A recent TV drama described the long, bitter feud between Hollywood sirens Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. It showed in gory detail their creative struggle with each other and the heartless Hollywood studios which owned them. According to the story, Davis won because she had raw talent whilst Crawford only ever had looks.

Bette was a plain, skinny little thing and struggled mightily to get the lascivious movie moguls to cast her. It was years before they gave her anything worthy of her, but she managed to gain respect through sheer force of talent on stage and screen. Poor Joan, when her looks faded, was left with dust and ashes (and the Pepsi company after she married its founder).

Incredibly, after nearly sixty years of feminism, if they were starting out as actresses today their fates would be reversed: Joan would be the winner and Bette would get nowhere. Looking at the line-up of winning women gathered this week for the Hollywood Golden Globe Awards, what was striking was how similar they all looked, more like humanoid robots than expressive artists, and almost all could have been fashion models. The exception was Christina Hendricks, shorter and rounder, mainly famous since her role in the TV series Mad Men, set in the 1960s, for her bra size.

Despite swapping the word ‘actress’ for the harder-edged ‘actor’, all a woman needs now to be a success on stage or screen is model-girl looks. Pulchritude is seen in Hollywood as a sign of virtue, and feminine behaviour must be visibly sweet too. Gone are the days of strange, cold Garbo, a woman who was distinctly uninviting. Where are the equivalents of the androgynous and challenging Katharine Hepburn or cool, self-contained Lauren Bacall?

Sadly, Hollywood casting culture arrived at the BBC some time ago. It was most obvious this Christmas in the BBC version of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. The March girls were all pretty and feeble, lacking the zest and independence seen in the Hollywood versions of the 40s and 50s. If Dames Judi Dench or Eileen Atkins were starting out now, it’s doubtful if they would get very far. Miriam Margolyes might have been good as the first female Doctor Who, a parallel to crusty old William Hartnell, the first male Doctor, but of course the Tardis is now occupied by a beautiful woman, Jodie Whittaker.

The bony women lined up at the Golden Globes were famously decked out in black as part of the ‘#MeToo’ protest against lecherous movie executives. They are quite rightly uncomfortable at being molested by men in power, but they must know that globalised money has trumped feminism in Hollywood, and they are integral to that. They are only too happy to work in an environment where their appearance, not their ability, is the commodity for sale. ‘Lookism’ has made them winners, but the downside is that the type of men attracted to work in Hollywood are chiefly interested in money and sex. It’s a bit like complaining about estate agents and bankers. Unfortunately these women’s discontent with their world has fed into the new feminism, which equates all male sexual activity with abuse of power and sin against womankind.

(It’s white men who are up for censure, of course; the abusive practices of those from minorities are never mentioned. At the Golden Globes Saint Oprah Winfrey managed to turn the whole event into a lecture about the abuse suffered by her minority at the hands of whites in the 1950s. The beautiful women in black applauded wildly, not even noticing that their own identity issue had been hijacked.)

Throughout 2017 famous white men and their careers were thrown aside like casting-couch lingerie, destroyed by accusations of past sins. But now there has been an unexpected check from Europe to this Puritan hysteria. Ancient but esteemed actress Catherine Deneuve, supported by a hundred other French actresses, strongly rejects this ‘hatred of men’ and refuses to take part in ‘public lynching’. In Paris, where people have always flagrantly enjoyed sex without guilt, they have been observing how easily America and its UK bedfellow have come to equate a hand on the knee with rape. On the BBC Today programme, journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet identified ‘a new wave of Puritanism’, and pointed out that a man asking a woman to have dinner, or sex, however clumsily, is not committing an act of violence. With Gallic coolness she also remarked that in America everything is seen as black or white, while in France they still have nuance. That might even be a French word.

The French are riding to the rescue of free-thinking, decadent conservatives who mistrust hysterical social dogma. Moutet says the moral panic from feminists is ‘destroying the ambiguity, charm and difficulty of relations between men and women’.

Her words sum up the difference between Hollywood and the French cinema, between America and old Europe. Strangely, French women from a Catholic culture who’ve never had the economic or cultural independence of their American sisters, who didn’t get the vote until 1948, refuse to see themselves as victims and believe they are equal to men, at least in sexual matters. Unlike their counterparts in the US and the UK they are confident in their role as women. Their culture suddenly seems infinitely more grown-up and sensible than ours, and better suited to a future when men and women must learn to respect each other within the context of this greedy, globalised world.


  1. Another interesting article published today on the agenda…see
    “#metoo is beginning of a female power grab on Hollywood”

    Not just in Hollywood, I would suggest…it’s everywhere…even Mrs May seems 100% on board…even though she illustrates every day she has been promoted way beyond her abilities…

  2. It isn’t “a new wave of Puritanism” at all. It’s a blind, willing and lemming-like wave of idiotic renunciation of free thought in favour of following whatever intellect-free tweet gains status as being rightly and properly correct. For this to happen requires a society where values of intellectual enquiry and rational and evidential evaluation have been deliberately and systematically eviscerated. This is where we are. I don’t see very much “puritanism”, in fact I doubt whether any of those involved would even want or even know what that term meant. If there is to be any kind of “puritanism”, it is likely to come from les enfants chéris of those who see themselves today as the icons of pc sensibility and it is these very same protected ones who will impose a backward and regressive and repressive ideology on all of us, particularly on us women and starting, as examples, with the gobby glitterati leading the lemmings off the cliff today. They are idiots, pure (!!!!) and truly simple.

    • “For this to happen requires a society where values of intellectual enquiry and rational and evidential evaluation have been deliberately and systematically eviscerated.”

      Yes, indeed. The progressive Left saw that a society of child-like intellectual pygmies would be so much easier to manipulate and control than one composed of educated, self-responsible grown-ups, and so they’ve spent the last 50 years systematically attempting to destroy anything obstructive to the former, or supportive of the latter.

  3. I distrust the #MeToo bandwagon. While I don’t condone the powerful dispensing their influence for sexual (or any other) favours I wonder how many actors/actresses went along with industry practice at the time and only now claim to be exploited? How many have created ‘recovered’ memories of sexual assault rather than ordinary human interaction?

    Yes, true sexual assault should be investigated and prosecuted but ‘bandwagon remorse’ years later? Not so much.

    • Not to mention many of the stories are either made-up or grossly exaggerated. Google images of Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein for details. Rose McGowan is one of those crowing the loudest but 10 years ago didn’t seem so concerned with Uncle Harvey. Now when her star is fading she bleats to the press – not the police – the press.

      I’m afraid all we are witnessing here is little more than fading female stars who want to bask one more time in the public eye and are prepared to lie and exaggerate to do it. You see, it’s not enough to simply be beautiful to compete with all the other beauties who want a chance at fame – you have to be mental too. A select group of beautiful narcissists that are all going slowly ever more mental when they drop out of the public eye.

  4. Worthy, but it ignores a couple of inconvenient realities.

    First, concerning women’s appearance in general, women’s cosmetics have “improved” greatly in past decades, so that a certain type of cosmetic uniformity is far more common in the 21st Century than the 20th.

    Second, actresses like Kirsten Dunst, Audrey Tatou, even Scarlett Johansen — whilst clearly they are all attractive women — do not owe their success to “looks alone”.

    And such women as Murielle Robin, Emmanuelle Riva, and Catherine Tate have demonstrated rather emphatically that pure talent can still be the pathway to success.

  5. #MeToo is a globalist plot to gradually pathologise all heterosexual activity to destroy the family unit and thin our numbers dramatically. As homosexuality is normalised, youngsters are pushed towards non reproductive and degenerate sexual practices as psychologically and over time, the thought of normal sex will be negative. These Hollywood actors and actresses are implementing the Brave New World agenda on behalf of their globalist masters knowing that if they dont play ball, they will not work again and their careers will be over.

  6. I live in Paris and there is a reason why it enjoys its reputation as the most romantic of cities. The paradox, in such a socialist city, is that the culture of heterosexual courtship is still delightfully conservative.

    Here the women make themselves as alluring as they can and invite male attention ranging from complimentary, through flirting (a French invention), to seduction.

    A word of advice to male newbies to Paris: If it is to go that far, ‘seduction’ is the key word and is what most Parisiennes expect. Even if it is obvious that both of you want to leap into bed – the game still has to be played. Wining and dining, finding out what she likes and providing it, building anticipation…

    That is what Catherine Deneuve was defending – and with a woman like her…If I could only provide her with the best dining experience of her life, I would be a very happy man!

    • What I found strange whilst frequenting Paris as an English lady is the fact
      that French men will silently but clearly flirt with you whilst in the presence
      of their lady who they are walking arm in arm with.

        • I loved this. Its such an “English” comment. I’d tend to agree because I’m British. But isn’t just a trifle arrogant to presume other cultures should play the mating game in precisely the same way? I was interested that in bringing in the newish law against sexual harassment on the streets the Minister responded to criticisms by pointedly saying id was not about the “Anglo Saxon ” approach then being demonstrated by “pestminster”.

          • Other cultures can do what they want, but I’m still allowed my opinion. Maybe I cleave to a notion of ‘correct’ behaviour that isn’t widely shared, but that, to me, isn’t an argument to revisit it. A million flies dine of ordure, but it doesn’t commend the practice.

            As an aside, a friend worked with some French people a while ago and found all the sexual intrigue in the office exasperating. He wanted to work, they seemingly wanted to do something else. They found his desire not to get involved baffling.

          • An unrepentant Puritan, but I have hope for you. Your comment elsewhere about two men in love seemed to hint at a romantic inside.

          • I believe in tired old things like monogamy and fidelity, which aren’t solely the preserve of heterosexuals. EM Forster wrote the novel, Maurice, about a gay couple of longstanding and it’s a rather beautiful story.

          • Well as I’ve said the sort of work I’ve been doing you’ll be unsurprised that I know quite a few same sex couples. The boring bit is that they are as boring or interesting as hetero sexual couples. Not nearly so “uniform” as the media suggests, for instance a variety of views on “marriage”. I too like Maurice but I do find in this Country there is a tendency to focus on Posh people. From my observation of my friends and colleagues their lives are much more prosaic, like mine really.

          • What I like about Maurice is that it crosses boundaries of class an at least tries to impute finer feelings to everyone, never assuming that because you are working class you’re a strapping heterosexual.

          • And of course I can’t resist; that in Maurice the then legality of same sex relationships in France and Italy is mentioned making them safe havens, perhaps the more flexible morality of the latins isn’t “hypocritical” just a bit more humane than Anglo Saxon certitude..

      • The lady is being flirted with by someone else, or very soon will be. She doesn’t mind. The only thing she’d mind is if you, the object of her man’s momentary attention, were not up to her standard.

    • Thanks for your wonderful comment. Your eloquent painting of the art of seduction reminded me of the time I met my fiancee and the excitement we had at the beginning of our relationship (even after 10 years, it’s still exciting). I lament that many people (male and female) will be too nervous, in this environment of sexual harassment/touching, to engage with each other for fear of repercussions.

  7. I couldn’t help noticing the difference between the French actresses shown on BBC News and the feminist commentators brought in to explain the reasoning of the British and American men bashers.
    Deneuve and the other lady were smiling, softly mannered and attractive, even though on the crumbly side. The British spokeswomen were serious, strident and not too well endowed with good looks. It seems odd that they should be complaining so much about unwanted sexual advances when most men would have to be deaf, blind and depressed to even think about it.

  8. There seems to be a confusion between feminist and mysandrist in the Anglo sphere. I am married to a French feminist who is not.

    • Yes, the feminism bit seems to have forgotten the femininity bit! The latter infinitely more powerful and infinitely more subtle.

  9. There are probably just as many women in the UK and America who agree with the French regarding the #MeToo campaign, you just never read about them in MSM. #MeToo is still heavily played out by the BBC but, I noticed, the story of Catherine Deneuve and her fellow free thinking women popped up for a day and disappeared just as quickly. The left love having yet another campaign from which to virtue signal; the idea that other women might not agree with them doesn’t concern them.
    I say well played to Deneuve. In a society clamouring to join the day’s fashionable cause, it’s nice to see women who won’t join the latest fad, rather speak for common sense.

        • She needs to be in the public eye and she can be in the public eye by saying what (some) men want to hear. So that’s what she does.

          • If she has retired, and I imagine she was well able to afford to retire, she does not need to ensure she is in the public eye, unlike the prancing clones at the Oscars. I wonder how many of those parading at the Oscars got their big break only because another actress had told a lecherous producer to get lost?

      • You are entitled to think that. Of course in France she’s a national treasure. There is of course debate in France. However more amusing is the response in the US and here as, clearly stung by the “Puritans” jibe, “serious” papers have rushed to dig out quotes from old books penned by the previous generation’s “sexual liberation” feminists. I’d quite forgotten Kate Millet had recorded her adventures in Goup sex. Very racy.

    • You make a very good point indeed. The 0.001% of women who grab all the attention and control both on screen and behind camera are in no way representative of British or American women as a whole and we should not be lulled into believing otherwise.

  10. I think to call young Bette Davis “plain” is unfair. Her enormous eyes, her intelligence and vivacity made her very unplain indeed.

  11. What is the point of anybody getting any type of qualification and experience when it seems that nowadays all you need to be is part of some minority group.
    Madness….no wonder we have so many useless politicians when none of them have got to the top from merit

  12. Seeing as the French have a possibly well-deserved reputation for sexual infidelity which borders on the hypocritical – I’m not inclined from taking instruction from any politician who falls into bed with the first person they see – what they think about this should, perhaps, best be disregarded.

    • Well its interesting isn’t ? Because of course the British and Americans certainly manage quite a lot of sexual infidelity, but pretend it doesn’t exist ! The French could really be seen as far less hypocritical as they appear far more able to accept that everything isn’t just peachy all the time. It is perhaps just reproducing the high Victorian hypocrisy which so looked down on the French and Italians while managing to have lovers, mistresses, rent boys……… Or perhaps the too direct Dutch and Germans for so long looked at askance with their “open” attitude to sex. No they are no saints . but perhaps they’re just a bit more honest to recognise their human failings.

  13. Camille Paglia has written abut this. She said Hispanic women going to university generally have an understanding of th power of their sexuality where WASP women do not and so get themselves ino difficulty. In most Latin societies the 15 th birthday was important for girls as it meant they could start courting. Even in traditional southern Spain the girls were allowed to flirt with the boys behind the wrought iron balconies. The balcony scene is Romeo and Juliet would be common to many teenagers courting in Italy.

    The gaucheness of some men and women in the USA and Britain is part of the problem which probably a result of the Puitans. If one looks at Medieval Life people were far more honest about fertility, life and death. If a man does not know how to make a compliment and or inviation and and gracefully accept it’s decline and a woman does not know how to decline an invitation gracefully, then courtship becomes difficult.

    • If men didn’t behave with a mixture of boorishness and aggression, women wouldn’t beed to be quite so direct. The problem lies WHOLLY with men.

      • Having worked in Care and Health for decades I have to say my experience is women aren’t nearly so helpless, hopeless or passive as you seem to think.

        • No, you misunderstand. I don’t think they are. But I think men tend to be physically stronger and more threatening.

  14. Perhaps the French women never saw the need for overt feminism, because they understood how to play the game of equality / supremacy better than the men.

    • I think it has more to do with a national culture of not giving a damn. The French have a very healthy attitude toward the officious and superior. A shrug, “Mais qu’est que vous voulais, enfin?” and finally, “Je m’en fous.” It doesn’t sound like much, but such withering lack of interest is absolutely devastating!

      As compared to Britain, where every whinger must be indulged, which simply encourages them. We have a lot to learn!

  15. Women over 21 in France first voted in a national election in 1945, not 1948. The Free French programme for post-war obviously included giving women the vote and General de Gaulle lost no time in introducing it for the elections to the first National Assembly after the Liberation.
    Why French women did not receive the vote after the First World War, when the franchise was extended to them in other democracies, is something of a puzzle. There was no pre-1914 suffragette movement on British lines (though the word sounds French).

    • There was no pre-1914 suffragette movement on British lines

      This is not true, just such a movement existed in the 19th Century. But in the early 20th Century, the French Parliament was openly and overtly in favour of granting women the vote, so they had fewer reasons to protest in the same manner.

      And as for your puzzle, see : https://www.histoire-pour-tous.fr/histoire-de-france/4992-le-droit-de-vote-des-femmes-en-france.html (in French)

      In fact Parliament voted multiple times in favour of the women’s vote between 1919 and 1940, but this was blocked by a Left-dominated anti-Catholic Senate after public statements of support from Pope Benedict XV in 1919 had made it seem to these men that it was a “Catholic” innovation.

      Women had been legally defined as second-class citizens by the French Revolution (and I’d suspect from Masonic influence and ideology), and this appears to have been the main reason why it took so long for them to obtain their voting rights.

      • Many thanks for these explanations of the rights that some French women had before 1789, what happened during the Revolution, the campaigns for the right to vote in the late C19th, and why the vote was not given to women from 1919 onwards. That the anti-clerical side of French politics, represented most in the Senate, between 1919 and 1939 opposed women voting is a most interesting aspect. The Pope’s support for female suffrage from 1919 caused a reaction among anti-clericals – women were seen as likely to vote for candidates with Catholic connections.
        One of the links usefully offered says that Leon Blum appointed women in three junior Ministerial posts (Secretaires d’état) in the Popular Front government in 1937. History does not say whether any one of them ever addressed the Assemblée Nationale in a Ministerial role before 1939.
        The link also says that the first time women voted in France was at municipal elections in April 1945, so actually before VE-Day.

    • Women did have the vote in France until 1789. The Etats-Généraux from 1302 onwards included all female holders of fiefs, who could vote on an equal basis with men.

      There were moves to abolish this right towards the end of the 15th century, but the regent Anne de Beaujeu put a stop to it and women continued to participate in Etats-Généraux until the absolutist Bourbon kings abandoned consultative rule and Etats-Généraux were no longer called.

      When the crisis of 1789 compelled Louis XVI to call the first Etats-Généraux since 1614, women were excluded and forced to delegate their voting rights to a male noble or clergyman. When the Third Estate transformed itself into an Assemblée constituante and sparked the Revolution, women’s voting rights were formally abolished.

      In 1919 the National Assembly passed a bill according the vote to women, but it was voted down by the ultra-conservative Senate. Various other attempts were made during the final years of the Third Republic, but they always fell at the hurdle of the Senate, which in those days could veto National Assembly bills definitively.

      Women were finally given the vote in 1944 by the Consultative Assembly of Algiers, the parliament in exile during the Occupation. This was confirmed in 1946 under the Fourth Republic.

      There was no suffragette movement in France because French women found the antics of the British suffragettes too vulgar for words and didn’t want to be associated with them…

  16. The ladies of the Ancien Regime had considerable influence and none more than the King’s mistress. That was a very much sought after opportunity.
    It probably explains a very great deal.
    French feminism is rather different from the Anglo-Saxon sort as well.

  17. Can’t understand why feminists destroyed the word “actress” and forced instead the male “actor” for men and women. That seems more like complete surrender to patriarchy than using a distinguishing word which ought to instill professional pride. Its demise not so much achieving equality as invisibility.

    The French have always been more grown up about sex than the repressed British who are either puritan, prurient or out of control over it, in some cases all three together.

    • We have our own debates about inclusive language.

      For some years now, the mayor of Paris has been referred to as Madame LA Maire, whereas technically she should be Madame LE Maire, maire being of masculine grammatical gender.

      Conservatives hate this and shriek about how the world’s going to hell in a handbasket because female office holders DARE to alter a word’s gender to reflect their own.

      So while your feminists are busy trying to make men out of everyone, ours are insisting they be recognised as women.

      Personally I prefer our approach. Why shouldn’t a woman prefer to use words that reflect her gender identity? Your approach of trying to masculinise everything is too dull for words. And it isn’t consistent. If an actress is now an actor, why isn’t the queen the king?

      • There were (and IMO are) a number of dual-gender nouns in French, most of them related to professional and/or public functions — the words maire, ministre, député, and so on whilst grammatically masculine, were never semantically so.

        Compare with English — such words as Doctor, Minister, Employee have no meaningfully masculine grammatical gender.

        But here you go.

        In proper French you could say something like : Madame le Juge a rendu sa sentence, et elle a déclaré l’accusé comme coupable.

        What actually happened is that the French Government issued a decree against the opinion of the Académie Française, for rubbish PC reasons and the elegance of the language has suffered as a result.

        My old Grammar Professor absolutely refused to her dying day to be called “madame la professeure” …

        • While there are a few dual gender nouns in French, they generally change their meaning when the article changes. Le livre is a book, whereas la livre is a unit of measurement commonly translated as pound.

          The phenomenon of changing a noun’s gender to reflect the gender of the person to whom it refers is quite new. It first started during the student demonstrations of the late 1960s but has only really gained ground in the past couple of decades as more and more female holders of public office object to being called LE ministre or LE maire.

          Of course the band of ancient reactionaries who form the Académie Française are utterly horrified by this and insist on the traditional forms. Newspapers, websites, television and radio pretty much ignore them though. The language has evolved and left the Académie behind. The conservatives have been defeated once more and although they continue to struggle feebly against the evil forces of modernity, death is picking them off one by one, so soon enough they’ll have gone the way of all dinosaurs and their made-up and contrived word inventions will die with them.

          • While there are a few dual gender nouns in French, they generally change their meaning when the article changes. Le livre is a book, whereas la livre is a unit of measurement commonly translated as pound.

            No, those are cases of homonymy. These are two different words.

            There are some interesting exceptions, such as “amour” which is regularly masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, but even this particular exception has its exceptions (it can remain masculine in some particular cases of count plurals).

            The phenomenon of changing a noun’s gender to reflect the gender of the person to whom it refers is quite new

            Not really, given that it was standard grammar in Latin, and of course it remains so in the use of nominalised adjectives in French.

            Furthermore, there are both semantic gender and grammatical gender, which can be at variance with each other. Such a nominal group as “les êtres humains” is grammatically plural male, but semantically plural & dual gender.

            The language has evolved and left the Académie behind

            Not really, no … the Académie does at least as much descriptive work as prescriptive.

  18. Meanwhile not a word about the actresses who sent revealing pictures to movie directors with the ‘ give me the role and I’m yours message ‘

    • Sir Ian McKellen recalled how in the old days some actresses would put on the bottom of their CVs ‘director’s rights respected’, a euphemism for willingness to take to the casting couch.

  19. Catholic countries have always been more relaxed about sex than their Protestant neighbours. Leporello boasted that Don Giovanni bedded a record 1,003 women in Spain which was the acme of moral rectitude. De Sade’s women were as enthusiastic about sex orgies as the men and more imaginative. He may even have been the source for doing it while swinging from the chandeliers. But the French aren’t randier than anyone else. The difference is religion. Protestants face their maker guiltily unshriven; Catholics wipe the slate clean with confession and waltz off to sin anew. Wooden Catholics – the majority – don’t even have to bother with confession but have the cultural gene. Even in the days when we envied the dreary Protestant Scandinavians their reputation for sexual liberation, it smacked more of calisthenics than eroticism. What we mistook for hedonism was probably an effort to keep warm. Americans are a unique case, cursed by their conflicting demands for total individual freedom and their crippling puritan origins. It’s no accident that no one has ever met a poor American psychiatrist.

    • Catholics wipe the slate clean with confession and waltz off to sin anew

      Such tactics do not produce valid Sacramental Confession.

      No — the actually widespread abuse was that some Libertines remained as Catechumens throughout their lives, and then sought deathbed Baptisms, hence forgiving all of their sins without any need to ever confess any of them.

      I rather doubt that God is fooled by such hypocritical tactics, but clergymen could be …

    • Whatever your opinions of her, what she looks like doesn’t make her right or wrong, and this isn’t the 60s.

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