“Miss France” dragged to court by a feminist association

“Dare Feminism” denounces in particular “discriminatory” recruitment conditions.

Are the recruitment conditions for the Miss France competition discriminatory? This is what the judges of the Bobigny industrial tribunal will have to decide on Friday, November 18, after having failed last June to reach a majority on the question.

The case began in October 2021, when the association “Osez le féminisme” brought legal action against the companies Miss France and Endemol, a French subsidiary of the French television group Banijay which is responsible for the production of the “Miss France”.

Today, “the objective is to put an end to all forms of unlawful discrimination in selection criteria” such as “height, having morals that conform to the standards of elegance or even having participated in photo shoots of an erotic nature“, explains to Figaro Me Violaine De Filippis-Abate, the association’s lawyer.

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The competition now open to mothers

According to the 2021 registration form for the Miss France 2022 National Election that Le Figaro was able to consult, candidates are expressly asked to “not be or have been married or in a civil partnership” and to “not having had or having children“.

Last December, during the election of Miss France 2022, the Minister for Equality between Women and Men Élisabeth Moreno had in this sense deplored to AFP “outdated rules (…) which can be discriminatory“. The Minister had notably said that she regretted that a “widowed woman or a woman who is already a mother cannot apply“. “Why couldn’t a Miss France be ironic, be a mom or pose topless to fight cancer?she wondered.

But, since this legal action brought by “Osez le féminisme”, Miss France would have changed its criteria, in particular concerning the obligation for the candidates not to have children, not to be or to have been married, or even having tattoos. From now on, candidates are no longer required to be single and can also be mothers. “That the participants are married does not, I think, prevent them from participating in a beauty contest“, had explained to the Figaro last June, the president of the Miss France society Alexia Laroche-Joubert.

Regarding mothers, it was the point that was the most complex for me and also the one on which the former Miss France were skeptical.“, she had however underlined, finally ensuring that she felt that participating in the competition and having children was “not inconsistent“. “On the other hand, I ask that those who present themselves be really informed and aware that a reign of Miss France requires a lot of travel in the regions“, she added, specifying always requiring that young women be over 18 years old and measure at least 1m70, “because they wear designer dresses and a minimum size is required“.

Decisions made at the national level but not necessarily applicable at the regional level. “The committees then adapt as they wish. Some keep the previous criteria, such as limiting the age from 18 to 24, while others follow us“, had slipped last summer at the Figaro the president of Miss France.

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Transgender candidates

A nuance that would pose a problem for the association “Osez le féminisme”, which demands that the abolition of these criteria be effective not only at the national level, but also at the regional level. “For the moment, the regions, which make a first selection, are very free on the criteria that they may or may not apply. This is a violation of labor law“says estimate Me De Filippis-Abate, congratulating himself for having pushed the Miss France organization to establish employment contracts for postulants.

Before our lawsuit, candidates worked for free. Only the one who became Miss France obtained a one-year fixed-term contract, the duration of her ‘reign’, with an executive salary», specifies the lawyer, insisting on the fact that «as soon as there is an employment contract, there is recruitment, which means that Miss France cannot therefore distribute discriminatory job offers“.

For their part, the organizers of the competition defend themselves against any discrimination and ensure on the contrary that the criteria tend to “adapt to the times“. This is evidenced by the appointment as first runner-up to Miss Paris 2022 of the transgender model Andréa Furet, who had undergone a transition but who was well registered in the civil status as “female“. According to the producer,from the moment the candidate has female civil status“, it poses no problem to compete, “his sex change and his administrative procedures belonging to his intimacy“.

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