Tuesday night the Parliament in France voted to ban beauty pageants for children under the age of 16. In a 197-146 vote, the Senate passed the ban in an effort to protect children, especially young girls, from being sexualized too early.
Under the proposed law, anyone who flouts the minimum age limit could face up to two years in prison and 30,000 euros (about $40,000) in fines.
Organizer of “mini-Miss” pageants in France, Michel Le Parmentier, told Associated Press that he is disappointed that the draft law involves an overall ban. He has reportedly been in discussions with law makers about regulations for pageants but was not anticipating such extensive language.
The legislation must yet go to the lower house of parliament for another vote and further debate.
While beauty pageants are not as common in France as they are in the U.S., French lawmakers argue that marketing and advertising campaigns are hypersexualized and send a clear message to girls about identity and sexuality.
Television shows in the United States such as Toddlers and Tiaras highlight these types of competitions and show young girls in promiscuous costumes donning heavy make-up and performing talent routines more suited for mature audiences.
Recently one pageant in the Paris region banned makeup, swimsuits and high heels in an effort to de-sexualize the competition.
Before the vote, senators debated over softer measure regarding limiting child pageants but in the end decided on an overall ban.