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French Minister Marlene Schiappa Criticized for Appearing on Playboy Cover

On April 3, 2023, Marlene Schiappa, a French government minister, faced criticism from members of her own party after appearing on the cover of Playboy magazine. Schiappa, who has served as a government minister since 2017, posed for the magazine to accompany a 12-page interview she gave on women’s and LGBT rights. She wore a white dress for the cover, which is known for featuring nude models.

Schiappa, who is the current Minister for the Social Economy and French Associations, has long been an advocate for women’s rights and was appointed as the country’s first Gender Equality Minister in 2017. However, her appearance on the cover of Playboy drew criticism from her political colleagues, including French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

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Borne stated that Schiappa’s appearance on the cover “wasn’t appropriate, especially during this period,” according to CNN affiliate BFMTV. France is currently facing a political and social crisis triggered by French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reforms, which have faced widespread public opposition.

Fellow women’s rights activist and Green Party politician, Sandrine Rousseau, also criticized Schiappa’s decision to pose for Playboy, stating that “we are in the middle of a social crisis, there is the issue of policing, there are people between life and death, and I have the impression of being behind a smoke screen.”

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Jean Luc Mélenchon, a French politician who came third in the 2022 presidential elections, criticized both Schiappa’s appearance on Playboy and President Macron’s decision to give an interview to children’s magazine Pif Gadget this week. Mélenchon tweeted that “In a country where the President expresses himself in Pif and his minister in Playboy, the problem would be the opposition. France is going off the rails.”

Schiappa responded to her critics in a tweet on Sunday, stating that “defending the right of women to have control of their bodies, that’s everywhere and all the time. In France, women are free. With all due respect to the detractors and hypocrites.” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin also came to Schiappa’s defense during an interview with French news channel CNews, remarking that “Marlene Schiappa is a courageous female politician who has her character and who has her style which is not mine, but I respect.”

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