Miss France, the country’s 101-year-old beauty pageant, is being sued by a feminist militant group for allegedly discriminatory entry requirements.
An appeal has been filed against the contest’s parent company, Endemol Production, by Osez le Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist), which in a statement released on Tuesday said that Miss France candidates perform a labor service and therefore should be protected from prejudice under French law. labor law.
Discrimination against employees on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, family situation or genetic characteristics is considered illegal in France. A 2021 entry form for the national beauty pageant revealed that applicants would not be considered if they were not at least 5ft 5in, or if they had previously been married or had children.
Other disqualifications for potential applicants include wearing weaves or hair extensions, getting a tattoo, and smoking. The app also asks for clothing size and requests that future beauty queens not undergo any major physical changes after they are accepted into the competition. Failure to comply, the candidate could be fined 5,000 euros ($ 5,822), under the terms and conditions of Miss France.
While the contest’s mission statement is to find “the young woman most representative of beauty and elegance,” the strict registration requirements mean that contenders for the crown are somewhat limited.
“Beyond the exploitation of women for economic purposes, this competition, through the violations of the law of which it is guilty, has a negative and retrograde impact on the whole of society”, writes Dare feminism in its press release. “It is high time that Endemol Production finally removed all sexist clauses from its regulations. ”
Miss France and Endemol Productions did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Alyssa Ahrabare, the boss of Dare feminism, wrote on social networks that Miss France “currently feeds the stereotypes that stand in the way of equality.”
“The competition rules are discriminatory: marital status, age, attitudes, choice of women, everything is subject to injunctions from another time! Candidates must be single and respect the rules of “elegance”, stop these sexist rules! she added.
Suzanne Angly, Miss France 1969, posing in a swimsuit. The competition started in 1920. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This is not the first time in recent years that the world of pageants has come under fire for its outdated codes of conduct and culture. In 2013, France decided to ban competitions for children under 16 for fear of promoting the hypersexualization of minors. But few countries have followed suit, despite a growing number of petitions. In 2018, model Veronika Didusenko had her Miss Ukraine title revoked when organizers found out she was a mother. Miss India also came under scrutiny in 2019 for perpetuating colorism by exclusively choosing fair-skinned contestants. And earlier this year, Miss USA (a separate contest from Miss USA) won the right to ban transgender women from competing.
While there have been a few instances of positive change – in 2019, Zozibini Tunzi became the first black woman with natural hair to win Miss Universe, and last year India crowned her third Miss Transqueen – the progress are often overshadowed by the controversial history of pageantry.
Still, the appetite for beauty pageants, at least in France, seems to be on the rise. Miss France 2021, which aired in December 2020, received the best ratings since 2006 with 8.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the Coronation, according to local reports. The next Miss France contest will take place on December 11.
Top image: Five finalists pose on stage for the Miss France 2017 swimsuit segment.