Vive la Honey Boo Boo!

If you’re French and looking to be the next Honey Boo Boo, your time may be running out! On September 18th, 2013, the French Senate approved an initial proposal to prohibit girls under the age of sixteen from entering beauty pageants. The French government decided to craft legislation in response to a parliamentary report entitled, “Against Hyper-Sexualization: A New Fight For Equality.” The author of the report, Chantal Jouanno, who served as sports minister under President Sarkozy, called for a ban on child-size adult clothing, “such as padded bras and high-heeled shoes and an end to beauty competitions for the under-16s.” Jouanno wants her country to demand higher standards for their youths and stated, “Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is only judged by their appearance.”

The beauty pageant proposal is part of an amendment to a larger French law on sexual equality. The lower house of the French Government, the National Assembly, will review the legislation in November. The National Assembly may or may not retain the beauty pageant ban and the harsh consequences for its violators. The Senate proposal would punish organizers of the banned pageants with incarceration for up to two years and a fine of 30,000 Euros.

The popularity of the beauty pageants in France is nowhere near the level of hysteria as in the United States. The American television network TLC constantly scores high ratings with their reality show “Toddlers & Tiaras.” The title tells you everything you need to know. The spinoff, “Honey Boo Boo,” has turned the show’s pint-sized star into a household name and Internet sensation. Dolla’ makes me holla’ anyone? Are these television shows, which capture girls caked with makeup and dressed in highly suggestive costumes, just good ol’ fashion American fun, or signs of a decaying and highly sexualized society with no limits?

While France has taken steps to protect their minor girls from the supposed dangers of “hyper-sexualization,” America has found a way to profit off the very same venture. What are we missing here in America? Whether beauty pageants really debase the morals and emotional platitudes of their minor participants is still a matter of great debate.  Some advocates against the French proposal say pageants help the young participants to build confidence and inspire goal setting, but where is the line between meritorious and just plain improper?


Do you agree with the actions of the French government or are they being over zealous? Do you think the National Assembly with uphold the ban in November?

Why haven’t the law makers in America made this an issue requiring legislative action?

Would you enter your child in a beauty pageant?

Picture: Time Magazine




  1. While I agree with the reasoning behind the beauty pageant proposal and Chantal Jouanno’s demand for higher standards for the youth of France, I most certainly do not agree with the harsh consequences for the violators of the beauty pageant ban. “Incarceration for up to two years and a fine of 30,000 Euros”, this seems very unfair to me. It is often said that the punishment must fit the crime and this is measured by the degree of harm that the crime has on society. Enrolling children into beauty pageants may have psychological effects on them but the degree of harm to society is not sufficient enough to punish violators with up to two years in prison. Especially, when enrolling children into beauty pageants has been legally acceptable in France for years. I think that a fine of 30,000 Euros would be adequate punishment but not this prison sentence and the French government is being over zealous. It will be interesting to see how this ban is handled by the National Assembly in November.

  2. In my opinion, the ban outlawing girls under a certain age to enter into beauty pageants seems to be a reasonable idea which should be adopted all around the world. To be able to properly participate in a beauty pageant, there must be a level of maturity in which children under the age of 16 might not possess. As stated in the movie Miss Congeniality, “It is not a beauty pageant, it is a scholarship program. ” By being entered into these pageants, we could be giving children the impression that the only thing that is important when growing up is the way they look and present themselves. Children, such as Honey Boo Boo, who are placed in beauty pageants, are almost being forced to act an age in which they might not be ready for, essentially being unable to live out their childhood. After the age of 16, a youth could be able to properly appreciate the benefits of beauty pageants for their other interior attributes.

  3. The purpose behind this ban on beauty competitions, for children under 16 years, is to prevent hyper-sexualization, self worth confusion, and shallow standards. On one hand, I agree with the drive and reasons behind the ban. On the other, I am hesitant to support a prohibition, on parental accompanied extracurricular competition, that controls a citizen’s freedoms. I am not sure that this is an appropriate way to promote sexual equality.

    I am stumped by the question whether beauty pageants should be under the same extracurricular category as athletics. I started competing on a swim team when I was 8 years old. Although these are minors participating in competition, there is normally parental funding and support allowing these kids to participate in the pageants, just like athletic teams. Is the fact that a beauty pageant is mainly a competition of appearance, rather than skill or athleticism, a determining factor in differentiation?

  4. I understand the reasoning behind the proposal to prohibit girls under the age of sixteen from entering beauty pageants, however, I believe it is unnecessary and too controlling. I understand the demand for higher standards for the youths of France. However, in essence this proposal is telling parents how to raise their children. In addition, it is banning children from participating in an activity that has been legally acceptable for years in France. Whether parents want to enter or not enter their children into beauty pageants is ultimately their decision. Furthermore, if girls under the age of sixteen want to enter a beauty pageant, they should legally be allowed to do so. In my opinion, if that is what a girl is passionate about or at the very least interested in, they should be given the chance to try it out. Finally, the consequences for violators, in my opinion, are too harsh. Violators would be seeing up to two years in jail and a fine of 30,000 Euros for organizing a beauty pageant. The punishment does not fit the crime. In my opinion, organizing a beauty pageant does not harm society to the point where violators would need to see up to two years in jail.

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