Paris, France: 20-year-old Eve Gilles emerged victorious in the Miss France 2024 competition, challenging conventional norms with her androgynous look featuring cropped short hair.
Gilles, hailing from a village near Dunkirk in northern France, secured the coveted title in front of 5,000 pageant enthusiasts in Dijon on Saturday night.
As the sole contestant with short hair, she boldly declared, “No one should dictate who you are,” emphasizing the importance of embracing individual uniqueness.
Gilles’s triumph was met with a mix of enthusiasm and criticism, with many celebrating her win as a step towards diversifying beauty standards.
She stated about her distinctive choice, “We’re used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair.”
Gilles emphasized that every woman is unique, challenging the conventional notion of beauty prevalent in pageantry.
The competition’s scoring system comprised half determined by viewers and the other half by a jury of seven women.
Despite accusations of politicization, social media erupted with support for Gilles, with admirers dismissing criticisms as baseless.
One supporter on X exclaimed, “Maybe the new MissFrance isn’t gorgeous in your eyes, but seeing wokeism in her because she has short hair… It’s just ridiculous.”
Another user on X defended Gilles, stating, “Eve Gilles is the new Miss France 2024; your malicious and useless criticisms won’t change that; she’s sublime.”
The overwhelmingly positive response underscored the changing perceptions of beauty and the acceptance of diverse representations within the pageant arena.
Gilles’s triumph follows a recent court ruling that ordered a French broadcaster and television production house to compensate two former Miss France finalists for the unauthorized filming and broadcasting of their bare breasts.
The court found that both women had been filmed in changing rooms without their knowledge, highlighting the challenges and controversies surrounding beauty pageants.
Alexia Laroche-Joubert, CEO of Banijay France, the company that owns the Miss France brand, defended the pageant as a symbol of success and a social elevator for contestants who have gone on to become professionals in various fields.
Laroche-Joubert noted that the contest’s criteria have been modernized, eliminating age limits and allowing participation from married or transgender individuals.
However, critics argue that these changes are insufficient. Melinda Bizri of the Human Rights League in Dijon, which called for a boycott of the ceremony, criticized the cosmetic alterations as “feminist-washing.”
She argued that women have long conformed to unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by pageants. While the contest claims to have evolved, it still categorizes women based on traditional beauty criteria.
Violaine de Filippis is a spokesperson for Dare Feminism! Association echoed these sentiments, stating, “Miss France is still just as sexist in the way it classifies women according to beauty criteria.”
The debate over the role and relevance of beauty pageants in shaping societal perceptions of beauty and femininity continues, with Eve Gilles’s victory serving as a catalyst for conversations around breaking stereotypes and embracing diverse forms of beauty in the modern era.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members