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Schoolboys invited to put on a skirt

Male pupils at 27 lycées in Nantes invited to wear skirts in classes tomorrow as part of event against sexism

14 May 2014

SCHOOL authorities in western France have found themselves at the centre of a social media storm by inviting boys to wear skirts in class tomorrow.

Boys at 27 lycées in Nantes have been invited to leave their trousers at home for the day and replace them with a skirt as part of the Ce que soulève la jupe anti-sexism campaign.

But the idea, thought up by students at the Academy of Nantes and approved by the rector, has prompted an outcry on social media.

Frigide Barjot, former head of the anti-gay marriage Manif Pour Tous movement, asked education minister Benoit Hamon on Twitter: “And the girls, will they be wearing beards as well?”

Anti-gay marriage activist Tugdual Derville tweeted: “It’s not April Fool’s Day. It’s not a wind up. In our schools, with our expensive taxes: confusion of genders.”

And Béatrice Bourges, leader of anti-gay marriage protest group Printemps Français, described the event on Twitter as an, “absolute scandal. All this will end badly, for sure”.

Some even suggested, inaccurately, that boys had been asked to wear a skirt and red lipstick.

President of Manif Pour Tous, Ludovine de la Rochère, said in a statement: “This is outrageous. That is why Benoît Hamon must intervene immediately to condemn this initiative and cancel it.”

The outcry comes months after controversy over sex education in schools. In January, many parents kept their children away from school over fears of so-called “gender theory” teaching.

Anti-gender theory groups The Nantais Family and Watchmen have called for a peaceful protest on May 16.

A spokesman for the Academy’s rector defended the event. He said: “This is an ‘action against sexism’, which will be primarily a time of exchange on gender discrimination and possible ways to address it in the life of the school.”

The Academy said that boys could attend school in a skirt if they wanted to. Those who did not want to wear a skirt but show their support for the anti-sexism campaign could wear a sticker with the slogan: ““I am fighting against sexism. Are you?”

It insisted it has not asked boys to wear skirts.

Elisabeth Costagliola, head of the Federation of Parents' Education (PEEP) said that there was no negative reaction when school chiefs organised a similar event last year.

In 2012, the Hommes en Jupe group demonstrated in Rennes for the garment to be seen as unisex.

Picture: Académie de Nantes

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