How many times have you heard of something that's happened on Toddlers & Tiaras and wondered why on earth parents are allowed to let their children do that? From sexualizing them in skimpy costumes to pumping them full of sugary, caffeinated drinks so they're ready to compete with their flippers and fake tans, we've seen acts that should be criminal. And now they very well may be ... at least in France where they are they moving to ban child beauty pageants.
According to CNN, the French Senate voted to ban beauty pageants for anyone under 16. Organizers could be thrown in jail for up to two years and face step fines. The bill still has to pass a few more hurdles, but if signed into law, it will be tres magnifique.
There is, of course the argument of personal freedom, and it's definitely a slippery slope to think of the government interfering with parents' rights to decide what's best for their children. But most importantly, there are the children. While there are different types of contests, in many we've seen children clearly being exploited.
Chantal Jouanno, who is fighting for the bill says pageants "hypersexaulize" young girls:
Lawmakers are not moralizers, but we have a duty to defend the superior interest of the child.
It is extremely destructive for a girl between the age of 6 and 12 to hear her mother say that what’s important for her is to be beautiful. We are fighting to say: What counts is what they have in their brains.
People will argue that pageants instill confidence, test talents, and possess all sorts of virtues, but there are plenty of other means for those things that aren't focused primarily on their looks. Contests that involve a swimsuit competition for children should not exist. They just should not.
I can't see a law like this ever getting passed in the United States, but I do love that the French are addressing this issue and bringing awareness to it. I think most parents have no idea just how damaging these contests can be to their darling daughters. They're blinded by the glitz and pursuit of the crown, and don't see what's happening in the process. Maybe the French will open some more eyes to it, and parents won't need a ban to prevent them from entering their daughters.
Do you think beauty pageants for kids should be banned?
Image via Liz Jones/Flickr