In October 2021, the courageous "Osez le féminisme" (Dare to be a Feminist) group and three former Miss France contestants took legal action against promoters of the contest in pursuit of fairness. Alleging violations of French labour law, they sought recognition for their hard work during participation - demonstrating no pageant is too big to take on.
The plaintiffs fought for a justice that beauty queens of all shapes, sizes and marital statuses should have an equal chance to strive for the crown. Challenging archaic rules seeking uniformity in height, relationship status and physical attractiveness was their aim – requirements they believed everyone deserved fairness on regardless of whether it satisfies outdated criteria or not.
Osez le féminisme expressed dismay after the labour court in Bobigny denied their appeal, deeming discriminatory and illegal recruitment practices as acceptable. This decision was viewed as an affront to gender equality efforts by many advocates.
The group said it would wait to see the arguments underpinning the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.
The Miss France Company and Endemol Production were delighted that their opinions had been heard, leading to a successful pageant.
Elisabeth Moreno, the gender equality minister in 2021, vocally challenged beauty pageants to update their rules and regulations that were deemed discriminatory by many. Her call for change led to a much-needed renewal of these competitions which had been rooted in outdated practices.
The latest pageant in December involved fewer eligibility requirements, which had also previously restricted entry to women between the ages of 18 and 24 without children.
Now, any woman over 18 years old of any height and child-bearing status can enter. And visible tattoos were allowed for the first time.
Transgender women who have female civil status records were also permitted to compete.