A popular French novelist and television author received strong criticism for claiming women aged over 50 are “too old” to love.
Yann Moix told the French edition of Marie Claire magazine he was “incapable” of loving a woman over that age. They are “invisible” to him.
Moix is himself 50.
His remarks reinforce suggestions made by some high-profile names in France that the worldwide reckoning unleashed by the #MeToo movement highlighting stories of misogyny, sexual harassment and assault has been embraced less enthusiastically there because of deeply rooted Gallic notions of sex, power and seduction.
“I prefer younger women’s bodies, that’s all. End of. The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all,” Moix said.
He was also criticized for saying he preferred to date women from Asia, especially the Koreas, China and Japan. “It’s perhaps sad and reductive for the women I go out with but the Asian type is sufficiently rich, large and infinite for me not to be ashamed.”
Moix made the comments in an interview promoting his new book, “Breaking Up.” He has won numerous literary awards in France including the prestigious Prix Goncourt.
However, his comments did draw rebuke on social media.
“Voila, the buttocks of a woman aged 52…what an imbecile you are, you don’t know what you’re missing,” wrote Colombe Schneck, a French journalist who posted and later deleted a photograph of her derrière on Instagram.
Marina Fois, a French female comedian who turns 49 in a few weeks, wrote on Twitter: “Only one year and 14 days to sleep with Yann Moix. Inshallah, it will happen.”
Legendary French film stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot set off a firestorm last year when they criticized the #MeToo movement. Bardot called it “hypocritical and ridiculous,” and Deneuve defended men’s right to “hit on women.” Their comments prompted a parody sketch of the two women on Saturday Night Live.
Deneuve and other high-profile French women signed an open letter that was published in the French daily Le Monde, arguing that the Me Too movement — and its French counterpart #BalanceTonPorc or “Out Your Pig” — had turned into a witch hunt threatening sexual and artistic freedom. Deneuve later apologized for the letter.
A year after the #MeToo movement went viral on social media in October 2017, a study published in France found that more than half of French people felt that the movement hadn’t changed anything in the country, although reports of sexual assaults did rise.
On Tuesday, Moix responded to his critics, saying that his personal preferences in women were his own business and that he was only being honest. “I don’t see this as pride, but almost as a curse. It’s not my fault,” he told France’s RTL radio.
“We are not responsible for our tastes, our penchants, our inclinations,” he added. “I’m trying to be honest. Of course I have a problem, I’m an adolescent, I’m a child and I don’t interest women in their 50s either. They’ve got better things to do than to drag a neurotic around who spends his time yelling and reading and likes doing things that only excite children. It’s not easy to be with me.”
Contributing: Elena Berton in Paris
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