France, you did it.
The French people elected a president who isn’t supported by the alt-right! But we know that a presidential election doesn’t make far-right sympathizers vanish. (Hello, America!)
So, let’s take France’s political and social temperature by examining its recent election, and other notable French news.
France’s new president
Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, is France’s new president. The election frayed a lot of nerves around the world. Many onlookers worried that Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate who is similar to Trump, would win the election in a “surprise” upset.
Politicians, voters, and reporters are overwhelmingly viewing Macron’s win as a positive sign. The victory has caused some people to cheer on the “beginning of the end” of France’s far-right, populist leanings. And although Macron’s win is a relief, we know that France’s racist problems will persist.
For example, some people, including Carole Lieberman M.D., psychiatrist, are already warning that Macron’s election could allow France to become terrorist-central.
“Macron won, but when more terrorists attack France, many French may regret not having voted for Marine Le Pen,” Lieberman says.
And let’s not forget when Obama won the American presidential election in 2008 and 2012. Plenty of Americans thought that maybe—just maybe—racism was “over” in America.
Well, it’s now 2017, Trump, Mr. “build a wall” is president, and police are still killing innocent black men in more unjustified ways than ever.
It’s safe to say that a single election can’t change a country’s racist roots. However, education can.
France recently made it law that French models must have a medical certificate that confirms “their general physical well-being” and that they are not severely underweight. All models who are older than 16 must have this certificate. The certificate, once issued, is valid for two years.
In addition to this new health decree, France also passed a law requiring any “commercial” image of a model that’s been digitally altered be labeled with the declaimer “retouched photograph.”
These laws are a great start to helping curb the rampant unhealthy eating habits that plague the modeling industry. But as we all know — people can find ways around laws.
After all, if countries truly want to curb developing eating disorders, other laws that center on a model’s mental health should become reality, as well.
No to “neutral sex”
France’s top court made a ruling that’s not surprising, but is still a disappointment.
Plaintiff Gaëtan Schmitt wanted to be legally recognized as having a “neutral” sex. Schmitt “was registered at birth as a man but has argued he perceives his sexual identity as being neither female nor male,” The New York Times reports.
The reasoning for the court’s decision seems… weak. The French court said that the new gender designation could have “‘deep repercussions’ on French law and would entail ‘numerous legislative changes.’”
Well, yeah. Change takes time. But when that change is valid, all that work is well worth it.
Over the past few years, more people have come out as intersex. The designation is somewhat shrouded in mystery, which leads to incorrect negative connotations about this all-too-common medical occurrence.
The Times reports that 1 in 4,000 babies are born every year in France with a medical condition of sex development disorder. And in the United States, almost 1 in 1,500/1 in 2,000 births are to children who have “atypical genitalia,” the Intersex Society of North America reports.
Luckily, though, there are a few countries that legally recognize a third sex: Australia, Nepal, India, and New Zealand are leading the way. But it’ll be a matter of time before a third sex definition becomes a worldwide norm. Just like eradicating racism and terrorism. All we can hope for is that time and persistence rewrites our future.