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France

Ridicule for French writer Yann Moix, 50, who claims women aged 50 are ‘too old’ to love, and that he prefers them young and Asian

  • Yann Moix said women over 50 were ‘invisible’ to him, and their bodies were ‘not extraordinary at all’
  • His comments triggered a backlash, but Moix said he shouldn’t be blamed for his preferences, which he called a ‘curse’
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 6:51am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 6:51am

A highbrow French novelist and television writer received ridicule and strong criticism for claiming women over 50 are “too old” to love.

Yann Moix told the French edition of Marie Claire magazine he was “incapable” of loving a woman over that age. They are “invisible” to him.

Moix is himself 50.

His remarks reinforce suggestions made by some high-profile names in France that the worldwide reckoning unleashed by the #MeToo movement highlighting stories of misogyny, sexual harassment and assault has been embraced less enthusiastically there because of deeply rooted Gallic notions of sex, power and seduction.

Catherine Deneuve and others defend men’s ‘right’ to seduce women, in attack on #MeToo ‘witch hunt’

“I prefer younger women’s bodies, that’s all. End of. The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all,” Moix said.

He was also criticised for saying he preferred to date women from Asia, especially the Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. “It’s perhaps sad and reductive for the women I go out with but the Asian type is sufficiently rich, large and infinite for me not to be ashamed.”

Moix made the comments in an interview promoting his new book, Breaking Up. He has won numerous literary awards in France including the prestigious Prix Goncourt.

However, his comments drew rebuke on social media.

“Voila, the buttocks of a woman aged 52 … what an imbecile you are, you don’t know what you’re missing,” wrote Colombe Schneck, a French journalist who posted and later deleted a photograph of her derrière on Instagram.

Backlash in Hong Kong against the ‘Me Too’ campaign

Marina Fois, a French female comedian who turns 49 in a few weeks, wrote on Twitter: “Only one year and 14 days to sleep with Yann Moix. Inshallah, it will happen.”

Legendary French film stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot set off a firestorm last year when they criticised the #MeToo movement. Bardot called it “hypocritical and ridiculous,” and Deneuve defended men’s right to “hit on women.”

Deneuve and other high-profile French women signed an open letter that was published in the French daily Le Monde, arguing that the #MeToo movement – and its French counterpart #BalanceTonPorc or “Out Your Pig” – had turned into a witch hunt threatening sexual and artistic freedom. Deneuve later apologised for the letter.

A year after the #MeToo movement went viral on social media in October 2017, a study published in France found that more than half of French people felt that the movement hadn’t changed anything in the country, although reports of sexual assaults did rise.

On Tuesday, Moix responded to his critics, saying that his personal preferences in women were his own business and that he was only being honest. “I don’t see this as pride, but almost as a curse. It’s not my fault,” he told France’s RTL radio.

“We are not responsible for our tastes, our penchants, our inclinations,” he added. “I’m trying to be honest. Of course I have a problem, I’m an adolescent, I’m a child and I don’t interest women in their 50s either. They’ve got better things to do than to drag a neurotic around who spends his time yelling and reading and likes doing things that only excite children. It’s not easy to be with me.”