Mini-miss contests ‘should be banned’

A report says children’s beauty contests are a factor in the inappropriate sexualisation of the very young

6 March 2012

BEAUTY contests for under 16s should be banned says a report commissioned by the Solidarity Ministry.

Senator Chantal Jouanno singled out “Mini Miss” contests, aimed at 8-12-year-olds, as one of the factors in a trend of inappropriate “hypersexualisation” of children.

Under-16s should also not be allowed to be the face of certain clothing brands, said Ms Jouanno.

There should also be a charter to which companies would sign up, to avoid manufacture and sale of inappropriate products to early ages (ie. suggestive clothing), the report says. Something similar exists in the UK, according to Ms Jouanno – for example high street clothing brands reportedly pledge not to sell push-up bras for little girls.

There could also be a “name and shame” website for parents to complain about certain firms breaking the guidelines, with the names published if action is not taken.

Better education on the topic via the caisses d’allocations familiales and schools should also be organised. Dress codes defining standards of “respectable” dress could be worked out and standardised.

“Hypersexualisation” of children relates to expressions, postures or dress codes deemed to be unsuitable for their age. Debate was notably sparked off on the topic in 2010 when French Vogue printed photos of a 10-year-old girl in glamorous outfits and heavy make-up and in suggestive poses such as reclining on a tiger skin.

The report says the problem starts very young, with marketing to boys and girls becoming ever more gender stereotyped.

Organiser of children’s beauty contests Michel le Parmentier said banning them would “smash the dream of little girls who just want to be princesses”.
Photo: Image Source IS2 - Fotolia.com

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