« J’avais jamais pensé au genre des passages piétons »


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Last summer, the town council of Valencia decided to feminize half of the city traffic lights.

It’s a Spanish friend who told me about it.

‘What do you think about the new firelights in Valencia? -It’s awesome! But it would be even more awesome if there was 100% of ladies! -But then it’s not equality anymore, right? -Yep, but that’s to compensate with decades of under-representation of female pedestrians! »

I absolutely needed to write an e-mail to Anne Hidalgo (Paris mayoress)

(E-mail reads) ‘Dear Madam, I have a great idea to make Paris a nicer city’

I talked about it around me.

(Talking with a friend) ‘So when you cross the street, on one side there’s male pedestrians and on the other side it’s female!  -But Cléo -That’s the future! -But don’t you think that it’s absolutely sexist and normative to represent girls with skirts? -Shit, you’re damn right… But that’s true that I’ve never thought about the gender of pedestrian walkways before. Does that mean that the little pedestrian is actually just a human being?  -No, it’s definitely a guy. Don’t get caught by the myth of the universal masculine. -But then what are we going to do? -Let’s just ungender the pedestrian walkways!  -Great! And instead of humans it could be animals! -Yep! Like rabbits, or frogs’

(They’re typing the e-mail) ‘Dear Anne, to live in a city first means to feel represented. -Or ‘to recognize oneself in its streets?’ -No, that’s way too pretentious. ‘It is as citizens that we address to you… -That we address you this complaint.’