TRANSATLANTIC PARALLEL: Police relations and TV fashion styles.

la Police, et la Télévision.

Today,  Letitia Jett A Femme d'un Certain Age, and I play a weekly game on our blogs. We share our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me, all the while comparing one and the other. We "come up" with 3 topics to "discuss" and we each publish our thoughts on the subjects from our respective sides of the Ocean, never looking "at each other's sheet", so to speak.

There are some things we really love, others we miss. Good or bad, fun or unusual, whatever our point of view, we bring it to you on Mondays. This is what we interested us today...
La police

The US state trooper
I remember the first time I saw a Massachussett State trooper after arriving in the States. I was coming down a 4 lane road and a 6 foot+ trooper in boots, breeches, aviator glasses and a great tan, stopped me so I could go around an obstacle on the road. I thought someone was making a movie! I could not remember ever seeing a French police officer looking any thing like THAT. In spite of his Hollywood good looks, he was ALL business, "ma'am, please go ahead now". Not a smile. Yes, definitely a REAL state trooper; just one from Central Casting, that's all.
Flashback a year or two earlier in France: 
The French gendarmes
I remember my sister, then a doctor in Paris, recounting, quite indignant: she was parking her car and a gendarme came up to her and told her not to park there as she had no right to display her husband's (she was single) Caducee on the windshield of her car since ( being a woman, was the implication) she was obviously not a doctor. OBVIOUSLY. (the Caducee is a card which allows doctors in France to park in illegal spots for a short while so as to allow them to move around more easily. She "corrected" his mistake firmly.
There was also the time a girl friend of ours was stopped on a country road by gendarmes because her licence plate was not straight; when she showed the car registration they asked if it was her husband's car; she said "no, it's mine"; "but it says here it belongs to Doctor so an so"...AND? 
By the way Doctor in French is docteur (masculin word) and it goes for men and women doctors. No comment.
The officers I have dealt with have generally been well-behaved. And to be perfectly fair, some French gendarmes have helped me once or twice change a flat tire. This in spite of my dismissed assurance that I knew how to... all right, I am happy to  generously credit their gesture to pure galanterie nothing else...
There are now quite a few female gendarmes in France and the ones in our small village in the Ardeche are amenable, cheerful, efficient and absolutely hold their own in the male dominated world of La Gendarmerie National Française. 
I must specify that the word gendarme comes from "gens d'armes" -persons with arms- which is an astonishingly gender-neutral term for France, especially when you think it dates back to at least what, the Middle Ages? the FRENCH Middle Ages; and there were SURELY NO women on the force then. I hope all the current gendarmes are cooperating and keeping the gender-neutrality inside and outside of the gendarmerie. Merci messieurs.
La television
The difference in style between French and American television journalists is, at the very least, striking. I have illustrated extreme cases here of course, but the point is that they do exist. No little fleures bleues-  demure blue noses- on French TV. Women wear literally what they would wear anywhere, no matter that they are being viewed by all of France, most of Europe and the entire news-hungry population francophone of the world.
The ladies first
Cleavage. No self-consciousness there.

A casual sweater for prime time TV; why not?

Underwear as newscast-wear for Claire Chazal; French insouciance...
Though SOMEONE in France noticed, circled and commented, as you can see.

Journalists on the other side of the Ocean are always impeccable and proper, with not a hair out of place. Irreproachable American professionalism, unshaken credibility and polite self-discipline.  

As for the men
In France they are mostly conservative,

though ties do not always make to the news desk

same thing with some jackets,

but it can also happen in New York, even the greatly missed star anchor Peter Jennings did it occasionally.
If you wish to add your voice to this topic, please leave your reactions and comments 

at petits commentaires below or vite, go see a Femme d'un Certain Age 's take all of this and let us know. 

merci Letitia
au revoir.


  1. I really enjoy your lundi visits with Tish. You're right about the cleavage in America compared to France. In the states they put that little "cover-up" on the ladies - so tacky.

    My heart stopped when I saw Peter Jennings. We miss him so much. No one can ever take his place as far as we're concerned.

    I guess I'm not surprised about the policeman's reaction to women doctors, but what a shame. They sound like they are still in the dark ages.

  2. I think the female anchors in France just dress the way they dress to go anywhere. French women of any age love to show/flaunt what they have i.e cleavage, legs.
    As for the police, the incident you mention happened decades ago when policemen were truly still in the dark ages and there were not as many female doctors as now. I think now they would probably say the same thing but who knows.

    The last time I was in Paris , I was stopped (part of random checks for proper papers)and I showed them my canadian driver's permit. They questioned me and commented for "hours" about Canada and then let me go, even stopping all traffic so I could get back on the road. By then, I am sure they had forgotten what they stopped me for.

  3. This is wonderful, my chere partner. Your stories with Joelle are -- here I go, shocking (!) I think with an accent and an air of dismay I play right into their chauvinistic view of women. At least it's probably saved me lots of money. My, my a woman doctor, who has ever heard of such a thing?

    Yes I saw that picture of Claire Chazal, she is something that woman. The one on the top, whom I've seen on TV, but don't know her name has amazing eyes, but definitely needs a support bra and really that dip is a little too much for the 8pm news. Nice makeup all around though. . .

    Merci encore pour tout.

    Letitia xo