Target: French President Francois Hollande, the French Senate, and former French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno.
Goal: Commend the French government for moving to ban child beauty pageants on the grounds that they hyper-sexualize young children.
Recently, the Senate in France accepted a bill that would ban child beauty pageants. In France, any person under the age of 16 is considered a child. Under the bill’s stipulations, child beauty pageant organizers or “anyone who encourages or tolerates children’s access to these competitions” may face jail time of up to two years and a fine of over twenty-five thousand euros. This is an important step in child-rights movements worldwide.
According to the BBC, the French Parliament also heard a report entitled “Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight For Equality.” This report also called for a ban on child-size adult clothing such as padded bras and high heeled shoes, although these measures were ultimately not included in the bill. “Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is only judged by their appearance,” said the author of the report, former French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno. Commend the French government for standing behind the rights of children and for working to end their exploitation and hyper-sexualization.
Dear President Hollande, Members of the French Senate, and former French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno,
Thank you for moving to accept legislation to ban the hyper-sexualization of children via child beauty pageants. Children all over the world are being increasingly sexualized at earlier and earlier ages, to the point where ten year old girls are posing in magazines wearing lipstick and padded bras. Children, of course, will always want to dress and act older than their age, but it is the job of responsible adults to ensure that they are not being hyper-sexualized in ways that may lead to their physical, mental, and emotional harm.
If this bill becomes a law, it will show the world that France takes children’s rights seriously. Chantal Jouanno’s words are extremely on point; young girls ought not to be made to believe that their only worth resides in their appearance. The issue of child beauty pageants is, at heart, a feminist issue; in a world where women are all too often judged professionally, artistically, politically, and academically by their looks and their sexuality rather than their actions, we need to cut off misogyny at the root. Children, especially young women, need to grow up with the message that worth does not derive from appearances alone. In addition, by criminalizing child beauty pageants, you are sending a very real message to those who would exploit children that the sexualization of children, at any level, is unacceptable. Thank you for standing up for the rights of children; hopefully other countries, including the United States, will learn from your example.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Glitter Girls Pageants via Flickr