Podcast: French union paradox, Tintin today, first Miss France

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Why French unions are so prominent despite record low membership. How Tintin defied critiques of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism to remain one of France's favourite comic strip characters. And the 1920 beauty pageant that evolved into Miss France, watched by millions each year. 

France's leading trade unions have seen a recent increase in membership after organising weeks of strikes and protests against the government's unpopular pension reform. But union membership in France – at around 8 percent – is among the lowest in western Europe. Researcher Marie Menard talks about the raison d'etre of French unions and how they still manage to punch above their weight. (Listen @2'10'')

Forty years after the death of his creator, and nearly a century after he first appeared in a comic strip, Tintin remains one of France's most beloved characters. The 24 albums featuring the young Belgian reporter's adventures with his dog Snowy sell half a million copies a year in France. Comic book sellers talk about how they're mainly bought by adults nowadays. And Renaud Nattiez, author of Faut-il bruler Tintin? (Should we burn Tintin?) reflects on why, despite critiques of Tintin, author Hergé is still so popular. (Listen @18'10'')

Miss France was born on 10 May 1920 as 'La plus belle femme de France' (France’s most beautiful woman) – a competition judged by cinema goers. It has evolved over the years, and while it has been criticised by feminist groups, the beauty pageant continues to pull in both contestants and television viewers. (Listen @11'30'')

Episode mixed by Cecile Pompeani.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, iTunes (link here), Spotify (link here), Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app (pod.link/1573769878).
4 May 2023 English France News

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