France moves to ban child beauty contests

This is one of those instances in which I fully appreciate and agree with the sentiments behind a law, while believing that it is the wrong way to go.

France’s upper house of parliament has voted to outlaw beauty contests for girls under 16 years old under threat of prison sentences and fines in an attempt to halt the “hypersexualisation” of youngsters.

The Sénat voted for the proposal on Wednesday after Chantal Jouanno, a former sports minister under the right-of-centre president Nicolas Sarkozy, introduced the ban as part of a bill on gender equality.

“Don’t let us allow our girls to believe from an early age that their only value is their looks,” Jouanno told senators. “Don’t let us allow commercial interests to outweigh social interests.

Doing everything we can on a societal level to discourage the sexualization of the very young? Absolutely. Banning child pornography? Of course. But criminalizing beauty contests for children? As disturbing as I find such contests, I have to say no.

Update: The horror. Depressingly enough, TLC was originally The Learning Channel and featured instructional and educational programs.