France Is Considering Fines for Catcalling

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Women across France shared their stories of sexual harassment and abuse over the weekend as a social media hashtag —#BalanceTonPorc or “Expose Your Pig”—spread throughout Twitter. According to the New York Times, various proposals are on the table to institute fines for “aggressive catcalling or lecherous behavior” from men towards women in public.

#BalanceTonPorc was started by journalist Sandra Muller, who quoted what a powerful French executive said to her: “You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.” Serving as a sort of companion to #MeToo, a hashtag started by Tarana Burke that has been cresting in waves on Twitter and Facebook, #BalanceTonPorc is a response to the ongoing sexual assault and harassment scandal that has surrounded Harvey Weinstein in the United States. Unlike the United States, however, France may take a step towards nipping this kind of reprehensible behavior in the bud by making it against the law.

Proposals are under discussion to fine men for aggressive catcalling or lecherous behavior toward women in public, to extend the statute of limitations in cases of sexual assault involving minors, and to create a new age ceiling under which minors cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship.


Speaking out on social media is one thing, but having that groundswell actually exact change is quite another. According to France’s junior minister for gender equality, Marlène Schiappa, the government is still figuring out how precisely to define street harassment and figuring out how much the fine should be. After they’ve defined that, they’ll consult legal professionals and hold workshops with citizens across the country before bringing the proposal to Parliament for consideration.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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I lived in the South of France for two years, working at a university, and it was hell. The highlight of my day was getting off the tram for work, and little boys running up to whisper “whore” into my ear. In my desperation, I joined an anti-street harassment group, which was a) taken over by a man who made constant jabs at the female members b) harassed WHILE doing anti-street harassment demonstrations. It was like looking into the abyss.