If you have ever looked at the sexy outfits, age inappropriate dance routines, and rampant substance abuse of child beauty pageants and wondered “how is this legal?” you’re not alone. France has just banned child pageants as a way to bring about gender equality, which begs the question…they have child pageants in France?
According to The Guardian, the upper house of French parliament just voted to ban beauty contests for children under the age of 16 in an effort to halt the “hypersexualisation” of young girls. It will be enforced by fines and, intensely enough, prison sentences. The ban was introduced into French parliament by representative Chantal Jouanno as part of a bill encouraging gender equality.
“Don’t let us allow our girls to believe from an early age that their only value is their looks,” Jouanno told senators. “Don’t let us allow commercial interests to outweigh social interests. Lawmakers are not moralisers, but we have a duty to defend the superior interest of the child.” Many are wondering if models under the age of 16 are also going to be banned, as that would be the a logical step.
All this might seem a bit strange coming from the country that brought us lingerie for children and sexy, sexy 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau, as well as the country that harbors noted child rapist Roman Polanski, all with a disinterested sigh of ennui. But maybe France is trying to make up for its past crimes? I also realize France is not a monolith, but it’s funny to talk about it like it is.
On the one hand, the girls in pageants don’t generally understand that what they’re doing is “sexy,” but children don’t understand shit about shit, so should that really be the bar by which they are allowed or not allowed to do things? And as far as child modeling goes, I do think it’s creepy and gross (not to mention utterly unnecessary) to depict children in adult clothing, poses and situations, so I won’t be sad if that gets banned, too. Good luck enforcing it, though. As fun as it would be to see Marc Jacobs behind bars for violating the rules at Paris fashion week, that’s probably never going to happen. If there’s anything I’ve learned from covering fashion for 2+ years, it’s that fashion does what the fuck it wants.
(Via The Guardian)