Senate Moves to Ban Child Beauty Pageants

Child beauty pageants, like this one in Atlanta, may soon be banned in France. Photo: Glitter Girls Pageants via flickr

Child beauty pageants, like this one in Atlanta, may soon be banned in France. Photo: Glitter Girls Pageants via flickr

The French Senate has voted to ban beauty pageants for young girls, in an effort to promote gender equality and to minimize the “over-sexualization” of young women.

The motion, which must still pass the National Assembly, was promoted by former Sports Minister Chanal Jouanno.

“Let’s not make our girls believe from an early age that their only value is their appearance,” Jouanno told the senate.

The proposed law states that anyone who violates the minimum age limit for beauty pageants could face up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

In response to the senate vote, Michel Le Parmentier, the organizer of France’s “Mini-Miss” pageants, said that if the French ban pases, he and his company would move the competitions to neighboring European countries.  “Maybe in Belgium, very close to the border,” Le Parmentier said, according to reports by the UK’s The Guardian.  Le Parmentier further insisted that the pageants were not objectifying, and involved “no make-up, no swimsuits, no artifice.”

Attention was first brought to this issue in a report issued by Jouanno in March, entitled “Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight for Equality.”  Among other things, the report claimed the young girls were being paraded as “sexual candy” in a seductive manner “contrary to the dignity of the human being.”  Her report was initially prompted by a cover photo issued earlier in the Spring by French Vogue, which featured Thylane Loubry, a 10-year-old girl, in heavy make-up, tight clothes, high heels, and a provocative prose.

The French are not entirely in support of the bill — its passage was opposed by government spokeswoman and Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who saw the penalties for breaking the ban as being too severe.

Before it becomes a law, the bill must first be approved by the lower house of the French legislature, the National Assembly.

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