French action on child beauty pageants is admirable

  • Article by: THOMAS HARGROVE , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: September 21, 2013 - 10:26 AM
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This undated photo provided by the Mini Miss committee shows Oceane Scharre, 10, elected Mini Miss France 2011, left, and Miss France 2011 Mathilde Florin. France's Senate voted Tuesday night, Sept. 17, 2013, to ban beauty pageants for children under 16, in an effort to protect children � especially girls � from being sexualized too early. Anyone who enters a child into such a contest would face up to two years in prison and 30,000 euros in fines, according to the measure. (AP Photo/Mini Miss Committee) FRANCE OUT

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Fanned by fears that their sex-obsessed society is producing “hypersexual” young girls, the French Senate has voted to ban entering a child under age 16 into a beauty pageant.

The measure next goes to the National Assembly for further debate.

The French Senate’s vote was widely seen there as anti-American. Child beauty pageants have been the stuff of a major U.S. movie — “Little Miss Sunshine” — and reality TV shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Toddlers & Tiaras.”

Video clips of pageant performances by 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey went viral worldwide immediately after her 1996 murder in Boulder, Colo. But crossing the line on child sexuality has long been a controversy for both countries.

French film director Louis Malle produced the American-underwritten 1978 film “Pretty Baby,” which detailed the life of a New Orleans child prostitute played by 12-year-old actress Brooke Shields, who appeared nude in the film.

The most common reaction this week by Americans who’ve posted comments on Twitter and on blogs about the proposed ban on child beauty pageants has been to tell French lawmakers: “Merci.”

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