Sexuality: 50 years ago, in France, the unimaginable was still the norm

1972. Exactly 50 years ago, the law contained the principle of “equal work, equal pay” (which has not yet been implemented in practice with a difference of 9%). At the time, the women’s cause was progress: it’s only been seven years since a woman opened a bank account on her own. Seven years is that he has a complete legal personality, and so in the eyes of the law he is no longer considered a child. In 1972, at last, it was only two years since men no longer had the title “head of the family”, and the marital and paternal omnipotence that went with it. But there is still much to do …

50 years ago a husband could open his wife’s mail

Everything that is not forbidden is actually allowed. Thus, going beyond the absence of an official text to allow the husband to open his wife’s mail, “it was a very common practice,” reports Luiset Parrist, 29, who was married at the time and 19 years old. My husband would not open me because he did not feel the need, but many of my friends’ e-mails were snatched. “It was only in 1994 that a 226-15 paragraph of the Criminal Code was published. He was sentenced to one year in prison and fined 300,000 francs for opening up. Regarding your emails, the small subtlety of today’s penal code is that no search can be done without a password. Doesn’t stop, but the big difference is that it works both ways …

3 The woman was not officially allowed to wear pants

“In 1970, I only wore trousers in my personal life and because my husband agreed. I never used it, it was banned from public service, “Luset explained. Even if many of them pass it, women only had the right to wear pants officially … since 2013. The law prohibiting “women’s cross-dressing” from November 17, 1800, states that “any woman wishing to dress as a man must go to the prefecture of the police for permission”. Permission to wear trousers was softened by “if a woman has a bicycle handlebars or a horse’s bridle in her hand”. Clearly incompatible with our modern society, it was finally revoked on January 31, 2013.

3 Women can divorce only in case of guilt

Since 1975, the law has allowed husband and wife to divorce by mutual consent, but before that, divorce was regulated by a law of 1884, only allowing for guilt reported by evidence. The guilt was then fully calculated: adultery, condemnation of the tragic and infamous punishment, excess, abuse and severe humiliation. In the case of marital discord, the couple doubles their innovation by writing numerous insulting letters to each other (often at the behest of their lawyers) to convince the court … For Lucett, divorced in 1979, even with a legal reason, women rarely divorced: “Women have learned to adapt and endure since childhood. They close their eyes to it and many other things.

3 The wife’s adultery was worse than the husband’s

Prior to the 1975 law, a woman convicted of the “crime” of adultery was sentenced to 3 months to 2 years in prison, while her husband could be fined 360 to 7,200 francs for the offense alone. Beware, only if her adultery takes place in the marital home. The punishment was even harsher because the courts at the time were leaning towards a very broad case law: “Keeping two animals, of the opposite sex, in a room with a single bed was enough to constitute an offense of adultery”, recalls. Log Court Gazette, September 3, 1890. There was another sentence, the unofficial one, Lucette whispered: The famous “What shall we say about it”. If fickle men are called ‘interested’, women are called ‘slots’. “When the superintendent was informed of the adultery by the husband, he went to look for the woman who had just got dressed in her boyfriend’s bed and took him to the police station.” It was not until 1975 that adultery was criminalized and dropped in the Civil Code, thus preventing women from being imprisoned for misdemeanors.

3 The husband can veto the care of his wife

The subject is broached when Lucette smiles yellow. After the tumor, she had to have a hysterectomy, removal of the ovaries and uterus. Before the operation, the surgeon, at that time, asked her to give her marital approval by proving her husband’s consent. “You go there, I removed the nursery but I left the playroom! The doctor screamed at her husband after the operation. “It was a joke by the surgeons,” Luset said.

If the latter is “lucky” to have her husband’s approval, she knows many women who did not have it. For these unfortunates, only one solution was possible: secret surgery. “I know a woman who waited for her husband to go on a trip so that her tubes would be tied up for fear of getting pregnant again,” she says. There was really only one situation where the surgeon could operate without the husband’s approval: if another pregnancy could endanger the woman’s life.

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