However, the Academie Francaise or the French Academy, which is the 400-year-old education authority responsible for preserving the French language, shot down the woke proposal. The Academie Francaise declared the overture to be "harmful to the practice and understanding of [French]."
Nathalie Elimas, France's state secretary for priority education, said the proposed gender-neutral changes were "a danger for our country" and "the death knell for the use of French in the world." Elimas added that the use of midpoints "dislocates words, breaks them into two."
Elimas said the changes would push people to learn English, which doesn't gender nouns, instead of French, "With the spread of inclusive writing, the English language—already quasi-hegemonic across the world—would certainly and perhaps forever defeat the French language."
France's education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that the midpoints would present challenges for learning disabilities, including dyslexia.
"In addition, this writing, which results in the fragmentation of words and agreements, constitutes an obstacle to reading and understanding the written word," Blanquer stated. "The impossibility of verbally transcribing texts using this type of writing hampers reading aloud as well as pronunciation, and consequently learning, especially for the youngest."
Despite the decision from the Academie Francaise, a French teacher's union, the SUD Education Union, attacked the ruling and even instructed schools to ignore it.
"SUD Education demands from the Minister that he stop trying to impose his backwardness on the educational community," the statement read. "SUD calls on staff to take no account of these instructions from another time, and to exercise as they wish, depending on professional situations, the full use of their pedagogical freedom."
Top French politicians, journalists, and intellectuals have recently become concerned about woke "out-of-control leftism and cancel culture'' from the United States and how it could affect French culture.
"Emboldened by these comments, prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture," the New York Times reported in February. "With its echoes of the American culture wars, the battle began inside French universities but is being played out increasingly in the media. Politicians have been weighing in more and more, especially following a turbulent year during which a series of events called into question tenets of French society."
French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech in October, where he sounded the alarm about "certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States."
"Many of these topics in which France used to excel academically have been undermined and we have abandoned them," Macron said in his speech. "And in so doing, we have left the intellectual debate to others, to those outside of the Republic by ideologizing it, sometimes yielding to other academic traditions…And when I see certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States, with their problems, which I respect and which exist, but which are just added to ours, I say to myself that it is reasonable to make this choice. And so we must, very clearly, re-invest, on a massive scale, in the field of social sciences, history, understanding of civilizations by creating posts, by stepping up dialogue, academic and scientific debate in order not to allow the knowledge, the understanding of Islam as a religion, of the civilization it underpins and its contribution to our country and our continent to become ideological and exclusively political debates."
In October, Blanquer warned that there is a need to fight the ideologies coming from American universities.
"No one has the right to cowardice anymore," Blanquer said, according to the Daily Wire. "There is a fight to be waged against an intellectual matrix coming from American universities and intersectional theses, which want to essentialize communities and identities, at the antipodes of our republican model which, for its part, postulates equality between human beings, independently of their characteristics of origin, sex, religion. It is the breeding ground for a fragmentation of our society and a vision of the world which converges with the interests of the Islamists."