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Feminist group suing Miss France for sexist contest requirements

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Contestants perform on stage during the Miss France 2021 beauty contest at the Puy-du-Fou, Les Epesses, France, on December 19 last year. AFP

Feminist group suing Miss France for sexist contest requirements

A leading feminist organisation in France said on Monday it was suing the promoters of the Miss France beauty contest in a labour court, alleging they used discriminatory criteria to select participants.

The “Osez le feminisme” (Dare to be a Feminist) group, along with three failed contestants, said they were targeting the Miss France company as well as Endemol Production, which makes the annual TV programme screened on the TF1 channel.

The plaintiffs argue that the companies are breaking French labour law with discriminatory selection criteria by obliging aspiring beauty queens to be more than 1.70m tall, single, and “representative of beauty”.

The French labour code forbids companies from discriminating on the basis of “morals, age, family status or physical appearance,” said Violaine De Filippis-Abate, a lawyer for Osez le feminisme.

The case, filed at a labour court in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, will hinge on whether magistrates recognise Miss France contestants as de facto employees of the organisers and TV company.

Contestants do not sign an employment contract, but the plaintiffs point to a supportive judgement in 2013 when a former contestant on Mister France also sued for similar reasons.

The Miss France company declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

The next contest is set to take place in Caen in northern France on December 11.

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