Marlene Schiappa, the French Secretary of State in charge of the Social and Solidarity Economy, faces backlash after posing for Playboy, despite her history of fighting against street harassment of women.
Schiappa, 40, who gained prominence for her legislation to outlaw catcalling and street harassment, will appear in Playboy's April 8 edition, with four photos and a 12-page text discussing women's rights and feminism, BBC reported.
One released photo shows Schiappa in a revealing white bodysuit, showcasing her cleavage and legs. The mother of two defended her decision on Twitter, stating she supports women's right to control their bodies and stressing that women in France are free.
However, Schiappa's decision to pose for the magazine has been met with criticism from other French leaders. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne expressed disapproval, saying the move was "not at all appropriate, especially in the current period."
France is currently experiencing widespread unrest due to President Emmanuel Macron's decision to raise the retirement age by two years, leading to protests and strikes.
Interestingly, in one of Schiappa's Playboy photos, the number "49.3" is featured on her cleavage. This number represents the article in the French constitution that allows the executive branch to pass a bill without a parliamentary vote, which Macron used to push through the retirement age increase.
Critics argue that Schiappa's actions are tone-deaf and disrespectful to the French people facing the consequences of the age hike.
National Assembly Deputy Sandrine Rousseau said that while she believes women's bodies should be exposed anywhere, the current social context makes Schiappa's decision seem like a "smokescreen."