Lucky definitely, though with a hard edge from Saturn Mars. Libra women tend to incline towards their fathers and take a less sympathetic view of their mothers, perhaps one reason she wants to introduce some balance into the heated argument. She does have a packed 8th house with Venus in Virgo, Jupiter, Moon and North Node in Leo there and Pluto on the cusp – so sexuality will be important to her.

The other notable co-signee is Catherine Millet, a writer and editor of an art magazine, but best known for her 2002 memoir The Sexual Life of Catherine M, which was described as “the most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman”. Born 1 April 1948 3.15pm Bois-Colombes, France, she also has an exceptionally intense and hard chart with an 8th house Aries Sun opposition Neptune square a Capricorn Moon, and trine a 12th house Saturn, Pluto, Mars in Leo.

The French are incorrigible flirts and woe betide anyone who gets in the way of their wholehearted appreciation of l’amour. It’s partly also a generational argument with older women who relished the sexual liberation of the 1960s, seeing #metoo at risk of rolling back the clock. While younger women see it as a stand against harassment.

28 thoughts on “Catherine Deneuve – defending l’amour, but not rape

  1. Hmm, I was close to my Dad, but this is a movement of the young women as happened in the seventies. You better get out of way Catherine and let the gals through, they want change and they won’t be polite as we were in the seventies, many have lived much harder lives financially in a rapidly changing world.

  2. With her abundance of 8th-house planets, Deneuve is way too tough on the movement, and I think really tone-deaf and unsympathetic. It’s very easy for her to say, “Just tough it out, ladies, and deal with it, and let men flirt,” etc.

    But having been famous since her 20s, I question whether she’s ever had to say no to a man many times over, as other women do working in offices, restaurants, running businesses, trying to climb to the top, etc.

    What she says about sexual harassment seems extremely naive to me and ill-informed, and it doesn’t surprise me to see her Neptune in Libra as well, and in the 9th house of knowledge and justice, too, never mind that she has so many self-serving Leo planets (yes, she’s also creative).

  3. Stats show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in 99% of cases by men – so it amazes me the likes of Catherine and Ann Widdecombe cannot grasp that the figures of women being assaulted/harassed might be just as high. 1 in 6 women in the USA alone have been subjected to an attempted rape or full rape. I also read that men who had been subjected to rape/an attempt were very high too; something like 1 in 12 (In US jails the figures are believed to be even higher than the female stats). Those figures are HUGE!! There is a massive problem within our Western culture and it needs to be rectified and an intense education put in place. This is NOT about an army of misandrists who want to bring down a misogynistic society.

    In a late night rant on CBB, Ann Widdecombe, began belittling the #metoo movement by stating, “women have done some horrible things to men… there is now such a lot of whimpery and complaints about trivia and snowflakery.” Of course, women have done horrible things to men! Of course, there are narcissists in the #metoo movement who seriously need to shut up. But to completely sweep away millions of voices who have been subjected to awful things as if they were just a bunch of attention seeking banshees demanding to be heard because some strange man looked at them wrong at the bus stop, is quite frankly, shocking and very typical of a narcissistic term called gaslighting (wiki states: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.) Ann and Catherine are as much a product (albeit positive for them) of a misogynistic society as the victims that live within it. I think Catherine and Ann are wrong by trying to shut down the conversation by equating that women are as bad as men. There is not a culture or a country on this planet where women systematically keep men back, repress them, take away their rights, and sexually violate them in varying degrees because THEY CAN and in which the law often protects the men (in sex crimes) and demeans women that many are too scared to come forward and report it. Are ALL men like this? NO! But there is enough for there to be a big problem. But don’t some women have these vile traits too? Of course, they do! Individually but NOT culturally. 9 in 10 child abuse cases men are the abuser – why do we not just all assume that we must keep all children away from men because they must be perverts? Aren’t the anti-#metoo brigade insinuating this idea between the men and women? Perhaps because we have proper reasoning skills? And yet when sexuality in adults is thrown into the mix those same reasoning skills seem to vaporize and extreme defensiveness and gender expectations ensues in which it because problematic to get to the root cause. If a child (and even a man) is abused, society sits up and listens and takes it seriously. But when women state the same it’s often met with an eye roll and a belief of her being a whore who obviously asked for it due to the way she dressed/said something, etc. We need to have this discourse thrown out into the public to try and clean out the wound. By questioning an entire group of women as pathetic, fragile, and manipulating only helps keep the misogynistic elements in place. Seriously, because of this movement all men are in danger of being destroyed? Then I guess we all see every brown person or Muslim as a terrorist because the media insinuates it, huh? Anyone with basic reasoning skills would know this is not the case so why should it be different with the #metoo campaign which is miniscule in its damage compared to the zealous malignment of a whole race of people? The eye rolling and judgments the victims are facing from the likes of Deneuve and Widdecombe is no different from what victims face in the court and in society on a daily basis. It is just more acutely focused. This discourse will benefit both women and MEN – it will not result in men being clinical and damaged and too scared to do anything. There are men out there who have healthy emotional IQ’s and a bedrock of compassion, you know. These are the men who need to educate the boys in the future and define the new way forward.

    Sorry for the long, bloated ramble!

    • Just like to add I think Catherine Deneuve is probably more switched on in regards to the genders than Ann bleedin’ Widdecombe and I do get what she means but I often find Misogyny is as prevalent in women, ala Widdecombe, as it is in men. How can it not be if our culture is enmeshed in it?

  4. I’m not going to belabor the point I was trying to make. Suffice to say that this whole MeToo issue is complicated–loaded with nuances and tinged with a certain amount of hypocrisy.

        • Loved this and never seen it before. It’s so astute in conveying the ludicrousness when the genders are turned which goes to show just how ridiculous and insulting these questions are when a woman is interviewed under police enquiry (or even social/cultural judgments for that matter.)

          • V funny and apt. Reminds me of a crack made by a judge to a child abuser in the dock, who insisted the young boy had been fondling him when he woke up. Judge asked and what would you have done if he’d had his hand on your wallet rather than your penis?
            The police have been neanderthals about sexual offences in the past (and many other things) and appear to be staggeringly incompetent now that they’ve been forced to switch tack. ‘They wanted it’ was always the cry of sex offenders, mainly accepted regrettably by the general public (on juries) who collude in believing their lies because the truth is too unpleasant.
            Attitudes to sexual offences have always been skewed by the public’s disinclination to know – and not just by men either. I ran a child abuse campaign in the 1990s and at the end of five bruising years reckoned the problem of paedophiles and their bizarre supporters could probably be cracked with huge effort. What couldn’t be cracked was the great mass of people out on society who did not want to know and most often hostilely didn’t want to know. And they were women as well as men.
            But all Deneuve and older generation women are saying is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Stamp hard on criminal offences, change workplace culture where it’s a problem but recognise that flirting and the complicated dance of l’amour is a natural part of life.

  5. #metoo isn’t about puritinism. It’s about consent. If you flirt and receive a negative response, stop. If you touch someone and they ask you not to, stop. That’s it. No one is saying men and women can’t flirt. They’re saying to respect the people around you and their right to say no, and don’t use your position as a boss to compromise someone’s ability to say no.

    Also, what women wear doesn’t matter. Ever. No one deserves to be assaulted, even just a pat on the ass, because of what they are wearing.

    I’ve already heard that there are French women disagreeing with Deneuve, and I think she’s going to face some more flak for her position.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with this, Carron. No means no. It doesn’t mean to stop flirting and having banter but there are many men out there who either cannot read the no signs or just don’t give a toss either way. Some of the stories I’ve heard in the workplace absolutely shock me how the man can think it is appropriate behaviour, even in days gone by. I knew of a lady who worked for the BBC back in the day who on her first day in the office the boss swanned in, caught sight of her and strode over and immediately grabbed and jiggled her breasts demanding to know what cup size they were. She sternly told him to remove his hands but he just laughed and told her what size he thought she was anyway before stalking off into his office. He did this quite regularly with the new starters. She was of the older generation but she was angry even in her later years about it but she told me, “you just got on with it because there was nothing you could do about it.” Even though this story is not what I would call anywhere as serious as the more disturbing sexual assaults and rape stories that prevail it still staggers me how a man today or even decades ago would think this would be appropriate behaviour. They just brush it off and call it banter and that women are too sensitive. Really? Let’s see if these men would call it banter and handle it more sensitively if another man strolled up to their wives or daughters and grabbed their breasts in front of them. I’m pretty sure they would flip their lids and not because of respect for their women but because another man dared to encroach and abuse his ‘property.’

  6. I think that this me too campaign is going too far I feel sorry for those women, men and boys who have been hideously abused but there are people who will be wrongly accused and their careers ruined! Years ago I found myself in tricky situations with work colleagues one who offered to get me s promotion if I slept with him – I laughed and said that was such a cliche and other grabbed me inappropriately and wouldn’t let go until I told them he would be projectile vomiting his b—-s across the room! Women need to say no, girls need to be taught to say no and stop giving me mixed messages Golden Globes rightfully a case in point!

  7. There are two sides to the MeToo story. While it is a fact that men can be predatory and take outrageous liberties with women, perceiving them as mere objects, it’s also a fact that women invite this behavior to a certain extent. Look at some of the outfits worn by the female stars at the Golden Globes–boobs hanging out, see-through gowns with slits “up to here.” Look at the women’s magazines whose ads essentially tell their readers that it’s all-important to be sexy and attract men. At the grocery stores I frequent, Cosmopolitan magazine is prominently displayed at check-out. Its cover lines veritably scream instructions re how to please a man in bed. What are men to make of all this? It has to be somewhat confusing. They’re getting mixed messages. Again, there are two sides…..

    • I think that is a very pertinent point.

      Religious Puritans are at least intellectually consistent in their arguments even if they rarely conform to them in practise. They recognise that uncontrolled expressions of sexuality are a potentially dangerous and uncontrollable so they hedge both sexes around with strict rules on dress, behaviour and social interaction. Modern western secular society appears to want it all ways so people of all sexes are objectified to sell products and people are often judged on their superficial sexual attractiveness by society. Unfortunately like most things in life using this aspect of human nature to sell things or even oneself comes with a potentially negative payback. As in so many things the Universe is trying to tell us that humanity cannot have it all and that restraint and balance is required.

  8. Deneuve’s sister François Dorleac died in a road accident in 1967 so her life has been touched by tragedy. The French are never going to conform to US or British obsessions about anything so the statement may be designed deliberately to get under the skin of what they perceive as uptight Puritanical Anglophones and to highlight Gallic exceptionalism. One of the rather smug delusions of the English speaking world is to assume that the rest of humanity shares its views on a wide range of topics when the reality is it does not.

    • The French are undoubtedly contrarian and never quite recovered from the whole Lewinsky brouha. They couldn’t begin to understand why that even raised a speck of interest.

    • Another French voice to back up your point Hugh (and I agree heartily). Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in the Telegraph.
      ‘Suddenly, centuries of the unique French charm of men-women camaraderie and badinage are in danger of being erased, to be replaced by puritanism à l’Américaine. We detest the DSK types, but we also ridicule Vice President Pence, who would never have dinner with a woman other than his wife, and has said that while working, he will never close the door of any office where he’s alone with a woman. That way lie Victorian women-only carriages, and the Saudi insistence on guardianship.’

      • I always thought British culture, despite it’s many flaws, seemed to be the balance between American and French attitudes; though ironic as it’s often depicted as the most uptight of the three.

  9. Do Libra men also relate more to their fathers, Marjorie? I always thought of it as a feminine sign but now that you have pointed out that Libran females tend to take a less sympathetic view of women I’ve started to notice even more, oddly enough. I’ve noticed many of them littering the political arena. Outside of it, former politician, Ann Widdecombe, who is currently on Celebrity Big Brother which is themed this year as ‘The Year of the Woman.’. The conversation about Harvey Weinstein came up and out of all the women present, I’d say she was the most unsympathetic about Harvey’s victims. One housemate, Jess, said how terrified she would be if she got cornered by a man in such a situation who wanted sex and thought she’d be too scared to fight the man off. Ann’s flippant answer was, “Oh for god’s sake, you just push them off!” To me, that insinuated she thought of as Jess as some pathetic woman who needed to grow a pair of ovaries and that the situation would never get so serious if you just put a man in his place. It took American, Maleka, to talk sense and say to Ann that a lot of men don’t force themselves on women but subtly coerce them into ‘safe’ zones in which they take what they want. Cue Ann rolling her eyes!

    I’ve noticed women like Ann and Catherine only seem to focus on the less serious aspects and mock it as they try to coerce it back into ‘reasonable pragmatic waters’. Any woman with any sense clearly knows that a man who goes in for an unwanted quick fumble of the knee or a kiss is not seen as a sex pest but more of an annoyance. Myself and all the women in my own family and my female friends have been subjected to shocking behaviour from men, including one who was a victim of the vile Max Clifford, so the #metoo campaign did not surprise me at all that this kind of behaviour is global. I think when women like Catherine stand up to declare that sense needs to prevail it is nothing more than a female form of misogyny in itself. They themselves need approval from the men they admire so they are publicly setting themselves apart from the rest by gaslighting all these women’s ridiculous thought processes that have caused things to get out of hand, or so it seems to them.

    • Jo, I’m in agreement with you, and want to add that some of problem is men offering jobs for sex. They aren’t subtle or sneaky or in safe zones. They just reduce the woman to a sex act in exchange for coveted employment.

    • My understanding is that Libra is a cross-over sign – the sign of the scales. Women’s bodies with masculine minds; men’s bodies with feminine minds. So the male Libras tend to be softer than female Libras and more accommodating to their mothers presumably.
      I’m older generation so find the metoo and date rape debate goes a tad too far at times. Yes bad guys need stamped on hard; and yes there are women trapped in jobs where pervy bosses are scary and a pain; and yes bad behaviour has been going on far too long which is why it has emerged with such force. But it does need a modicum of balance. Portraying women continually as helpless victims does the cause of equality no good.
      In my early days in a Glasgow newsroom, the mini-est secretary if she didn’t fancy anyone who made a clumsy pass would have wrapped a typewriter round their ears. OK different milieu from some. Sex is a more complicated area of life than some would like to imagine, which is what I suspect Deneuve and others are trying to say.

      • Marjorie, I see the generational difference here, straight away, because for you, it’s about male bosses and secretaries, or anyhow, women just trying to make it somehow in professional environment.

        As for me – Libra Pluto generation, and in my case, that Pluto conjunct Sun – it’s about people who should treat me as their equals, and aren’t. I don’t see #metoo, and ladies who come forward such as, the latest, Mira Sorvino as “playing victim”. I see this as an equal rights issue. I have equal rights to professional life and occupying the public space in peace to our male counterparts. I honestly had to stop following some people – really, to be frank, women born before the mid-60’s – on Social Media early on #metoo, because their solution to actresses who had been harrassed was “leave Hollywood and get a real job”. And I thought, why should they, if acting is what they are great at and want to do? Therefore, I’d say that in the language of Our Generation, we’re “Angry AF”, not victim.

        Also, I find this whole “French will be French” thing a bit cliché, too. (Your favorite, lol) President Macron has been extremely supportive to women and men coming forward with awful experiences. I think he is typical of his generation. I’ve had professional dealings with French people, I shared an appartment with a French Erasmus student (a girl, but she’d invite people over all the time because we had a big kitchen) for a term and currently, I have two French dads among parents’ committee at my daughter’s preschool. And you know what, they do not come across more “flirtatious” than an average Finns. If anything, you are more likely to see a Dane cross some boarders than a Frenchman. They just seem very proper, to me.

        • Wrong Solaia. I was a boss and came up through the rough and tumble of newspaper/TV newsrooms. Maybe life has changed but we fought our corner then in terms of being taken as equals; and not being taken advantage of sexually (unless he was fancied.) I was discussing with a same-age friend recently and we agreed we were never scared to say NO loudly and clearly and men seemed to accept that. Has that changed? The impression given now is that men as a type are predatory as well as being deaf and insensitive. The older generation were brought up by mothers who had lived through the war and grandmothers the first war and they were tougher.
          I worked for commercial TV and the BBC and can honestly say I has never harassed sexually by bosses. Screaming rows over work but that was normal for both genders. And yes there was resentment about a female boss, but only by those with unresolved mother complexes. Tant pis.
          I did write a piece for my blog which explains some of the above.

    • Great post Jo, thanks. I agree.

      Marjorie, it’s interesting what you say about male and female Librans. Many years ago I had two bosses, one a Libran male and one a Libran female. I was very young and it was a difficult role in a very new field and the male boss was a nice man, he would empathise with the challenges and listen to me and agree. However, he was totally ineffectual in making anything better. He left and I then reported directly into the female Libran. She was bloody fantastic! However, she never returned after maternity leave, which surprised me.

      Libran female relative I find a bit more challenging, although that’s not quite the right word because she is really nice. But what you say, Jo, about wanting to apply a superficial logic to everything and mocking anything more complex rings true here. My Libran peers are noticeably different, Uranus and/or Pluto in Libra changes the expression compared to Librans like Catherine with Neptune there.

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