Environmentalist Mélanie Vogel was elected senator for the French living outside France on Sunday. But in a letter sent to the newly elected, the word senator is not feminized.
This is a new example that will revive the debate on the feminization of the names of political functions. In a letter received this Tuesday, September 27 by the Senate, Mélanie Vogel is called as follows: “Madam the Senator”, then, “In your capacity as Senator”. What surprise the new elected ecologist of the French living outside France. “I am not a senator. I am a senator” retorts Mélanie Vogel, questioned by France Inter. “I will answer them” Thank you, I believe there is an error in your mail. Please correct “.”
Mélanie Vogel is already anticipating certain reactions: “All the arguments which consist in saying that in everyday language, one can say senator, but that in the end, in the legal texts, it is written senator. And so it is to be in the respect of the right to say senator. No, in fact, it is backwards. It is not inclusive. “
When we say senator, we mentally think of a man and not of a woman. We must say senator as we must say a deputy, a mayor or a minister. Language builds our imagination.
In the European Parliament, Mélanie Vogel has already had to deal with this debate: “I was in particular in charge of questions of internal rules. We have already fought to put in our rules that we use a neutral language in the official texts of the Parliament.”
“It’s no small fight,” she continues. “When you are used to using inclusive language, sexist language is extremely violent. I am not a senator. That’s it!” In 2014, UMP deputy Julien Aubert received a financial sanction from the National Assembly of a quarter of his parliamentary allowance, or 1378 euros. He had twice called the session chairperson Sandrine Mazetier “Madam President” then Ségolène Royal “Madam Minister”. The same year, in the Senate this time, the Secretary of State in charge of Relations with Parliament, Jean-Marie Le Guen, began to speak to the ecologist Leila Aïchi by saying “Madam Senator”.
Mélanie Vogel is also one of the few lesbian women to enter the hemicycle. The first openly lesbian senator was Corinne Bouchoux, elected between 2011 and 2017. “It seems to me that I am the only one now” testifies Mélanie Vogel. “I was not prepared that we write ‘Madame le Sénateur’, but I expect a whole lot of difficulties. It happened to the ecologist Corinne Bouchoux, where on papers to be completed, l ‘space to fill in “senator’s spouse” did not exist. “
Mélanie Vogel wants to bring the voice of LGBT people to the Senate, this is one of her goals, “it was part of the project that was around my candidacy” she explains. “It’s important to embody it, to show that you can be elected to the Senate without necessarily being an old, white, straight man. That’s fine, but they don’t have to be 70% . ” Mélanie Vogel’s term officially begins on Friday, but she will take her first steps in the Senate with the environmental group on Wednesday.