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French politician under fire for appearing on Playboy magazine cover

French government minister Marlene Schiappa is being criticized by her political colleagues after appearing on the front cover of the French edition of Playboy magazine, CNN reports. 

Schiappa, a government minister since 2017, appeared in a white dress on the magazine cover "to accompany a 12-page interview she did on women's and LGBT rights," CNN explains. She is the current minister for the social economy and French associations but previously served as "the country's first-ever gender equality minister." A "long-time advocate for women's rights," Schiappa "successfully spearheaded a new sexual harassment law which allows for on the spot fines to be issued to men who catcall, harass or follow women on the street," CNN notes.

Her appearance in Playboy drew criticism from other politicians, including French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Borne allegedly told Schiappa that the cover "wasn't appropriate, especially during this period," a source close to the prime minister told French news channel BFMTV. France is currently in the midst of "political upheaval after the government pushed through a move to raise the state pension age from 62 to 64," says Insider. Over a million people have protested the president's decision to change the retirement age. 

Schiappa posing for Playboy is a sign that France is "going off the rails," Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing populist LFI party, said in a tweet. Schiappa responded by tweeting that women have a right "to have control of their bodies."

"Defending the right of women to have control of their bodies, that's everywhere and all the time," she wrote. "In France, women are free. With all due respect to the detractors and hypocrites." 

Schiappa was "compatible" with the magazine "because she is attached to the rights of women and she has understood that it's not a magazine for old 'machos' but could be an instrument for the feminist cause," Playboy editor Jean-Christophe Florentin told AFP news agency.