In France, young men are more sexist than older ones

Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities in France to protest against gender-based violence, such as here in Lille on November 19, 2022. AP - Michel Spingler

Text by: Pierre Olivier Follow

3 mins

Sexism is not declining in France, particularly among young people, notes the High Council for Equality (HCE) in its report published Monday, January 23, 2023.


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The report of the High Council for Equality makes it possible to become aware of “ordinary sexism” within French society and its lack of condemnation, particularly among men.

Everyday sexism that can also take more virulent forms.

Thus, in very concrete terms, more than one in three women questioned claim to have already had sexual intercourse under duress, at the insistence of a partner who did not want to wear a condom or under the influence of alcohol or dope.

As a direct consequence of this sexism, in France, 9 out of 10 women claim to give up certain activities on their own and to dress as they wish.

✍️[STATUS OF #SEXISM] The HCE publishes its 5th annual report on the state of #sexism in France ➡️

⬇️The main lessons and key figures⬇️ KrkLwYVgVv

— High Council for Equality (@HCEfh) January 23, 2023

The woman in the kitchen, it's normal

While French public opinion deplores the existence of sexism, it does not always condemn it.

Including, but to a lesser extent, among women.

Thus, only 49% of French women believe that it is problematic that it is the woman who cooks every day for the whole family.

According to the report of the High Council for Equality, a third of the population declares that it is normal for women to stop working to take care of their children.

A figure up 6 points compared to last year.

In general, sexism is much less of a concern to the public than situations of discrimination, rape and harassment.

The report notes, however, that ordinary sexism makes the bed, in society, of more violent acts.

“Hegemonic masculinity” for young people

One of the main surprises of this study is that sexism seems to be more entrenched in young people than in older men.

It is among the 25-34 year olds that we see the most assertion of a “

hegemonic masculinity


In other words, young men would claim more practices aimed at ensuring the perpetuation of the domination of men over women and of patriarchy.

In fact, 20% of young people believe that to be respected in society, you have to brag about your sexual exploits to your friends.

This is twice as much as the French average.

Another revealing figure is that nearly half of young men aged 15-34 consider the image of women conveyed by pornography to be problematic, while 80% consider it problematic among those aged 65 and over. 

► To read also: 

France: thousands of people in the street to protest against gender-based violence

“Masculinist raids” online

The report of the High Council for Equality puts forward a phenomenon to explain sexism within French society: the backlash or " 


 " in English.

Five years after the #Metoo wave, some men feel weakened, in danger and therefore react aggressively.

This can go so far as to take openly virile positions or even to vote for a very masculine political movement, like Reconquest, underlines the study.

Actions that also often take place on social networks, with online masculinist raids: insults, death threats or indecent proposals made to a female target.

More generally: a third of French people believe that men are losing their power.

This is three points more than last year.

This fear of being downgraded would lead to its share of sometimes virulent epidermal reactions.

End of “gendered” ads

In an attempt to curb this ordinary sexism, the HCE lists ten recommendations that will be sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday January 25 on the occasion of the Day Against Sexism.

Among the avenues mentioned by the study, we find the increase in the means of justice, in particular for the courts responsible for dealing with domestic violence.

Better regulate digital content that conveys a degrading image of women or ban advertising for gendered toys (pink dolls for girls, blue trucks for boys) as has been done in Spain.


Read the HCE report 


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