Beauty Pageant Sued For Selecting Contestants Based On Appearance
A French beauty pageant is being sued for discrimination after allegedly selecting contestants based on their physical appearances.
Three former contestants have joined forces with feminist group Osez le feminisme (Dare to be a Feminist) in their bid to sue the Miss France pageant, as well as Endemol Production, the company that screens the pageant on the channel TF1.
In order to be considered for the annual pageant, which has sparked regular criticism over the years, beauty queen hopefuls must be single, taller than 1.70 metres and considered to be ‘representative of beauty’.
Contestants, who must have never married or had children, are obliged to not gain any weight during the competition and must not change their hairstyle. They also cannot have tattoos or any piercings other than ear piercings.
Plaintiffs have argued that Miss France and Endemol Production have in fact broken French labour law through enforcing this allegedly discriminatory selection criteria, France 24 reports.
Osez le feminisme’s lawyer Violaine De Filippis-Abate, told AFP that, in accordance with French labour law, companies are forbidden from discriminating against people based on ‘morals, age, family status or physical appearance’.
This case, which has now been filed in a labour court in the Parisian suburb of Bobigny, is understood to hinge upon whether or not magistrates will recognise pageant contestants as employees of Miss France and Endemol Production.
Although participants don’t sign an employment contract during the contest, plaintiffs have pointed to a supportive judgement made in 2013 after a former Mister France contestant sued the competition organisers for similar reasons.
In a Twitter thread, Alyssa Ahrabare, head of the Dare to be Feminist group, declared:
In the 1970s, feminists were already mobilizing against #MissMonde, today @osezlefeminisme is in line with this fight by tackling #MissFrance . We will continue to fight and we will not be intimidated.
The movement has since sparked the hashtag #PasTaMiss (‘Not Your Miss’), with many people arguing that the competition is outdated and sexist.
However, 2002 Miss France winner Sylvie Tellier, who now runs the competition, argued the contest actually promotes women’s rights,
She told The Telegraph:
You can parade in a swimsuit and be a feminist. We are no longer in the days of ‘look beautiful and shut up’.
The Miss France competition is scheduled to take place on December 11, and will be hosted in the port city of Caen in northern France’s Normandy region.
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