Do you know the Marianne? If you live in France the answer is yes. But even if you do not the answer will be probably yes. The Marianne is not only the face of all French stamps and most Euro coins but as well on the famous painting from Eugène Delacroix called “La Liberté guidant le people”. The moment you see it you will remember.
So who was this lady, why she is so important for France and why she is even a symbol for equality and feminism?
Starting with the French revolution
The Marianne is a symbol of the French Republic since the French revolution in 1789 to 1799. She is the figure representing the slogan “Liberty, Equality et Fraternity”.
In the 18th century the names Marie and Anne have been very popular. What though her real name was stays unknown.
Marianne symbolizes the change of regime. Her appearance is highlighting the symbolism of the “mother of the country”, of the foster mother who protects the children of the Republic. Under the Revolution, Liberty and the Republic were women, often warriors. Just to add: this is as well how the statue of liberty in New York, which was given as a gift from France is a women.
The Marianne is a woman wearing the so called red Phrygian cap. This hat is a symbol for freedom as the first ones have been worn by slaves in Greece and Rome.
The designs and representations change over the years. Open hair, breast naked, different looks and expressions- over the years the symbols evolves. From very calm with decent look, hair attached and no weapons to the symbol of a fighter with open hair.
The Marianne is the symbol of the French republic
The face of the Marianne is omnipresent in France. Since 1870, time of the Third Republic and then with the arrival of Republicans in government until the beginning of the 20th century, the Marianne started appearing in form of statues in the government, town halls and schools.
The Association of French Mayors commonly chose the models as for example Brigitte Bardot in 1968 to represent the Marianne. Mireille Mathieu 10 years later, Catherine Deneuve, Laetitia Casta or Sophie Marceau as have been the symbol of the Republic. They do not all look alike, it is not each time the same outfit, but the goal to represent the Republic and France is the same.
Together with the blue-white-red flag and the slogan «Liberty, Equality and Fraternity» her head is on every official document from the government like fiscal statements.
In Paris a big statue of the Marianne together with the slogan «Liberty, Equality and Fraternity» is installed at the “Place de la République”.
The Marianne as symbol of feminism
The Marianne is also called “the committed”, she is a symbol for strength, youth, a determined women representing as well feminism.
As her appearance changed over the time, the stamps are changing as well each for a period of 5 years. The last new stamp was released 23rd of July 2019. This new Marianne was designed by Yseult Digan, YZ the artist name. She said “I wanted this Marianne to be strong, proud and determined, with a frank look that leads to the future”.
For the feminist community the Marianne represents a lot. Mélanie from the association “Nous Toutes” said: “Never mind the President. We see the freedom of women and this character is very important.”
To have a woman as symbol on official documents but as well occurring in daily life like on coins or stamps is a clear and strong message. France always claimed equality and feminism is nothing else. Same conditions for men and women this is what feminism asks for.
Symbol for the new Made in France collection
Bag Affair choses the Marianne as symbol for new collection entirely Made in France. A woman for a brand made by women for the empowerment of women at the workplace just seems perfect to us. We want equality and we want to produce local.
To empower means as well to pay decent salaries and assure good work conditions and even if there is still a lot of work to do overseas and in other countries we feel that we need to support first of all locally.
Production in France, as Bag Affair is a French company sounds like the logical next step to us. And we are not in Paris and have no link with the Eiffel Tower, we are a vegan brand and feel a rooster does not fit. We are not claiming patriotism but equality and feel the Marianne as symbol for feminism fits better than the blue-white-red flag. We hope you like the new collection as well as this symbol we did choose to easily signal our Made in France products.