Sunday, May 4, 2008

I might live in France

I just keep hearing great things about France.

For some bizarre reason, the powers that be have decided that we shouldn't like the French. They're prudish, uppity, elitist, blah blah blah. Well, every country has those people, but you can't say generalize the entire French populace as such! I've been there and sure, Paris may be like that a bit, but even the rest of the France believes Paris is basically its own entity. The non-Parisians are from a mold quite their own.

I'm constantly impressed by what they're doing. Their stance on our war for one. Their language for another. They are well educated and on average, very healthy. And their food! My god.

But two things have struck me recently. First, in my Sociology class we've been talking about poverty and welfare programmes. Here's the thing, most western societies have implemented a poverty line and numerous welfare programmes, but some countries have been more successful at curbing poverty than others. France has done a great job of that. The difference between their programmes and ours is that they A) have set the poverty line higher than we have, and B) they have implemented more encompassing programmes; they consider things such as multiple children, debts, etc. Our system merely considers how much you make each year which is only one factor in a slurry that can lead to poverty.

But besides actually spending the money to help out their poor, they also care about health. I believe they have a universal health care system, but that's not what I'm talking about. Recently a bill was passed by France's lower house of Parliament that would make it illegal for anyone, including magazines, advertisers and websites, to "publicly incite" extreme thinness. The French even care about the self image of their people! MY GOD that's phenomenal!! They've long been the experts in fashion, and used the ultra-thin model trend to the full extent, but now they're leading the change for a better body image! This is a great step towards healing our ailing, over exercising, purging men and women from their endless quest for zero fat and flatter abs. Granted, exercise is immensely important, but not everyone can be Keira Knightly.

Thank you God. Or Buddha. Or whoever. Thanks for this gem of humanity in these dark times.

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