Antoinette Fouque

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Antoinette Fouque (née Grugnardi; October 1, 1936 – February 20, 2014) was a psychoanalyst who was involved in the French women's liberation movement. She was the leader of one of the groups that originally formed the French Women's Lib (MLF), and she later registered the trademark MLF specifically under her name. Her position in feminist theory was primarily essentialist, and heavily based in psychoanalysis.[1][2]


Fouque was born in a poor neighbourhood of Marseille to Alexis Grugnardi, a Corsican syndicalist. Early in life, Fouque listened to the speeches of communist leader Maurice Thorez. She became a teacher, married René Fouque, and developed an interest in Latin culture and Italian literature. With René Fouque, Antoinette Fouque participated in the literary journal Cahiers du Sud. Between 1965 and 1969, she read Italian manuscripts for Éditions du Seuil. Fouque read Jacques Lacan before reading Sigmund Freud.[3]

With the French writer and feminist Monique Wittig, Josiane Chanel and many others, Fouque was active since 1968 in one of the early women's groups which gathered together in 1970 to form the French Mouvement de Libération des Femmes (MLF), a movement consisting of multiple groups throughout France without any formal leadership.[4] Fouque herself denied being feminist, and rejected Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism in favour of structuralism and libertarian Marxism. Her group was called Psychanalyse et Politique. Conflicts developed within the movement between Fouque and Wittig, since the former was influenced by Lacan and the latter by Herbert Marcuse.[3]

In 1974, she helped found the publishing body Éditions Des femmes, funded by Sylvina Boissonnas "an heiress of the Schlumberger family", which printed works for the feminist movement.[3]

In October 1979, Fouque registered the name MLF as the property of her group,[5] creating a controversy still ongoing. French philosopher, writer and feminist Beauvoir[6] wrote against this appropriation of the MLF by one group.

She practiced as a psychoanalyst starting in 1971,[7] but her credentials were not clearly established. Between 1969 and 1975, Fouque underwent psychoanalysis with Lacan; she said that this helped her "not to yield to the feminist illusion. He made me avoid the idea that a woman can only be a failed man. He allowed me to criticize Sartre and Beauvoir." During that same period, Fouque also underwent psychoanalysis with Luce Irigaray. In 1974, Fouque met Serge Leclaire and discussed undergoing analysis with him, but the analysis did not take place. Leclaire became a friend of Fouque, and worked with her group Psychanalyse et Politique. Between 1978 and 1982, Fouque underwent psychoanalysis with Bela Grunberger. Fouque stated that she found Grunberger misogynistic.[3]

Fouque was decorated with the Legion of Honour, and was awarded a doctorate in political science University of Paris VIII. She has appeared on French television with the actress Catherine Deneuve.[8]


  1. ^ Martel, Frédéric (2000-01-01). The Pink and the Black: Homosexuals in France Since 1968. Stanford University Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 9780804732741. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mort d'Antoinette Fouque, pionnière du mouvement féministe" (in French). Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roudinesco, Elisabeth. (1990). Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-72997-4. 
  4. ^ Françoise Picq, Libération des Femmes, les années-mouvement, éd.Seuil, Paris 1993.
  5. ^ Claire Duchen, Feminism in France, From May 68 to Mitterrand, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1986
  6. ^ Chroniques d'une imposture, du MLF à une marque commerciale, Introduction by Simone de Beauvoir, Voix Off, Paris, 1981.
  7. ^ Interview with Antoinette Fouque, A Voix Nue, France-Culture, January 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2013
  8. ^ Zeldin, Theodore. (1994). An Intimate History of Humanity. Chicago: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-017160-X.