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France considers banning child beauty pageants

It's hard not to cringe seeing young girls trotted out in heavy mascara, shellacked hairdos and practicing looking sultry, as on the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras.

Child beauty pageants are creepy. Should they be outlawed?

According to MSNBC, a French senator is calling for a ban on beauty pageants for tykes and the sexualizing of young girls.

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In a parliamentary report, Chantal Jouanno wrote that dressing up children as "sexual candy" is "contrary to the dignity of the human being," and is a step backward for gender equality.

MSNBC says the senator is also seeking to prohibit advertising agencies from using child models under the age of 16, and to ban children's versions of adult attire, such as children's lingerie, padded bras and high-heeled shoes for girls.

The government report was written in response to the international outcry over Vogue Paris's provocative photo shoot of 10-year-old model Thylane Loubry Blondeau in heavy makeup, jewels and stiletto shoes, published a little more than a year ago. (Around the same time, a French company also sparked controversy by marketing lingerie for four- to 12-year-olds.)

In an article in Britain's Guardian newspaper, however, Vogue said young models were merely dressing up like their mothers. Thylane, whose mother is actress-turned-designer Veronica Loubry, began modelling when she was 5.

"The only thing that shocks me about the photo is that the necklace she is wearing is worth three million euros… my daughter isn't naked, let's not blow things out of proportion," Ms. Loubry reportedly wrote in a blog post about the controversial photos of her daughter.

The Guardian says the parliamentary report includes the assessment of researchers that the sexualization of children affects mostly girls and causes irreversible psychological damage.

Should pre-pubescent models and beauty pageants be banned?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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