France’s Pantie Protest

You may be surprised to learn that the French prime minister is receiving ladies’ underwear in the post. This might be all in a day’s work for rock musicians and movie stars, but why is France’s prime minister also getting them?


French prime minister Jean Castex is getting an unusual postbag. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

But it’s not just the charms of 55 year old PM Jean Castex that have prompted the daily deliveries of lingerie – this is a particular form of protest, wholly French.

Lingerie shops in France are currently classed as non-essential hence are closed during the country’s partial lockdown – even though hairdressers, book stores and music shops have all been classed as essential so can stay open.

A group of lingerie shop owners (approx. 80) have hit on this particular form of protest, and are sending a steady stream of culottes (panties) to Castex, in the hope of catching his attention.

The protest, named Action Culottée, began with a video posted on TikTok where a shop owner called for others to join her, saying:

No, putting on underwear every morning is not something to be relegated to the background, we have every right to be open.

I should add that it’s perfectly possible to purchase underwear online so that the women of France are not being forced to go “commando.”

The key issue is that shop owners are angry supermarkets are allowed to continue selling underwear, creating an unfair situation for the lingerie shops. In a press release, the protest organisers say small independent stores present a lower risk of the virus spreading.

Studies show that it is not in independent shops that the risk of transmission is the highest. Our small stores allow us to regulate the flow of visitors in a precise manner.

The big stores are open, welcome the public often without respecting the fixed distances and do not always enforce the measures of social distancing.

Over the next week or so, the French government is expected to publish plans for reopening. No details are yet available, but ministers have suggested that it will begin in mid-May with the reopening of non-essential stores, plus bar and café terraces.

Castex has so far not commented on the contents of his postbag, nor has his wife!

62 Comments on “France’s Pantie Protest

  1. It is the same here in Denmark. In the big supermarkets they may sell non-food items, but the small retailers have to stay closed. Internet purchases are fine, but they favour a certain group of businesses as well, not every shop is set up for internet sale. How about a solidarity fee that all those that can make money pay into a fond for those who do not earn anything? Especially from pharma industry, mask and test producers a lot of money should be obtained … 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • TBH there is plenty of financial support for closed businesses. I suspect they’re concerned that if you start buying underwear elsewhere, you won’t return to your local underwear provider post-lockdown.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, o.k., it is not quite the same here. They don’t have enough money to help the businesses, but they have 143 billions of DKK to finance some motorways that nobody needs right now, especially if the trend goes towards home office and more public transport.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A shop that sells only underwear is not essential when it can be purchased online or in a supermarket. But for the business owners it must seem grossly unfair.

    It’s doubtful that the general public will be queuing up in their hordes to buy a pair of fancy knickers so it does seem wrong not to allow them to re-open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most towns have a couple of small lingerie shops and while owners receive government support while they’re shut are concerned shoppers will get used to buying on line or in supermarkets and won’t return.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At least they are clean. This reminds me of the time, during Shirley Porter’s time at Westminster, after several years of warning that it would happen, I taped a piece of fallen ceiling to a letter to our Director.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vive la différence!!! indeed a great way to protest for the wrong doings of some! By the way the French govt is a coalition of several parties Castex is LR yet the pres is LREM lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really good post. Read everything and can’t believe in a hygienic world in modern times, you can’t buy lingerie. Everyone uses lingerie, it’s an essential! Really hope the protests will make the French prime minister change his mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have the same here, clothes shops had to be closed but supermarkets stayed out. The solution? Supermarkets were not allowed to sell clothes.

    Then again I live in a country where sanitary products were deemed not essential at one point

    Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds a lot easier than some of the protests I’ve been on, one in particular where someone fired at the hedge I was next to with a shot gun! It was like a starting pistol for the Bolt and off I ran. 🏃‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopefully, the panties he’s receiving aren’t… erm… washed. That’s the proper way to handle that! I very much dislike the whims of politicians, as you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A very Gallic protest. Maybe he’ll re open these stores when he figures out that he can open up his own small independent lingerie shop. Being a politician, I wouldn’t put it past him

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This is quite interesting. But they are on point though. The big shops can’t manage social distancing very effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my goodness…this did make me chuckle. ‘Panty Protest’ definitely hits the mark as eye catching titles go. On a serious note, I suppose it is a tricky issue. Who can open and how and when…not a decision I’d like to be tasked with!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I  think his only saving grace if he can’t reopen these shops is to make a big PR display, and donate all of these panties to a woman and/or family shelter as pantie’s  are essential these organization slack, particularly in larger sizes. 

    Liked by 1 person

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