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If you have ever wondered why those top models never smile as they put one foot in front of the other, sashaying through a crowd of well-heeled prospective clients in fashion-parades, the answer is their diet (see title above).  One of them, Frenchwoman Victoire Maçon Dauxerre, has just revealed the demands of this scandalous exploitation of super-slim women in her book “Jamais Assez Maigre” (“Never Thin Enough”).  One reviewer calls such top models “living coat-hangers” and describes her book as a “document of chilling violence in the unglamorous corridors of the glamor-machine”.

Gluttony is one of the seven capital sins.  Obesity has become a plague in modern times.  But outrage at the enforced skinniness of female fashion models has led to the proposal of a new French law imposing regular medical examinations to protect them from their minders and from themselves.

Women have been exploited ever since men invented the world’s oldest profession.  Women’s “inferior” status was long taken for granted by Church, State and society as a whole.  Today’s French top models’ great-grandmothers got the right to vote only in 1945 (Saudi Arabia got it just a couple of months ago).  Businesses in their vast majority are still run by men, and women employees even in advanced industrial countries still have to fight for parity in pay and prospects of promotion.  The Catholic Church, of course, is notoriously sexist and dominated by male celibates.  The world has seen women as Heads of State, Anglican and Protestant churches allow women to be ordained, this week France got its first female Rabbi, but no one expects the Catholic Church to have, anytime soon, priests without penises (one must wonder why they would need them …) .  As for a female Pope, dream, little dreamer, dream on.

But the champion of antifeminism has to be Islam.  Legislation, in France at least, has obliged Muslim women (with certain exceptions, as for example University students – but not Professors) to modify and modernize their traditional practices in the clothing they wear in public, but it is unlikely that the world will be in a hurry to follow … suit.  We have to be patient.  But should we be resigned to inertia ?  The French cannot impose their law on other countries, but so long as my adopted country continues to set an example in enforcing respect for its national values of liberty, equality and fraternity and to be in the vanguard of defenders of women’s rights everywhere, there is hope that girls like Victoire will add a little more protein and a few more calories to their diet, and thereby some supplemental  kilos to their emaciated bodies.  I wish I could give them some of mine.