French feminists have gone over the top in a reaction against American-style child beauty contests, criminalizing adults who participate. The penalties introduced to discourage the pageants include up to two years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
Apparently, beauty pageants are a threat to gender equality:
Facing growing fears of “hypersexual” young girls, the French upper house of Parliament voted Wednesday to end beauty pageants for those younger than 16.
The Senate passed the new ban 197-to-146 as an amendment to a larger bill aimed at increasing gender equality. The measure now goes to the lower house, the National Assembly, for discussion and a vote.
Pageants are popular in smaller towns across France, though far less frequent and less intense than in the United States. And France has no equivalent of American reality shows like “Toddlers & Tiaras” and its spinoff, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” that feature very young contestants.
Still, the intense focus on beauty here, combined with a surge of images of sexualized, prepubescent girls, has raised fears that the pageants could take on the over-the-top quality of American contests.
“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,” Chantal Jouanno, the ban’s champion, said Wednesday. “We are fighting to say: What counts is what they have in their brains.”
Personally, I’m not a big fan of beauty pageants because I find them to be pretty boring. Sure, the women can be attractive, but as a normal male I have little interest in what they are wearing or how they do their hair. I’m pretty sure most men feel the same way.
However, as a father of a little girl, I understand that girls and women really enjoy showing themselves off in all their finery, so if they want to do so in a tasteful manner, what’s the harm?
It seems the real problem is the intense competition, manipulation of children and vicious infighting that accompanies some of these events. But is it men or fathers involved in this? Far from it. Beauty pageants are for women by women, so it’s disingenuous of feminists to suggest that they have anything to do with gender equality. It’s just women doing their thing.
Actually, it looks as though beauty pageants are more a result of gender equality than an impediment to it. If fathers had more influence and say, the aggressive feminine competition in these pageants might be tempered somewhat, just as mothers play some role in preventing boys from acting too rowdy and overtly masculine.
Feminists often act on the false premise that giving women more opportunities and choices to do what they please will result in women and men acting more like each other. In reality it’s the opposite. When men and women can do whatever they want, their actions diverge more than when they are constrained by the need to get along with the opposite sex.
Chantal Jouanno may have figured this out, and that’s why she’s taken it upon herself to force women to be more equal. If women don’t want to do gender equality the easy way, she’s going to whip them into it.