France is moving to ban beauty pageants for little girls. In an attempt to fight the “hyper-sexualisation” of children, the French upper house of parliament has adopted a proposal that calls for the ban of beauty pageants for girls under 16 years of age.
Under the proposal, organisers of beauty pageants aimed at young children, as well as parents or others who enter young girls in beauty contests, might face up to two years in prison and would be fined up to €30,000 [around AUD43,000].
The measure is part of a wider law on gender equality, and was approved by the Senate after garnering 197-146 votes in favour of the ban. It will now go back to the lower house for another vote before it gets passed.
“Let’s not let our daughters think from such a young age that they will be judged according to their appearance. Let’s not let commercial interest impact on social interest, senator Chantal Jouanna, who proposed the amendment, told the Senate.
Michel Le Parmentier, the creator of the “Mini-Miss” contest in Paris, doesn’t agree with the proposed ban, saying that regulations would have been a better solution rather than an outright ban on pageants.
He added that if it becomes a law, he would move the pageant to other European countries close to France where French parents can still enter their daughters in the contest without having to worry about legal repercussions.
According to France’s The Local, the measure was prompted by controversy in December 2010 when provocative images of 10-year-old girl Thylane Loubry Blondeau appeared in Vogue magazine. The young French girl and two others were wearing heavy makeup, high heels, and tight dresses in the pictures.
The magazine claimed that it was just portraying girls dressing like their mother, which is a common fantasy among young girls.
Actress Veronika Loubry, Blondeau’s mother, sparked more outrage when she wrote in a blog that her “daughter isn’t naked; let’s not blow this thing out of proportion.”
Although the magazine feature initially did not invite negative response in France, the French government has called for its inquiry after it sparked widespread criticism in the U.S.
Thylane Loubry Blondeau (Credit: Vogue Paris)
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