Just because you have beauty doesn’t mean you have brains and no truer words could be spoken of Francoise Gilot who, in all due respect, can be described as nothing but an old fool.
The 93-year-old woman known as the muse and former lover of famed painter Pablo Picasso just co-authored a book covering the “dilemmas, benefits and demands of womanhood” with American writer Lisa Alther titled, About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter, and already heads are shaking at the excerpts. Like this musing on rape and street harassment:
“There are probably fewer rapes in France because people are less repressed,” Gilot writes.
“If a man whistles at you and you smile, that oils the social wheels and eases the tension between the classes and sexes … It’s a kind of give-and-take that acknowledges that the other person exists, so in that sense it’s not treating another person as an object.
‘To take offence all the time makes every relationship disagreeable.
“Each time a man says something to me, if I take it as an insult, then I’ll be insulted several times a day by strangers I’ll never see again… Whereas if I smile vaguely and go my way, it doesn’t cost me very much.”
That’s one (silly) way to look at it.
The social wheels would also be rather eased if men didn’t whistle at women to begin with and assume we have an obligation to stroke their egos every time we step out the door. Based on another of Gilot’s observations, it seems she has a hard time separating casual flirtation from unwanted sexual advances and downright harassment:
“There’s always a subtle ambience of eroticism in the streets, in the air, of Paris. For instance, when you go to the market to select peaches, if you ask the vendor, ‘Are your peaches ripe?’
“He’ll often say yes with a wink because the peach is considered a fruit similar to the female sex. Sometimes having intercourse is referred to as ‘eating a peach.’
“So there will often be a little innuendo that isn’t rude but just reminds you of the eroticism of life.”
Or reminds you HR is just a phone call away. Maybe Gilot needs a bit of a pass considering she grew up in a different time where this type of behavior was shrugged off as innocent banter between the sexes, but it’s a shame to live to be so old and still subscribe to such antiquated and sexist notions.