The French Senate voted on Wednesday (Sept. 18) to put a ban on beauty pageants for young girls under the age of 16. The proposed ban is gaining attention in other countries as many individuals believe beauty pageants for girls under age 16 sends the wrong message. They feel it 'hypersexualizes' young girls through the use of cosmetics and improper attire.
However, the 'sexual' concern is not the only facet emerging in the debate. Encouraging young girls to focus on the 'sexy' appearances can promote an unhealthy self-image.
The practice of teaching young girls to focus on a beautiful appearance with sexual overtones is highly controversial. Young girls are vulnerable to negative self-images when they cannot attain the expected beautiful appearance required in a beauty pageant. The 'losers' may associate self-worth with superficial [outer] beauty leaving most with a devalued sense of self.
Additionally, the winners may also display a change in behavior.
One pageant mother stated her daughter benefited from participation in a beauty pageant. The daughter was so shy that she was not able to order for herself in a restaurant. After the pageant participations, the daughter now has confidence and speaks to young girls across the country about being bullied. The mother states the daughter was bullied because other girls were jealous of her beauty pageant success.
The perception the mother has regarding her daughter being bullied is questionable. There could be other factors as to why the daughter was bullied, not necessarily from the jealousy of beauty pageant success.
Many times, young girls change their behavior when they receive attention for their appearances. The daughter may have become more intolerable to her 'not-so-pretty' peers, which would subsequently encourage the bullying repercussions.
In other words, the daughter may have thought she was 'better' than her peers from the success of the beauty pageants and emitted that obnoxious behavior in the social settings. Thus, her peers would counteract with name-calling and avoid her presence, indicative of bullying behaviors.
The French Senate which proposed the ban is the upper house of Parliament. The measure will now go to lower house, the National Assembly for consideration. Many concerned individuals are anticipating the outcome.
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