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French Minister Marlene Schiappa Criticised For Appearing On Playboy Cover, Top Minister Comes In Support

While some criticised French Minister Marlene Schiappa's appearance on Playboy's cover, she and others defended it as rightful expression of personal and bodily autonomy. The Playboy issue features her interview on women's and LGBTQ rights.

French Minister Marlene Schiappa
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After French Minister Marlene Schiappa posed for the cover of Playboy magazine, a section of French politicians and commentators criticised her. 

Critics of Marlene's decision to pose for Playboy magazine's cover said the timing and decision were inappropriate. Lately, France has experienced widespread violent protests over President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms. 

However, Marlene and several others defended the Playboy cover photo as a rightful expression of her personal and bodily autonomy. These include Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin who came on TV to support Marlene and said "you won't make me say anything bad about Marlène Schiappa...being a liberated woman is not that easy".

Playboy is a men's magazine and it is known for its nude and semi-nude photographs of models and the potentially sexually explicit content has come under critcism in the past from feminist thinkers, noted American gender and sexuality historian Carrie Pitzulo.

"Of course, it was the sex that most people associate with Playboy, in particular the Playmate centerfolds. When the women’s movement emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminists like Gloria Steinem and others railed against the sexism inherent in the Playboy worldview. They argued that Hefner was a chauvinist who exploited young women for his own sexual and financial gain," noted Carrie in an article for The Conversation, referring to Hugh Hefner, the Playboy founder. 

Marlene Schiappa stands by cover photo

Marlene Schiappa is the Secretary of State for Social & Solidarity Economy & Associative Life of France in the French government. She is a French minister since 2017.

Marlene is a well-known feminist, which she also mentions in her Twitter bio. She writes "feminist forever" in her Twitter bio.

In the April issue of Playboy, Marlene appears in a white dress on the cover. The issue also features her 12-page interview on women and LGBTQ rights. While several people, including her prime minister herself, she stood by her cover photo.

In apparent response to criticism and trolling, Marlene tweeted in French: "Defending the right of women to dispose of their bodies is everywhere and all the time. In France, women are free. With all due respect to the backsliders and the hypocrites. #Playboy."

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne called Marlene personally to tell her that it "was not at all appropriate, especially in the current period", an aide told AFP on Saturday, as per France 24.

Geoeconomist Daniel Foubert termed Marlene's Playboy cover photo another sign of "moronic" government.

However, top French minister Gerard Darmanin came on TV to support Marlene and said "you won't make me say anything bad about Marlène Schiappa...being a liberated woman is not that easy".

He further said he "wanted to say that Marlene Schiappa is a courageous female politician who has her character and who has her style which is not mine, but I respect".

Marlene Schiappa, a feminist leader and author

Marlene Schiappa is Secretary of State for Social & Solidarity Economy & Associative Life of France in the French government.

Marlene is a well-known feminist leader and an advocate of women's and LGBTQ rights. She is also an author.

"The mother of two was a prolific author and blogger before her career in politics, writing about the challenges of motherhood, women's health and pregnancy. She also penned a 2010 book that offered sex tips for the overweight, which some critics saw as propagating stereotypes," notes France 24.

Marlene spearheaded a law that addresses crimes against women in France.

CNN notes, "Schiappa has been a long-time advocate for women’s rights and was appointed as the country’s first ever Gender Equality Minister in 2017. In this role, she successfully spearheaded a new sexual harassment law which allows for on the spot fines to be issued to men who catcall, harass or follow women on the street."

UPI news agency notes that the Playboy issue with Marlene on the cover will be released on Saturday.

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