The Paris 2024 Olympics unveiled its mascot this week, a Phryges cap (pronounced free-jes). The mascot is triangular in shape, with cartoonish eyes, a tricolour ribbon, and colored sneakers. The Paralympic version of the mascot also features a prosthetic leg that goes to the knee.
The bright red Phrygian cap holds strong significance in French history. The floppy bonnets have become a symbol of freedom after they were popularised during the French Revolution. The Phrygian cap is also famously worn by French national icon Marianne, the artistic personification of the free French Republic.
Olympic organisers said they wanted a break from mascots at previous games, such as an animal or other creature, and instead wanted something that represented an “ideal.”
“We wanted mascots that would embody our vision and be able to share it with the French people and the world,” said Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet at the unveiling. “Rather than an animal, our mascots represent an ideal. The Phrygian cap is a symbol of liberty. Since it is familiar to us and appears on our stamps and the pediments of our town halls, it also represents French identity and spirit.”
He continued: “As well as embodying our Games, our mascots will carry them forward, showcasing the ambition of the Games, which is truly revolutionary.”
The Olympic Phryge and the Paralympic Phryge are taking the lead of a tribe which always has its trainers on 👟
What could be better than little Phrygian caps to lead the revolution through sport and accompany us to the #Paris2024 Games! pic.twitter.com/hUjFI09zZM
— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) November 14, 2022
Although the Paris 2024 Olympic mascot represents a national symbol of freedom, the triangular hat still prompted a number of confused reactions and bemusement. However, the most common reaction came from those who believed the mascot resembled a female body part brought to life: the clitoris.
“France, bravely choosing a clitoris for Olympics mascot,” said one person on Twitter.
“Meanwhile in Paris, today we are debating whether the new Olympic mascots do, as intended, resemble the liberty caps worn by French revolutionaries, or whether they look more like giant clitorises,” another user wrote.
“Okay so the mascot my country came up with for the Olympics 2024 are two giant clits,” said someone else.
France 🇫🇷 bravely choosing a clitoris for Olympics mascot 🔥 https://t.co/1zFbr8ANpp
— Romeu Moura (@malk_zameth) November 14, 2022
Meanwhile in Paris, today we are debating whether the new Olympic mascots do, as intended, resemble the liberty caps worn by French revolutionaries, or whether they look more like giant clitorises https://t.co/IjENenq5mn
— Katy Lee (@kjalee) November 14, 2022
Okay so the mascot my country came up with for the Olympics 2024 are two giant clits https://t.co/blBQpoxapS
— ☁️FlyingRotten☁️ (@CamilleCailloux) November 15, 2022
Some people couldn’t help but make classic jokes about the clitoris, specifically how people (cough men cough) have trouble locating just exactly where it is.
“Heard your boyfriend can’t find the Paris 2024 Olympic Games mascot,” said one person.
“I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking if he wants to find my Paris Olympics mascot,” another user tweeted.
Heard your boyfriend can't find the Paris 2024 Olympic Games mascot https://t.co/vveJrxMeFh
— Caspar Salmon (@CasparSalmon) November 14, 2022
I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking if he wants to find my Paris Olympics mascot
— Ellie (@StonnySays) November 15, 2022
Even the official Twitter account for the Vagina Museum joined in on the fun when they posted an updated guide to the clitoris, complete with images of the newly unveiled mascot. “We’ve published a new guide to the anatomy of the clitoris! Here’s the parts of the internal and external organ,” they said.
“Paris Olympic mascot or new guide to the anatomy of the clitoris? The choice is yours,” one user replied.
We've published a new guide to the anatomy of the clitoris! Here's the parts of the internal and external organ. pic.twitter.com/h2fJpSDOoT
— Vagina Museum (@vagina_museum) November 15, 2022
Paris Olympic mascot or new guide to the anatomy of the clitoris? The choice is yours. 🤭 https://t.co/MmqrJRbreQ
— Kate Walton (@waltonkate) November 15, 2022
Luckily, these Phryges caps and other mascot merchandise are now available to purchase both online and in stores ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Olympic Games in 2024 will be held from 26 July until 11 August, while the Paralympic Games will take place between 28 August and 8 September.