French Senate bans child beauty pageants

The Senate approved the measure 197-146 overnight,as an amendment to a law on women’s rights.

Written by Associated Press | Paris | Published: September 19, 2013 1:15 am

France’sSenate has voted to ban beauty pageants for children under 16,in an effort to protect children — especially girls — from being sexualized too early.

Anyone who enters a child into such a contest would face up to two years in prison and 30,000 euros in fines,according to the measure. A pageant organizer expressed regret that the move was so severe.

The Senate approved the measure 197-146 overnight,as an amendment to a law on women’s rights. The legislation must go to the lower house of parliament for further debate and another vote.

Such beauty pageants,involving girls of all ages heavily made up and dressed up,regularly elicit public debate in France and elsewhere. While such pageants are not as common in France as in the United States,girls get the message early on here that they are sexual beings,from social messages and advertising and marketing campaigns — and even from department stores that sell lingerie for girls as young as 6.

“The foundations of equal rights are threatened by the hyper-sexualization that touches children… between 6 and 12 years old,” conservative lawmaker Chantal Jouanno said,who authored the amendment.

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