Beauty pageant sued for 'selecting based on appearance'
In order to be considered for the pageant, hopefuls must be single, taller than 1.70 metres and considered to be 'representative of beauty'
Three former contestants are suing a French beauty pageant for discrimination, claiming that the contest only selects contestants based on their physical appearances.
The trio have joined up with French feminist group Osez le Feminisme in their legal action against the Miss France pageant and Endemol Production, the company that shows the pageant on television channel TF1.
Along with needing to be single and taller than 1.7 metres (5ft 6in), contestants must also have never married or had children. They must also not gain any weight during the competition and are not allowed to change their hairstyle.
They are forbidden from having any tattoos and the only piercing they are allowed is an ear piercing.
Plaintiffs have argued that Miss France and Endemol Production have in fact broken French labour laws through enforcing this allegedly discriminatory selection criteria, France 24 reports.
French labour law forbids companies from discriminating on the basis of "morals, age, family status or physical appearance," according to Violaine De Filippis-Abate, a lawyer for Osez le Feminisme.
But the outcome of the case will be dependant on whether magistrates recognise Miss France contestants as employees of the event organisers and TV company.
Although contestants don't sign an employment contract when participating, the plaintiffs hope a 2013 ruling along similar lines regarding a contestant in the pageant may help their case. The ruling appeared to support the claim that organisers can still be sued for discrimination regarding "morals, age, family status or physical appearance”.
In a tweet, the group said: "In the struggle against this outdated and sexist spectacle, which is the very incarnation of women as an object, we are attacking the Miss France programme in court to enforce labor law."
They encouraged followers to use the #PasTaMiss to fight against the TV programme.
En lutte depuis plusieurs années contre ce spectacle rétrograde et sexiste, incarnation même de la femme-objet, nous attaquons l'émission Miss France en justice pour faire appliquer le droit du travail !
Action : utilisez le #PasTaMiss pour lutter contre l'émission ! pic.twitter.com/adqSukAXmb
— Osez le féminisme ! (@osezlefeminisme) October 19, 2021
According to the Telegraph, the three plaintiffs, who have not been named, had all been excluded from recent contests for smoking in public, being too short and posing for nude pictures.
The show is hugely popular in France with the final national vote continuing to draw in millions of viewers every year.
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