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France Says It’s Time for Kids to Stop Being Put on Display

France Says It’s Time for Kids to Stop Being Put on Display

French lawmakers are voting on a bill that would make it a criminal offense to organize beauty pageants involving young girls, effectively bringing to an end the baby beauty pageant phenomena.

France’s Senate on Tuesday evening voted 196 to 146 to adopt a bill that is aimed at curbing the “hyper-sexualization” of young girls.

The bill would make it a criminal offense to, in effect, enter a child in or to stage a beauty pageant by making it unlawful to be party to the judging of a child under the age of 16 based on their physical appearance. In the most extreme cases, this could reportedly mean up to two years in prison and a possible 30,000 euros ($40,000) fine. The law would also apply to anyone “who encourages or tolerates children’s access to these competitions.”

This legislative attempt is the culmination of a controversy that crystallized in December 2010 when the French Vogue magazine ran a spread featuring then 10-year-old girl Thylane Loubry Blondeau and two other young girls clad in what by any standard would be considered provocative — if not aggressively sexualizing — attire.

As a result, lawmakers opted for a parliamentary inquiry. Now, a report entitled “Against hyper-sexualisation, a new fight for equality” has been released.

The report backs the legislation currently before French lawmakers but goes even further. It says that these so-called beauty pageants are just one facet of the sexualization of young girls and that other areas must be challenged too. Such attempts should include banning child-sized adult clothing, in particular padded bras and high-heeled shoes.

“Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is only judged by their appearance,” author of the report, former Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno is quoted as saying. “As parents and politicians, this is our responsibility.”

The report specifically details the harms it says can come as a result of this kind of overt sexualization, with an increase in the likelihood of mood disorders and eating disorders like anorexia all documented.

The report, far beyond the law currently being considered, also contends that advertisers should be banned from dressing underage models in adult clothing and that they should not be used as brand figureheads. It also calls for the return of school uniforms for primary age children.

Michel Le Parmentier, who is the organizer of France’s most prominent “Mini-Miss” pageants, is quoted as saying he is disappointed with the draft law and specifically that it contains an outright ban. He contends that tougher regulations to desexualize would be more appropriate.

Child pageants are not abundant in France, but since this controversy, some have already taken steps to tone down the competitions, for instance by banning make-up, swimsuits and anything else considered to be adult paraphernalia.

Other nations such as Belgium and the UK, while not approaching a legislative remedy, have commissioned reports into what appears to be a growing concern over the sexualization of young girls.

The French bill will now need the approval of France’s other legislative chamber, the National Assembly, before it can be made law. It does seem to have support enough to pass, however, with Minister Chantal Jouanno contending that this issue spans ideological lines and is not something that the presiding socialist party should subject to partisan politics.

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Main image credit: Thinkstock. Vogue cover used under Fair Use terms, no infringement intended.

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4:41AM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

FRANCE !!!you are doing good)))

1:03PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Too bad Americans won't protest the sexualization of children in the pageants here. I used to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, seeing how the parents, usually mothers, manipulate their own children when many of the kids really don't want to do it. Mothers, sometimes fathers, living vicariously through their children.
If there must be pageants, then let the children be judged on accomplishments, not how they look strutting around a stage in bikinis, wearing so much makeup it needs to be scraped off, in false hairpieces, on heels, blowing kisses to judges. That isn't gaining social skills but seduction skills.

11:17PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

merci beaucoup France

10:34PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

awesome! now if the rest can catch up.

12:34PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Good for them. I think it should be banned in every country! Let them be kids.

12:33PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Good for them. I think it should be banned in every country! Let them be kids.

9:15AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Bravo!

7:25AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Excellent law. This madness needs to stop, too many young girls are being exploited by mothers living vicariously through their kids. With so many negative role models out there corrupt young girls to the sick trends of society. Kids Beauty Pageants are disgusting, telling a child she is only beautiful when she wears false teeth, hair, makeup and fake tans is appalling.

2:28AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

ty

6:48PM PDT on Sep 25, 2013

I agree

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