Michèle Alliot-Marie, the conservative defence minister known for her taste in trouser suits, said recently: “We do not want a president who changes her ideas as often as she changes her skirts.” She later summed up Royal’s performance in the televised duel with Sarkozy on Wednesday by saying: “Being vague is fine for fashion, not for politics.”
“This country doesn’t need a mummy to give it moral lectures,” said Catherine Millet, controversial author of The Sexual Life of Catherine M.
Clémentine Autain, communist founder of the Mix-Cité feminist group, sounded more afraid of the “puritan” Socialist candidate than she did of the “macho man Sarko”. “Her praise of motherhood, her old-fashioned speeches about the family, her way of saying she does politics differently because she is a woman, her fight against pornography – these are not at all my cup of tea,” said Autain.
“Her ‘I’m beautiful, look at me, I’ve got four children’ might impress a supermarket check-out girl but we don’t use that card,” said Nadine Morano, an MP from Sarkozy’s UMP conservative party.
“Attacks on women are always about their person, never about their policies or their actions,” said Edith Cresson, the country’s first woman prime minister. “It was true in the Eighties and it’s still true today.”