“At 9 years old, she drew me a man’s sex to explain to me”

Juliette Binoche grew up with a progressive mother: “At 9, she drew me a male sex to explain myself”. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

If Juliette Binoche has become the committed woman she is today, it is undeniably thanks to the feminist education she was able to receive from her mother. This woman of character, from “Celle que vous crois” this Monday, November 21, 2022 on TF1, had a rather special childhood.

“You also have to know how to say no to things so as not to be in a kind of system where we see you like that.” In September 2022, on the occasion of the San Sebastian film festival in Spain, Juliette Binoche called on women actresses to refuse the roles of “women objects”, so as to change the codes of cinema and television. The world of show business remains deeply sexist, even today, but for the actress, who discovered feminism from an early age, it is high time to shake things up.

“I accompanied my mother in feminist demonstrations”

On the occasion of the release of the film “The Good Wife”, Juliette Binoche had made some secrets about her grandmother, who had herself been sent to a school to become the perfect little housewife. She had explained it in the columns of Marie Claire: “My Polish maternal grandmother, from a modest background, had married a young French industrialist. As a young wife, she had been sent to a Swiss institution in order to adapt to a more sophisticated education. But all that remains a surprise to me: I had no idea that in the 1950s and 1960s there were more than a thousand institutions in France to educate young girls to become model wives and mothers in a spirit of total submission to the husband.”

Video. Juliette Binoche talks about her difficult beginnings

It must be said that his own mother, a woman of the 60s, managed to free herself from this shackles to give the best possible example to her children: “My mother was just an awakened woman who knew how to extract herself from the 60s and the reductive state of mind of the time. She also observed the trauma of her mother, at the end of the war, abandoned by her husband. My grandmother had to educate her two children alone, becoming a seamstress then a cook. My mother understood that a woman must be financially independent to survive, which is why she resumed her studies at the age of 30 at the Sorbonne. Moreover, the latter did not hesitate to give voice for her values: “My mother, she was an activist in feminist groups in the 70s, I accompanied her in these demonstrations. She was not at all MLF hard and tough, but she was fighting for her independence.”

Childhood memories that are a little… special

Result of the races, Juliette Binoche had a childhood not quite like the others. Because even if she believes she had a “normal education”, she remembers two events that marked her youth. “For my sex education, I must have been 9 years old, my mother had drawn me on my blackboard a profile of a man’s sex, she had explained to me that he grew up with desire and love and entered the sex of the woman, that was how children were made.” No modesty at the Binoche!

No taboo either, since the mother of the actress very quickly decided to desacralize the rules so as not to make them a secret, as is still the case today in so many other homes: “I remember having received a gift from my mother on the day of my first period, a double-decker wicker box. My mother had wanted to change the traumatic idea that we had of it. In general, there is shame around periods , you have to hide, and my mother on the contrary had made this event a party. A good idea that allowed Juliette Binoche to experience this hormonal upheaval in a “positive” way.

Juliette Binoche, committed feminist

Seeing the hardships her mother and grandmother went through forged Juliette Binoche’s feminist mentality. In an interview with the Journal des Femmes, she explained that the latter had taught her her definition of feminism. “Feminism has been a lifeline for a right to a clean life. Feminism is the solution to survival,” she asserts, before denouncing the lack of support from men in the world of show business. : “I find that there is a lack of courage among the artists, the actors, who must speak. The actresses welcomed Adèle Haenel’s approach of freeing up speech. Among men, there is had only one: Gilles Lellouche. I have the impression that they make films with each other, as if they were sticking together to keep a certain place. I feel that and I hope I’m wrong .”

She denounces an interpersonality of cinema, and in particular of French cinema, which has unfortunately often been singled out, and continues to be so today.

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