On Monday, the newspaper Le Monde revealed that an action at the Prud’hommes against Miss France was brought by the association Osez le feminisme !, accompanied by three women explaining that they could not participate in the beauty contest. The association does not hide its objective: to fight against this century-old competition which, according to it, has “a negative and retrograde impact on the whole of society“. What are the charges against the Miss France contest, two months before the 2022 edition?
An application that would be likened to an employment contract
For Osez le feminisme !, the relationship of the candidates with the organizers of the Miss France pageant, which are the company Miss France and Endemol Production, is similar to a relationship between an employee and his employer. In 2013, a judgment of the Court of Cassation had also established for the male contest Mister France the employment relationship. The applicants consider that Endemol “uses women to produce an extremely lucrative audiovisual program while flouting labor rights“.
Discrimination in hiring?
The Labor Code prohibits any criterion related to “morals, age, family status or physical appearance” in a recruitment, explains the lawyer of Osez le feminisme !, Violaine de Filippis-Abate. However, controversial clauses, such as the minimum height of 1.70m, are formulated in the registration form for the Miss election. There are also questions like “Do you wear extensions / weaves? If so, do you agree to take them off?” ; “If you smoke, is it a problem for you not to smoke in public?“
The three applicants who are supporting the Dare Feminism process thus explain that they “were forced to give up” the competition because they “smoke in public”, are not tall enough or have posed naked. For the association’s lawyer, these requirements formulated in a real job offer would make it illegal.
The rules of the Miss election also indicate as a criterion for participation in the election, the fact of “not having been married or in a civil partnership, not having had or having children“.
Candidates must also agree to several obligations. “Not to wear any piercing or visible tattoos”, “to keep the same physical appearance in front of the public and / or the jury making the choice of the election with regard to the initial appearance shown on the day of the State pageant (cut and hair color, silhouette, etc) “,” not to smoke during public performances, nor to consume alcoholic beverages in public, not to consume illicit substances “… These constraints are formulated in the Charter of ethics of elections in region for the national Miss France pageant. It also includes the fact of “not behaving contrary to good morals, public order and / or the spirit of the competition based in particular on ethical values such as elegance“. If these obligations are not respected, the candidate risks disqualification.
The applicants want these clauses to be deleted from the regulation. “We are taking legal action so that the principles of law apply to the program Miss France which still today asks its ‘cabaret leaders’ to be single, not to drink or smoke in public and not to to be ironic “, indicated on Twitter Osez le feminisme !, before concluding:” Justice will have to rule on this program from another age where it is presented to the whole of France a group of women to judge, scrutinize, to note, to classify in an uninhibited sexism. “
“A feminist program” defends the company Miss France
In an interview with Le Parisien on Sunday, before the announcement of the action at the Prud’hommes, the new president of the company Miss France, Alexia Laroche-Joubert affirms that Miss France is “a feminist program” by giving “the opportunity to women from all walks of life, from all regions of France to experience incredible things ”. She also castigates feminist critics against swimsuit shows. “We should cover women who choose to parade in swimsuits? Are we going to tell Beyoncé that she is not a feminist under the pretext that she is in a swimsuit in her clips?” she saif. However, she admits having had “a problem in previous editions: we were too much in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show and models” and have “rebalanced” the pageant. “In the show from now on, we will see more of the participants telling each other, explaining their motivations to understand what they want to do with it.“
Asked by Le Monde Monday morning, after the announcement of the referral, the company Miss France did not wish to communicate on the subject.