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Elle makes Taubira woman of the year

Magazine puts models aside and picks minister ‘whose journey is that of a woman who never posed as a victim’

ELLE magazine has picked the justice minister Christiane Taubira as its Woman of the Year.

Editor Valérie Toranian said they had chosen the minister because she had defended the gay marriage bill “with courage and eloquence” and “never put down her arms to pose as a victim”.

In an interview in the magazine, which hits stands today, Taubira talks about recent racist attacks against her.

“I stick up for what I believe, the morals that inspire my commitments divide and create disagreements,” she said.

Taubira is only the third female politician to be chosen as woman of the year, after France’s first female prime minister Edith Cresson and presidential candidate Ségolène Royal.

Her appearance on the front page comes less than a fortnight after a right-wing magazine put her on the cover alongside the slogan ‘clever as a monkey’ and ‘Taubira retrouve la banane’ (banana also meaning smile).

The magazine is being investigated for race-related crimes.

A group of celebrities headed by Jane Birkin and Josiane Balasko, yesterday handed a petition of support in the wake of the racist attacks, bearing 100,000 names.

“The irony has already struck me that I bring out strong emotions, but I admit I didn’t think they were this strong,” said Taubira.

“This is someone who was attacked without being able to defend herself. So, it’s normal that we are here,” said the actress Josiane Balasko, when handing over the petition.

“I don’t think that France is racist. I think it just needs a few bad apples to spoil the bunch,” she added.

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