The stamp is having a comeback this week as France unveiled the new postal design. Traditionally, the French stamp has always pictured an image of Marianne, the fictional revolutionary and symbol of France. The newest edition, created by designer Olivier Ciappa, was revealed to be modeled after the French FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko, causing national discussion and skepticism.
The stamp was chosen on Bastille Day, the holiday in which France celebrates its liberation from the monarchy in 1789. Francois Hollande asked a group of 15- and 16-year-old students to choose from various designs. Once the winner was revealed, the artist responsible divulged his muse through a tweet, saying "for all those who ask who the model was for Marianne, it's a mix of several women, but particularly Inna Shevchenko."
The illustration has caused national outcry, with some saying the move is too controversial. The newly formed Christian-Democratic Party called for a boycott. Many anti-gay activists have expressed anger, as Shevchenko loudly condemned the Manif Pour Tous protests. The model caused further controversy when she tweeted the following:
Ciappa didn't think that his inspiration was too controversial. "For me, Marianne, who is represented bare-breasted, would probably have been a Femen in 1789 (the French Revolution) because she fought for the Republic's values -- liberty, equality and fraternity, " he said.
Shevchenko, 23, is currently living in France under political asylum after she cut down an Orthodox Christian cross to protest in solidarity with the Russian group "Pussy Riot".