French president Macron to criminalize gender 'insults'

France, a country that once prided itself on freedom of speech, has decided to criminalize insults against women and other "genders."  President Emmanuel Macron announced that he will introduce legislation that would make "gender-based insults" punishable by a fine.

The Hill:

Macron said during a speech marking the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women that he will make the "verbal attacks" on women punishable by a fine, The New York Times reported.

"The streets should not become hell for the women of France," he said, calling "to seal a pact of equality between men and women."

Macron said that France's Ministry of the Interior is holding meetings that will lead to new rules "in a few weeks' time."

France is also considering a series of rules that would make it easier for victims to report instances of sexual assault to police. Those measures include extending the statute of limitation for the rape of a minor to 30 years from the current 20.

Victims could also file initial rape complaints online, and public transit may start offering an "on demand" service, which would let women get off at any point on their bus routes instead of just at designated stops.

The new rules come as sexual harassment allegations have rocked the political and entertainment worlds.

Just what will constitute an "insult" against women is unknown, but the definition will almost certainly be dangerously broad and all-encompassing.  Would a wolf whistle be considered a "verbal insult"?  How about a compliment on a woman's looks or even the clothing she is wearing?  Some women are offended by that.  And obviously, joking about a woman will be out. 

No doubt the Interior Ministry will be twisting itself into knots trying to think of every sort of remark made by a man toward a woman that would fall under the definition of "insult."  In the end, it will pretty much be whatever an individual woman is offended by.  Even a "hello" using a seductive tone of voice could theoretically land the offending male in court.

Is this the future of male-female relations?  Are men to be forced to walk around in restraints with gags over their mouths so they don't touch women "inappropriately" or "insult" them?

Female activists pushing for this law will angrily deny they have any such intentions – until they do.  That's the problem with slippery slopes.  Once you begin the descent, it's impossible to see where you will end up.

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