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Published 2021-11-08
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Beauty Contest Sued For Picking Contestants Based On Their Looks!

Beauty pageants and other beauty contests have been around for many years and at the same time have also been heavily criticized by many. When most think of these types of contests they think of tall and skinny girls, sashaying down the runway, hoping that they will be the winners and be known as the most beautiful woman. In recent years, with the changes in society, brands had been making changes to their models to be inclusive yet beauty shows had stayed strong on their stance. Most recently a French beauty pageant has been hit with a lawsuit due to some very specific rules they have about their contestants. What are the rules they have imposed that have been said to be against the law and who have been unaccepting of beauty standards? And has this been an issue in the past? Read on to find out why this French contest has caused so much controversy.

Victoria Secret’s Making Change

Changes had been happening all over the fashion industry in hopes of making it more diverse and more reflective of how different all women look. Earlier in the year, Victoria’s Secret had announced that they will be undergoing a major rebranding as they say goodbye to their angels, who had often consisted of some of the world’s biggest supermodels. Instead of having the likes of Barbara Palvin and Karlie Kloss grace their runways with the famous angel wings and skimpy underwear, the company will replace them with trailblazing women. They had announced their VS Collective which at the moment consists of seven women who will serve as ambassadors and brand advisors and those include soccer player Megan Rapinoe and actress Priyanka Chopra, among others. While the news was met with mixed reviews, for the most part, many claimed the change was for the better. If you want to know more about what happened you can check out our previous video displayed below. But what changes did the French beauty show make? Read on to find out.

Miss France - The History

Miss France the national beauty pageant has been around for 101 years. First held in 1920 has been organized continuously since 1947. Previously between 1940-’47, it didn’t take place as a result of the ongoing World War II. To take part the contestants of Miss France must meet a number of eligibility requirements as well as win the regional title, which also includes French overseas territories, that qualifies them for the national competition. Once successful in entering the main contest and winning it, Miss France gets to reside in Paris during her year of reign in a rent-free apartment, in addition to winning a number of other additional prizes and sponsorship deals while also receiving a monthly salary. On top of that, they typically get to represent France at either Miss Universe or Miss World. The current Miss France is Amandine Petit, who was crowned the winner on December 19th, 2020.

Miss France - Lawsuit

And while the show has been around for 101 years it seems that most recently it has encountered some trouble. All because a feminist activist group, as well as three unsuccessful applicants, have decided to sue the contest over alleged discriminatory entry requirements. According to media reports, an appeal has been filed against the pageant’s parent company, Endemol Production, by “Osez le féminisme (Dare to be feminist)”, who is a news statement had said that Miss France contestants perform a work service by taking part in the contest and therefore should be protected from prejudice under the French employment law. But what exactly were the discriminatory requirements? You will find out on the next page.

Miss France - Controversial Requirements

The lawsuit was filed after a 2021 application form for the national beauty pageant had revealed some rather questionable and controversial requirements. The application had allegedly stated that candidates would not be considered for the contest if they were not at least 5’5, if they were or had previously been married or if they had children. According to the suit, this is against French law to discriminate against employees on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, family situation, or genetic characteristics.

Miss Universe - Contestants Can Be Fined

But that wouldn’t be all with regards to the controversial requirements and rules that had many in an uproar. Further reasons for disqualification for potential contestants include wearing weaves or hair extensions, having tattoos, and smoking. The application in itself had asked the contestants to list their clothing size and requested that prospective beauty queens do not undergo any major physical changes after they were accepted into the competition. However, should someone not comply with it, they wouldn’t be just booted from the contest but allegedly Miss France’s terms and conditions state that they could even land a fine of 5,000 euros ($5,822). So while the mission statement of the competition is to find “the young woman most representative of beauty and elegance” many add that not only are their demands against the French employment law, they are mean that the contenders for the crown are somewhat limited. Though what exactly had those who filed the lawsuits said? Read on to find out.

Miss Universe - Exploiting Women?

In their official news statement, Osez le féminisme had stated that beyond exploiting women for economic gain, the contest, through their violations of the law, has a negative impact on the whole of society. They had also called for the production company Endemol Productions to finally remove all “sexist clauses from its regulations” as it’s about time for those changes to be made. The head of the organization, Alyssa Ahrabare, also took to her own social media where she stated that the contest “feeds stereotypes that stand in the way of equality”, adding that they need to stop with these sexist rules. Ahrabare also spoke with CNN, where she added that the three unsuccessful applicants involved in the lawsuit against Miss France were rejected from the competition for their “age, height, drinking and smoking in public and having tattoos”.

Miss Universe - The Response

While the production company for the contest might not have issued an official statement, Sylvie Tellier, who was crowned Miss France in 2002 and now runs the organization, has spoken with the press about this. According to a French news site, Le Parisien she had asked that those protesting the show “leave the women here free to choose what suits them”. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Tellier had also said that you can parade in a swimsuit and still be a feminist, pointing out that “we are no longer in the days of ‘look beautiful and shut up’”. As local media had reported, right now it will be up to the judge to review the lawsuit and determine whether any laws were broken and how to proceed with it. Despite all these controversies the appetite for beauty contests appears to be up as last year’s Miss France had received its best television ratings since 2006 with 8.6 million viewers tuning in and the next contest is set to take place December 11th. And while it seems as of now there has been nothing done against the French contest, have there been other controversial pageants?

Controversial Beauty Pageants

But in recent years it wasn’t just Miss France that has come under fire as there had been plenty of other contests that had been criticized for their outdated codes of conduct and culture. Still staying in France, in 2013 the country had made the decision to ban beauty competitions for children under 16 over concerns that it promotes the hyper-sexualization of minors. Though unfortunately, only a few countries had followed suit despite the public agreeing with the decision. When it comes to having children and not being allowed to be a beauty queen, that is something that model Veronika Didusenko experienced in 2018 when her Miss Ukraine title was revoked and she was banned from competing in the Miss World contest, on the grounds that she provided false information once organizers had found out she was a mother. And earlier this year, Miss United States of America (a separate pageant to Miss USA) had won the right to ban transgender women from competing.

Positive Changes In The Pageant World

Though it has not all been negative news coming from the pageant world in recent years as there have been many good changes made. For example in 2019, Zozibini Tunzi had become the first Black woman with natural hair to win Miss Universe. Last year, India had crowned their third Miss Transqueen, and in the United States of America, Kataluna Enriquez who only this year was crowned Miss Nevada USA, will become the first-ever openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant.

Do you think that there should be serious changes made to the world of beauty pageants? Let us know in the comments and if you enjoyed this article do not hesitate to share it with your friends and leave a Like on our Facebook page!

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