French Feminist Collective Bearded Stand-ins Favorite 



Apr 16 2013



Founded in 2008, the French Feminist Collective, La Barbe, targets inequities of female representation in media and cultural/governmental institutions. La Barbe, meaning "beard" in French, is also an old colloquial expression for "enough is enough!". Known as barbues, the female members are all ages. Any woman is welcome to join.

"In order to underscore the pervasive over-representation of men in places where important decisions are made: they put on fake beards and interrupt proceedings in the halls of French power, from the National Assembly (only 27% women) to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, where none of the nominated movies last year were directed by women." The beards are meant to represent the antiquated males attitudes that dominate.

They also hand out humorous flyers to the public, congratulating men on successfully keeping "silly" women out of their ranks and maintaining all power. Other examples of infiltrations include the Paris Opera, different scholarly panels, and French television networks.

In their manifesto, les Barbues state that the ultimate goal of La Barbe is not so much to install women within these male halls of power, even if inclusion of women within these spaces is legitimate and necessary. La barbe instead intends to denounce the hegemony and the monopoly of power and prestige of the thousands of privileged white men.

Their most widely publicized intervention was their infiltration of the French National Assembly in 2012.

"Here these women took the podium at the centre of the senate's chamber, surrounded by busts of the great men of French history. Beneath the gold-leafed dome, one of them read aloud from a text eulogising France's founding fathers, ending with a rousing, "Long live the France of our fathers, long live La Barbe!" before they were dragged away by senate police. Confused by the activists' gender, the policemen then stumbled over both male and female pronouns."

On Bastille Day 2012,the bearded women climbed large statues of French Liberty covering them with large beards in red, white and blue. See the following link for images.

Posted by mew430 on