The woman does the shopping, the cooking and the dishes. The man prepares the barbecue. This caricatural staging of daily life was at the heart of a violent controversy in the summer of 2022, following a speech by the ecologist Sandrine Rousseau. The elected one urged to changing mentality so that eating a steak cooked on a barbecue is no longer a symbol of virility “. By attacking the barbecue, MP EELV was not only attacking inequalities between men and women. She entered the garden of “Happy France”, the myth on which Fabien Roussel campaigned, as a daily newspaper makes simple happiness and consumable pleasures.
To attack the barbecue is to attack a symbol set up as a way of life, that of the material aspirations of a large majority of French people, withdrawn into their close sociabilities and now disengaged from politics and the course of the world. . If the remark has caused so much controversy, it is because it prints a dividing line in the public debate which, in the wake of the #metoo movement, designates as harmful a whole series of previously innocuous practices. From now on, even the most banal social and human relationships are caught in the trap of societal debates and their meaning in terms of gender, even in our most daily behaviors!
Ever more political intimacy
Despite the debates that animate the media sphere and their polarization, the movement is pushing towards a society that is increasingly tolerant of sexual and gender identities. In our exclusive survey, 55% of French people consider that French society “accepts more” differences in sexual orientation, 59% welcome this and 50% pass a similar judgment on the acceptance of gender differences, 53% s rejoicing. On the other hand, the tension remains much more perceptible on religious differences, 51% of our compatriots believing that society accepts them less and less. Reading these figures, we can understand the dynamics of opinion that can currently carry the most critical parties with regard to immigration (graph 4).
In this context, feminism has become one of the strong and visible values of our time, even if the ways of claiming it have largely evolved. After first-wave feminism attached to the defense and equal rights, second-wave feminism displaced criticism of the body, sexuality and oppression within the family. The slogan “our bodies, ourselves” has become the central emblem of the struggle for the conquest of political autonomy. The exasperation with the status of the “woman-object” led to the elaboration of a critical apparatus making it possible to make explicit the mechanisms of male domination, present in education and in daily domestic interactions. The private has become intrinsically political. And the ads of female figureheads posing next to gleaming vehicles have become socially unacceptable, forcing many brands, especially lingerie, to take a radical turn towards inclusion, by promoting the diversity of their models.
By politicizing the ways of speaking, of eating, of dressing, of making love, post-metoo feminism inherits this tradition and adds to it a more spontaneous, undoubtedly less intellectual tone. Triviality becomes the proper object of criticism, and everyday words the new tools of struggle. The colossal successes of the books of journalist Mona Cholet (Beauty fatal, witches, reinvent love…), bear witness to the strong need for a feminist critique within the reach of ordinary language and experience.
Extension of the domain of criticism
It is now a question of moralizing, often through the use of social networks and viral controversy, individual behavior to reveal the role that certain words or gestures play in social injustice. This extension of the domain of criticism to the whole daily sphere is nevertheless done at the permanent risk of the trial in irrationality or victimization. In the same way that there is a connection between manhood and barbecue, rape culture links whistling in the street, violent behavior in the private sphere, stereotypes in movies and socio-economic inequalities on a more global level. The concept of “androcene” thus claims to make a radical feminist reading of all social relations the key to understanding the contradictions that political economy and mass culture inflict on both nature and social relations. between the sexes. In the wake of the #metoo movement, which focused first on the professional sphere, a new page of liberation of women’s speech also opened at the end of the 2000s, permitted either by anonymity, or by the characteristic virality of social networks. We have thus moved from the field of gender-based violence at work, to the denunciation of micro-aggressions in the public space on which thousands of women continue to speak out every day.
Politicians themselves must adapt to this new context, for example by taking up the problem of street harassment, which has become a crime of “sexist outrage”. Politics is called upon to respond to these demands for inclusion, by structuring itself in words and deeds. Whether it is for the National Rally to articulate its discourse on insecurity and immigration or to change its position on abortion, or for the other left and center parties to respond to it by adapting their ideological grid on emancipation from patriarchy.
Generations, a new divide
Politics is therefore on our plates, in our behavior, in our clothes and our hobbies. Identity questioning and individual suffering have become means of questioning political institutions. The perception of the generational divide is thereby reinforced, as evidenced by the global success of the hashtag #Okboomer, which continues to represent for its users the fact that the source of climatic and economic injustices is primarily linked to the age of policy makers and their constituents. Because in the representations and values on these questions of identity and gender, the generational divide is massive.
The younger generation is also seasoned to gender theories very early on. Her favorite influencers – Lena Situations, Manon Seclin, Salomé Saqué or even Manon Bril – perfectly master the codes and embody a media presence that is both cool and “determined”.
The sophisticated concepts of intersectionality, transidentity or “non-binarity” are also familiar to them. Generation Z realizes in its practices the theoretical dreams of Judith Butler in Gender Disorder, according to which it would be possible to change sexual identity like shirt. Each sexual identity offers itself as a possible choice. This generation thus claims the use of the body, of clothing, of make-up and of language as political tools making it possible to invest the public space to reconfigure, reinvent sexual identities. And the commitment, essentially digital, becomes permanent. The “like”, or the “outraged status” are a means of access to a new form of politicization: continuous “commentary”! “Slacktivism” takes precedence over “real” activism.
#meetoo, #balancetonporc, #blacklivesmatter: the major youth mobilizations of recent years all have in common that they first took the form of a rallying cry. Everything happens as if the need to federate a community on the web under a virtual banner now took precedence over the constitution of a militant organization on the ground. The places of political action are no longer parties or unions but social networks and, to a lesser extent, associations. In our survey, only 16% of respondents say they still want to be active in a political party and 19% in a trade union, while 49% say that the current situation makes them more eager to express their point of view on what is important to them. (Chart 5).
Networks are in fact social, in that they promote the grouping together of communities of very diverse hardships or experiences, which can range from groups or forums bringing together victims of domestic violence to people sensitive to environmental, gender or social issues. medical. However, precisely because the networks are based on the community logic, they also tend to further accentuate the dynamics of atomization and individualization of the social body. Social networks organize
thus a social world where tolerance is expressed more easily with regard to individuals and behaviors perceived as relating to individual freedom and experience than to norms proceeding from institutions deemed to be conservative (family, religious, political).
Because the values of tolerance and inclusion are now backed by ostentatious consumption practices with political connotations, brands must be present to support a societal movement to fight against stereotypes. As the journalist Nora Bouazzouni shows in her book Steaksism. Ending the myth of vegetarian and meatit is no longer possible today to sell yogurts featuring a young executive with a youthful face concerned about her transit problems. Brands must therefore understand what is now not or no longer acceptable and respond to new demands for representation from civil society. However, this does not give them the possibility of completely replacing the sphere of debate. Two risks are omnipresent. The “bad buzz” due to manipulation of claims (cultural appropriation or “greenwashing”) or the distortion of the message in the choice of too much sophistication in the discourse.
The recent family planning campaign proudly displaying that “In planning, we know that men can also be pregnant” has undoubtedly paid the price. Instead of participating in a greater understanding of the public with regard to the issues of reproduction and inclusion of “trans” people, the poster aroused, including among a public with progressive ideas, a very strong incomprehension. , even rejection. To understand the message conveyed by the drawing, it was necessary not only to be comfortable with the distinction between sex and gender, to understand the notion of performativity of language on social categories and to know that since 2016, French law has made it possible to compliance with their marital status and their “felt” gender.
On the contrary, it is by seeking as much as possible to mobilize representations close to everyday life to develop an inclusive brand message that success can be expected. An example of success in terms of effective inclusive communication can be found on the side of the Decathlon brand, which has been able to develop offbeat and humorous communication on its camping chairs associated not only with the world of mountain hiking but also with urban culture and the hip-hop universe featuring neighborhood life. With a lot of memes and photo contests, the Quechua subsidiary was able to mobilize all its consumers (including young people from working-class neighborhoods) like a real virtual community, to effectively convey the renewal of its brand image. .
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Third trend of the 366/BVA study: Together but different! – Influence
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