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In defence of Miss France Beauty isn't always diverse

Not Eddie Izzard. (ARNAUD FINISTRE/AFP via Getty Images)

Not Eddie Izzard. (ARNAUD FINISTRE/AFP via Getty Images)


December 20, 2023   5 mins

It seems that things are going to the dogs across the Channel. It’s not just that the French birth rate, educational standards, and the homegrown car industry are all in decline; nor even that the homicide rate, Americanisms, and fast-food outlets are surging. It’s even worse than that: a short-haired, flat-chested woman was just crowned Miss France. Though the public vote in Saturday’s televised final went to two more generously appointed and traditionally becoiffed contestants, in a shock move, the all-female judging panel ranked a pixie-cutted maths graduate called Eve Gilles — otherwise known as Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais — above both of them.

The decision has apparently caused outrage in some of the show’s seven million viewers, who are complaining that the event has succumbed to le wokisme. The timing of the decision seemed to some particularly suspicious, arriving only a fortnight after the programme’s production company was ordered to pay two former competitors compensation for showing hidden camera images of their unclothed breasts — almost as if those in charge wished subliminally to convey to viewers that, in terms of bosom-related content at least, there was now quite literally nothing to see here. Whether or not this was a real factor in the decision, it’s certainly true that Gilles’s look has been claimed as a win for “diversity”, which is probably quite irritating for the two Afro-Caribbean women she beat to first place.

Gilles’s victory follows earlier relaxations of traditional Miss France etiquette, each of them controversial in their own right. First came a change in the eligibility rules in 2019, allowing biological males to enter if they were legally female. Then last year, apparently even more radically for stalwarts, the event was opened up for the first time to females who had given birth, got married, were over the age of 24, and who had tattoos or body piercings. In what she claimed was a historic milestone at the time, a mother of a toddler won the regional heat Miss Alpes-du-Sud in March, causing another delegate to declare that this was “going to cause a stir, because there have already been young married women or young women a little older than 24, but a mum is a really big leap”.

Arguably though, with the exception of the edict about tattoos and piercings, these rule changes were not particularly threatening to the status quo. In practice, for a while it seemed as if they would make no difference to the sempiternal formula for a Miss France winner: voluminous hair, big teeth, an hourglass figure, and eyes sufficiently wide apart that you look ever-so-slightly like a startled faun. Indeed, up until this week, it seemed that whether you were virginal, married, a mother of 12, or indeed biologically male, in reality you could only get somewhere in the pageant by fitting this exact physical template. But then came Gilles and the old certainties collapsed. In French beauty competitions, it turns out that cosmetic changes are the most revolutionary.

Interviewed after her win, Gilles said she had deliberately chosen an “androgynous, more masculine look with short hair” in order to “talk about the body shaming we have to put up with every day. We all have our imperfections.” At first glance, that short hair on a woman could count as “masculine” and a flat chest as “imperfect” might seem a sign only of how ridiculously tightly the French conception of femininity is always gathered. But then you remember that this is also the country that gave us the concept of a gamine, and the iconic image of Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) — in other words, hardly a culture unappreciative of female tomboyishness. Indeed, France also gave us the concept of the jolie laide, and has presented for our delectation such fabulously elegant examples as Simone Signoret, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Camille Cottin. In short, though no one could pretend the visual norms operative on French womanhood are particularly relaxed, it would still be an exaggeration to suggest that every woman there is expected to look like an old-fashioned Fifties beauty queen.

On second thoughts, then, it seems that this controversy is less a dispute about whether general beauty standards for women should be more “diverse”, and more like an argument between Crufts’ judges about whether a spaniel’s ears should be well-feathered or not — which is to say, a highly technical discussion, and not of much relevance to the rest of us. Essentially, people are fighting about the appropriate aesthetic standards for beauty queens — a specialised genre all of its own — and not about standards for women generally. What looks perfectly normal and even wildly attractive in any other woman might still make a beauty queen look fearsomely “masculine” and so allegedly imperfect to contest aficionados. These things are always somewhat relative.

And yet, one might wonder why, as in the case of Miss France but also others, so many of the beauty industry’s attempts to display the values of  diversity and inclusion end up seeming half-baked and easily mockable. In a nutshell, it’s because, being a visually-oriented business, true diversity and inclusion for the beauty industry would mean achieving this in the visual realm — and that is the one thing that those in charge cannot possibly let happen. Even the most ostentatious attempts of magazine editors to represent diverse skin tones and body shapes still betray cripplingly tight aesthetic restrictions. Thankfully, models can now differ in colour — and occasionally in size and physical ability too — but whatever the precise variables, they still all share the characteristic of looking perfectly proportionate. This elephant in the room explains the rising sense of hysteria that can emerge in ordinary mortals whenever a Vogue magazine editor starts to lecture readers about expanding “limited versions of womanhood”.

Of course, there are also those who insist society should reconstruct beauty norms much more radically in the name of genuine inclusion, so that — to put it frankly — even objectively ugly people start to count as literally beautiful. Arguably, this political project has been given a whole new burst of energy since transactivists started claiming literal womanhood for transwomen. Followers of this particular religion observe some implications of their foundational belief very strictly: if transwomen are women, they can be mothers, daughters, and lesbians too, or so it is continuously insisted. Other implications look less welcome though: for instance, that if transwomen are women then — at least in their natural and unadorned state — they are among the most unprepossessing women on the planet. Hence alongside the radical expansion of womanhood, standards of beauty suddenly have to be radically expanded too. Only yesterday, a commentator in The Independent was calling failed Labour candidate Eddie Izzard “a beautiful person, inside and out”, which surely stretches credibility in at least one direction.

But in this, as in so much else, would-be social reformers can easily lose touch with the limits of reality. Perhaps they are mistakenly thinking of the plasticity of sexual attraction, which, in contrast to perceptions of beauty, is clearly genuinely diverse and inclusive — for how else could we explain the rich panoply of fetishes and paraphilias, and the fact that there are men out there who actually think their horse or their car is giving them bedroom eyes? In contrast, perceptions of who the beautiful people are seem fairly stable across cultures — which is exactly what you would expect, given the hypothesis that being beautiful is a loose indicator of reproductive fitness.

That’s why pretending that Eddie Izzard is a beautiful woman is just about as stupid as pretending that Eve Gilles is not — in both cases, our eyes can tell the difference. Cutting the influence of beauty down to size in a society cannot be done by acting as if we get to make up the rules as we go along. And why should we even want to? Gazing at a truly beautiful face is a source of huge pleasure, and always will be. The beauty industry has many hideously immoral, exploitative, and frankly ridiculous aspects, but centring beautiful people is not in itself one of them.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
5 months ago

Eve looks fine to me.
The biggest surprise is that they still got 7 million viewers.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
5 months ago

Who is ‘they’?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The broadcaster who showed the contest??

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
5 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The broadcaster who got seven million viewers, as stated at the start of Kathleen’s second paragraph. I thought all-female beauty contests were so passé that nobody watched them anymore.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago

The only time I ever watched one was when my classmate’s big sister (two years older than us) became Miss Connecticut. She was a very exotic, natural beauty who, though of German ancestry, looked Polynesian.
When she appeared, she was unrecognizable: her long, straight, silk waterfall hair was curled into an unmovable puffed-out fright wig, her glorious cheekbones were slathered in grandma rogue, eyelids painted in a neon green and struggling under the weight of ridiculous Minnelli lashes, all made the worse by a skin tight sequined gown that would have made Dolly Parton look restrained. She looked like a drag queen twice her age. It was as if the pageant people hated her for her genuine beauty.
Beauty pageants are embarrassing any way you look at them. Anyone remember that rocket surgeon’s speech about “such as maps, such as”?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
5 months ago

What is a non-all-female beauty contest? I suppose body building competitions, but they have separate mens and women’s categories; and, at least so far, no ‘roid-powered men have chosen to ‘cross the floor’ (unlike in the related real sports of weightlifting and powerlifting). In any case, it seems that Ms France is open to males with the correct paperwork. Provided they aspire to work with children and hope for world peace, they should be fine.

Rob N
Rob N
5 months ago

They may be passé but they are still a lot more viewable than the ‘female and trans identifying male’ versions.
Sad that even France has gone that mad.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
4 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Duh!

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
5 months ago

Surely the discussion here isn’t about the unarguable beauty of the winner. However bizarre, 7 million French people watched and voted… and were overridden by the elite … again.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes because they cannot be trusted to think for themselves. Kathleen Stick is essentially a member of the elite even though she has endured the consequences of disagreeing with the elite mono-thought when the mono thought was no longer totally to her advantage.

Last edited 5 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

“Stick” was that a Freudian slip?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago

It definitely wasn’t intentional.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Then why didn’t you correct it if you wanted your comment to be taken seriously?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I didn’t correct the error because it had been commented upon. I don’t comment on Unherd to be taken seriously, I comment to explore and develop my ideas. Accordingly, I appreciate both positive and negative feedback though I rarely receive either. You have not suggested the female commentator who claims more than a handful is a waste, referring to breasts, would not be taken seriously. I suspect you just dislike my comments because you are a member of the herd and I am not.

Last edited 5 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
4 months ago

My feedback, for what it’s worth, is that I routinely hit ‘i’ when I reach for ‘o’ on the keyboard, since they’re so close together. I would have thought this a common mistake; but the fact that others are proposing more abstruse explanations for the slip suggests that maybe it’s just me.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I googled slang for stick as I didn’t know what it was. Apparently, it means dull or uninteresting, so maybe it was Freudian. I find Kathleen Stock’s writing disappointing. I know many readers are fans but I would like her to write something with real depth to demonstrate women are as capable as men. I used to feel badly about my negative response to many writers for Unherd and relieved when I could respond positively. I now just think I have extremely high standards (Charles Stanhope achieves the standard: he is learned). I accept the onus is on me to produce something which I would consider good and I am working on it. Occasionally, my comments contain shadows or strands of my ideas and they usually receive a response which indicates there a few who would be interested to read my writing. I have only ever expected a small audience. I was once told by a psychiatrist, what I consider to be intelligence, others consider to be genius. I silently disagreed as I don’t think genius is that widespread: Einstein was a 20th century genius as was Jung, Niels Bohr and Max Planck, two of the founding fathers of Quantum Theory: Their thinking is the future. If I had continued in my area of mathematics then there would only have been at most 20 people who would have read my work. I don’t expect a large audience. I have no interest in playing to the gallery but I am not paid to write so I don’t have to.

Last edited 5 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
4 months ago

Quality over quantity! 😉

S R
S R
4 months ago

This is Reddit-level idiocy. Or grade-A trolling. Can’t tell

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  S R

If you cannot disagree intelligently then you are the idiot.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

7 millions watched this ???
And I never was told I could waste an evening watching.
As to being overridden……..we are so used to it. Article 49.3 takes care of everything whenever the government of the day can’t pass a law.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Unarguable beauty? Well, I would disagree with that statement. The only unarguable aspect in this is that she’s a real Female…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Thank God. I dread the day when a transwoman may win. We’ve pandered to the farce long enough.

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton
5 months ago

I think Ève is darling. Also, generally and traditionally, French men prefer smaller breasts, apple-sized. The big boobs obsession is an Anglo-Saxon thing. The French are more attentive to the “chute des reins,” the small curve in the lower back or the beauty of the nape of the neck. Yes, really.
By the way, there’s no accent on her surname. It’s on the first letter of her given name, Ève, pronounced like the first syllable of the word ‘ever.’

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
5 months ago

Re breasts: “More than a handful’s wasted”

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Or as the Irish would say mere “bee stings”.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
5 months ago

After Vanessa Redgrave did a nude scene in Blow-Up, someone compared her figure to “two gingersnaps pinned to an ironing board.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Perky is perfect!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

As an Anglo-Saxon, i agree. One of the ugliest things a woman can do to herself is – for other than medical reasons, e.g. following breast surgery – to have her breasts artificially enhanced. This also stores up potential health issues in the future.

Apart from anything else, if she feels she needs her breasts enhanced to give her “more confidence” it’d say something about her that would be entirely unappealing, to me at least.

Last edited 5 months ago by Steve Murray
54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My children still laugh about a topless middle-aged Russian woman they saw on a beach in Spain when they were a lot younger. The huge veneer symmetry of her surgically enhanced breasts was so out of sorts with the rest of her otherwise aging body that it seemed almost impossible to look away.
No matter where you tried to look, they seemed to always be pointing straight at you. A bit like Mickey Mouse’s ears which always stay in the same forward-facing position regardless of which way Mickey turns his head.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It has occurred to me (no evidence, just a thought) that women display large breasts (or have them enhanced) in order to intimidate other women rather than to attract men.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Could well be right, in which case i’d find it very unappealing someone would feel the need to do that. What is truly pathetic though, is guys who encourage their partners to have their breasts enhanced.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Are there really a lot of guys who do that?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Absolutely not.!!

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

If women focussed their efforts on what men find attractive, their lives would be far simpler and less expensive. And men would be far happier.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As a woman, I would argue that it depends on the surgery and the woman’s body. I would be willing to bet a majority (as in over 50%) of singers and actresses have had some breast surgery and usually you can’t tell. Given the popularity of the procedure, we all probably work with and know many women who have had breast augmentation and we have no idea that they have had that done unless we have been told or unless the surgery is very obvious – enormous breasts disproportionate to the body.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

“You” usually cannot tell? I would then say that “you” are a poor observer or have a poor knowledge of the female body. In 99% of the cases it’s quite obvious that a surgical “enhancement” has taken place. It’s not merely a case of size, but also shape and the unnatural manner in which it defies gravity…

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago

Really? Push-up bras, layering of clothing… many different ways that the appearance of breasts can be changed through clothing or even make up.

Not every b**b job is an A cup going to an F, many are A to B or C to D or whatever. And many are on women who aren’t stick thin, so it isn’t as obvious.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

It sends me on a trip down uncanny valley. I recently saw a girl – previously young and pretty – who had very clearly had her lips done. I have to be honest, it really creeped me out. And some older women who’ve had a lot done to their faces look like extras from a horror movie. Seriously ladies – don’t do it!

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I think in most cases they don’t really do it for men, it’s more of an intra-female competition thing.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Gerry Quinn

I think so too. In fact I think that explains a lot of female behaviour. Rather than enforcing female behaviour in some way (the common feminist view) I think men are simply bemused by it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

There’s a documentary series on Hulu called Botched, that’s about the plastic surgery practice of two surgeons in LA who specialize in rectifying the botched cosmetic surgery of other surgeons. It’s mind-boggling to see what people, men and women, are willing to go through to achieve a dream, some realistic others not so much.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

Yes – in this matter French taste is genuinely more subtle. Yes to the nape of the neck too. Also big in Japan. I would suggest that cruder taste focusses very bluntly on primary and secondary sexual markers. More subtle taste less so.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Apparently, the Victorians and Edwardians knew about the sensitivity of the nape of the neck, so decent women were expected to always wear a high collar around their neck so they wouldn’t be easily seduced. It’s sad, indeed, that most men don’t seem to know how sensual a gentle touch on the neck can be. Sensuality has been trumped by sexuality like Trump’s brash advice to “grab them by the crotch” as the way to win.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

In that, as in much else, our culture is pretty dumbed down. Though we may only be talking about aristocratic V & E taste. I have to say that women themselves are a pretty mixed bag on the sensuality front.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

And who can have missed the way that many French film directors dwell on the female face, female mannerisms etc.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

But so did Sergio Leone, albeit in a slightly different context.

Cynthia W.
Cynthia W.
5 months ago

I like her hairdo.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Cynthia W.

Exactly. I’m so bored with seeing the long, wavy, bleached blonde hair with black roots, the middle parting, spider eye lashes, talon nails and big boobs. How women all want to look the same is beyond me. Short hair is so refreshing to see.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think you have described a trans woman.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
5 months ago

Pretty enough girl, but too skinny; in my opinion. I like small boobs but I do like a little meat elsewhere. The most attractive thing about any woman though, is her personality. My late wife was not what you would call particularly attractive physically (She would pass in a crowd. Her words) but, for me, was the most beautiful woman in the known world purely on personality. That, and the foolish woman loved me.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

You’re not the Mark Phillips by any chance?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Princess Anne isn’t dead and by any stretch of the imagination, she can’t be considered beautiful, poor girl.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Duplication.

Last edited 5 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Outstanding!

Trishia A
Trishia A
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Hair shouldn’t be an issue, she looks fully anorexic.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

She is well spoken – at least to my somewhat rusty ear for French. I think she is beautiful and I am genuinely perplexed over this ‘scandal.’ At least she is female – which is no longer guaranteed.

J Bryant
J Bryant
5 months ago

To me, Miss France looks like a tanned version of Twiggy, and she was the doyenne of elegant chic way back in the 60s.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

denz
denz
5 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“the all-female judging panel” – ou peut etre pas

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Exactly. And Twiggy has still got it.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
5 months ago

Eve probably cut her hair short because she expected her main competitor for the title to have a beard and balls.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

A very pretty girl and so, contrary to ethnic diversity quotas, it seems at the very last aesthetic justice was done.

Margaret Ford
Margaret Ford
5 months ago

Thanks again KS for pinning down the ultimate ridiculousness of stuff and explaining it lucidly.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
5 months ago

The winner looked absolutely ravishing with her pixie cut and is possibly the most beautiful thing ever to have come out of the dismal Calais/Pas-du-Nord.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s now called Hauts-de-France, and the most beautiful thing there is undoubtedly Amiens Cathedral.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
5 months ago

Having reached the age where the John Lewis kitchen department now holds more interest for me than the Ann Summers shop, I kind of see where you’re coming from.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I do like Kathleen Stock pointing out that a young woman who epitomises an ideal of beauty from classic French cinema has caused a stir by winning Miss France.
And I agree, she looks fantastic.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

She has a joi de vie that shines through.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s the Nord/Pas-de-Calais, but yes it is quite dismal. Although Cap Gris Nez is spectacular.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago

She’s a pretty woman, even without a figure or face that is strong on “traditional womanliness”. The politicization around this seems like kind of a farce, though it sounds like Eve Gilles has played into that herself. No great outrage has been committed against curviness or French standards of beauty. All women striking enough to walk under a bright spotlight in such a painted pageant will find plenty of admirers, unearned advantages, and often-unwanted attention too.
I think the greatest outrage is that no truly voluptuous women of any race have been able to win one of these things since about 1965. Just kidding, it is not a outrage at all, just my vote for curvy ladies who also have faces that draw one’s gaze upward, where it can more politely rest.
Perhaps some of us can next get upset about how grotesque the Mr. Universe contestants have looked, especially in the post-Schwarzenegger era.

54321
54321
5 months ago

“On second thoughts, then, it seems that this controversy is less a dispute about whether general beauty standards for women should be more “diverse”, and more like an argument between Crufts’ judges about whether a spaniel’s ears should be well-feathered or not”

This line just made me spit my coffee trying to suppress a laugh in a city centre McDonalds.

I’m getting looks now from the weird collection of people you get in these places this early in the morning.

🙂

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago

Now if Eddie Izzard had been crowned Miss France that would be a news story

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago

Exactly. He’s hardly French.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Ms France surely

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

He’s hardly female which should be a greater obstacle

Simon Martin
Simon Martin
5 months ago

It all seems to be a bit of a storm in a B cup to me

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon Martin

B cup? Barely an A, surely…

Last edited 5 months ago by Leonel SIlva Rocha
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago

As a guy, my first reaction to this picture was “Damn, she’s hot.” Really, all the women in these contests that reach the national level are in the top tenth of a percent in terms of beauty. Choosing one among them is an exercise in the picking of nits if ever there was one. If the judges thought picking this lady would send some sort of message about body positivity, is that really any more ridiculous or subjective than any of the other criteria for these contests?
I find it stunning that people are complaining about wokeness here when there are so many other really good examples to criticize that have far more importance than a beauty contest. Wokeness was getting out of hand, so perhaps the woke backlash is now getting out of hand as well. Someone should formulate some kind of theory of escalating disproportionate responses to explain this phenomenon.

Kasandra H
Kasandra H
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Ya the fuss does seem much ado about nothing and good for publicity too. Perhaps what is more mindboggling is that beauty pageants for females still get so much attention. Hard to imagine the same scale of beauty pageant for hetereo males. Historically, guys have long hair too. So it’s really up to the person or to the relationship who wants to have long hair who wants to have short hair or in whatever combination they discuss/decide. There’s better things to focus on. Like the author said, it seems like a specific pageant discussion, not relevant to the rest. I think Miss France is stunningly gorgeous though. X

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

At least an actual woman won a female beauty pageant. Who though that saying something out loud would have a place in discourse? The only thing tedious about it is the winner’s need to make some sort of social statement on her choice of hairstyle.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It’s not just about short hair. The whole point of Stock’s article is that Eve is small-breasted and broke the mold (so to speak) of what beauty queen winners are traditionally like.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes – she’s more like a model – ie a female ideal of thinness rather than a male. I believe the panel of judges was all female.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
5 months ago

I’ll be dropping out of here in a couple of days.

Thanks everyone, for the chat and discussions.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Why are you dropping out?

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

I’m considering it.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s gotten a bit repetitive. And I’m just not finding that I’m interested enough to click the links in the daily email now . . . kiss of death for anything web-based.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

I’ve appreciated your signature contributions, with their sometimes odd humor.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Yes – I’d like to see more opening up of thinking in the comments. Instead people just dig their heals in. We are not writing policy on here. Nobody’s opinions are going straight into party policy anywhere. But we could contribute to widening debate and discussion. Instead people down vote anything they don’t want to hear but can’t actually answer.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Hear hear!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Don’t forget to turn on and tune in first.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

A bonus cultural reference. Nice.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

For a break or permanently?
I do find myself coming here less and less, but my subscription just auto renewed, so I need to justify it.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
5 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Can you say “attention seeking”?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
5 months ago

Love short hair. Don’t like her short hair. Don’t give a fig about these ludicrous beauty competitions.

Trishia A
Trishia A
5 months ago

I think her hair is pretty, but honestly, she looks sick, she must be around 4% fat, which is bad for women’s health. “Miss” contests aren’t supposed to promote the same model of women as the catwalk industry. There’s no doubt this young woman “belongs” on catwalks, but a “Miss” contest, not so much.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
5 months ago

The worst aspect of this is the overriding of the public vote by the judges. If this happened on Strictly there would be fighting on the streets and nail bombs in the BBC.

Trishia A
Trishia A
5 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

50% public, 50% judges, that’s the rules

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I checked out the women who got second and third places. More attractive but Afro-Caribbean. Whether deliberately or not, an element of racism may have slipped into the judges decision. Also, the sex of the judges may have had an influence. Female standards of beauty ( for women) tend to be thinner than men’s.

Obviously all of them are very attractive women.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago

I don’t follow this kind of thing at all, but, er, what is the point of the all female judges panel here? Is it ‘beautiful’ as opposed to ‘hot’ and are the standards different in a visual sense? Were the judges lesbian? And, I have no idea, but would that make a difference to whether someone was regarded as beautiful?
You can certainly be sexy and hot without necessarily being beautiful, and I think that goes for women as much as men.

Trishia A
Trishia A
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Women judges resulted in ZERO change in beauty culture, yawn. Anorexia model.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Trishia A

She reflects a more female ideal of beauty – like a fashion model – which actually reflects the fact that the judges were female. At least the judges were not swayed by political correctness.

I find her a bit thin, but not anorexic. She looks like she could have been athletic in her look with a bit more muscle mass. I’m afraid a lot of French women look like they need a good meal. And they pick at their food rather than eat it.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
5 months ago

This seems one of the daftest squabbles of the year (and there are a few contenders for that competition). The lady is very pretty and I can’t imagine that many men (and women) would not be delighted to have her as a partner.
We don’t like using judgement. Every decision has to be made on the basis of some rules. Surely, if there are to be beauty pageants, the judges on the day just decide who they think is the prettiest; within certain boundaries, there is no way of ranking beauty. It’s become the same at work; if firms want to hire someone, they seem to have to jump through all sorts of hoops in a pretence that we have a systematic way of selecting candidates. In reality, we can just hope that those making decisions have integrity and are open minded.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
5 months ago

Surely beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
5 months ago

Each to their own and all that but she’s so thin! Whatever happened to ‘buxom’?

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

What happened to ‘buxom’ is this: its original meaning was ‘lively’, or ‘vivacious’, but because it has only a one letter difference from ‘bosom’, it has become confused with ‘big breasted.’ And so it now remains.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Actually, a two letter difference but nice try on a theory.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
5 months ago

Oh please, she’s a drop-dead gorgeous, hopelessly thin woman who happens to have short hair. This is hardly some huge departure from the norm. She’s a model.

Last edited 5 months ago by Samantha Stevens
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

True, but she’s not modeling she’s in a beauty pageant that’s the difference. There’s a standard look for beauty pageant contestants and she doesn’t have it but won nevertheless.

jane baker
jane baker
5 months ago

I didn’t know a thing about this and I’ve only seen this one picture of the Miss France winner.but she looks full of a vigorous and charismatic personality.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
5 months ago

Are beauty standards declared and enforced, or studied and described? In a sane society it is the latter. But nowadays, nothing can be left to the hoi polloi to determine for themselves, they have to be pummeled in the face by the educated crowd with the proper etiquette.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Is there such a thing as objectively ugly or objectively beautiful? Isn’t this a subjective thing? Also a cultural thing?
Thinness, I think, is more or less contemporaneous. Also, I also think that in some other cultures plumpness is most appreciated.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s appreciated in the Black culture. Black women are allowed to be fat white women aren’t. Voluptuous yes, though the last voluptuous, beautiful white woman was Anna Nicole Smith and that was many years ago. You can’t be too thin or too rich, rich women say. It’s a class thing.

Last edited 5 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Women are allowed to be fat in all cultures. But men do not always consider them attractive. There is no “Black culture”. That’s a piece of “othering”. The cultures of black people vary enormously around the globe. Generally speaking men like fat women in situations of relative poverty, where thinness is a sign of being poor. A fat wife is a status symbol (as is a woman who does not have to work). Otherwise relative thinness is the preference.

If food is plentiful then thinness acts as a class marker and a sign of self control. sometimes to a degree that men will consider “too thin”.

In general black men in the US prefer larger women and are less tolerant of very thin women. This does not mean that they like overweight women, let alone women who are obese.

Last edited 5 months ago by David Morley
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

*It’s appreciated in the black culture. Black women are allowed to be fat White women aren’t.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
5 months ago

The first two sentences of the article says it all. Europe is in cultural and economic decline. Get rid of the European Union, cut ties with the USA and stop allowing the Neo-Cons to force you into wars and ruin your economy.

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
5 months ago

Always amusing to witness the French twisting themselves in knots. In my eyes the winner looks very attractive, albeit a similar observation that this straight male would make about the author of the article. In future years if it isn’t a bloke in a frock that is causing controversy it will be the inclusivity of the morbidly obese. At least the French don’t appear to have embraced the trout-lips look so commonplace in the UK amidst young women.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Dewhirst
Paul Darst
Paul Darst
5 months ago

“Gazing at a truly beautiful face is a source of huge pleasure, and always will be.” This line from Kathleen Stock resonated with me. In recent decades I have become conscious of this. Though I suppose I had always been affected in that way without being consciously aware of it. Seeing a beautiful actress in a movie (or, perhaps more rarely, a beautiful women in real life), especially when she is smiling . . . it’s very affecting. It calls to mind an old line here in the USA: “Beat me, hurt me, make me write bad checks.” The unwritten part that follows could be, “Just keep smiling at me out of that beautiful face.”

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul Darst

I married a beauty queen. The fourth time to divorce court expunged any such sentiments I might have been holding to.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

As Rod Stewart said about marriage:

“Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.”

Last edited 5 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
5 months ago

I seem to remember Henry Miller writing a chapter extolling a Greek gran of questionable objective pulchritude. Perhaps we should similarly take the high road when attempts are made to provoke us.
That is not to criticise the French lady who – I would agree with Kathleen – is undeniably attractive, albeit in the Audrey Hepburn mode.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
5 months ago

She looks fine to me. It’s too bad the yokels who voted can’t appreciate the benefit to the institution of appearing to share the correct definition of beauty. Note to the organizers. It’s probably better just to rig the vote. It’s a great tool. If the winner gets 100% of the vote, it sends the right message.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

I loved Eve’s look, it’s so refreshing to see short hair again, I hope it becomes a trend. I’m so bored with women all looking the same nowadays. I remember when Twiggy, with small breasts and short hair, was considered beautiful, which she was. I’m infuriated that transmen are allowed into women’s beauty pageants pretending to be women and expecting us to go along with the deceit.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
5 months ago

At least she was a woman.

Vic Dakin
Vic Dakin
5 months ago

This article is a load of pseudo-intellectual guff about nothing.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
4 months ago

I can’t see anything wrong with Ms. Gilles’ looks: she looks like a legitimate beauty contest candidate to me–even a potential winner–without any help from ‘le wokeisme.’ She’s in the mould of Audrey Hepburn, who to my knowledge was never considered an offense against aesthetics. I claim no expertise in the history of beauty contests, and am in no position to contest the accuracy of the restrictive judging criteria mentioned in the article. Whatever’s at the root of these criteria, though, they clearly have little to do with beauty, which has always accommodated diversity. If you Googled a list of the world’s most beautiful actresses, for example, the range of appearances in your search solution set would confirm just how elastic the concept of beauty is. My guess is that Ms. Gilles probably turns her fair share of heads when she walks down the street.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mark Kennedy
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
5 months ago

Rubensesque is not a compliment in my book.

Waffles
Waffles
5 months ago

“showing hidden camera images” A very disappointing link.

William Simonds
William Simonds
5 months ago

The timing of the decision seemed to some particularly suspicious, arriving only a fortnight after the programme’s production company was ordered to pay two former competitors compensation for showing hidden camera images of their unclothed breasts — almost as if those in charge wished subliminally to convey to viewers that, in terms of bosom-related content at least, there was now quite literally nothing to see here.

I did not need to read any further than this. Thank you, Ms. Stock. Brilliant.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago

Short hair on a woman is very sexy. Just think of Jean Seberg in À bout de souffle.

John Pade
John Pade
5 months ago

On the positive side, she is approachable. I’ve dated women as pretty as her and prettier, which I could never claim about conventional Miss Anything winners.
Maybe defenders of the ordinary will be able to spin this attribute into something worth having, even a paradigm of some sort.

Tom K
Tom K
4 months ago

I think the lassie looks fantastic.

Richard Brown
Richard Brown
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

So do I. Unfortunately I am over 60 so probably not polically correct to say so.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
4 months ago

For once this is political incorrectness gone mad.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
4 months ago

‘there was now quite literally nothing to see here’
Naughty. And very funny.

Fabio Paolo Barbieri
Fabio Paolo Barbieri
4 months ago

“Gazing at a truly beautiful face is a source of huge pleasure, and always will be” Absolutely. As in the case of my Brazilian friend Adele, a transsexual who made so beautiful a woman. even pre-op, that I never guessed at her identity till she herself told me. In secret. (And I never stopped thinking of her as female, as my use of pronouns shows.) I’m afraid that the stereotype of the mannish, square-built, over-made-up tranny, like all stereotypes, can let you down. I agree with much of Ms.Stock says, but absolute, over-simple assumptions, with no space for variation or doubt, always make an ASS of U and ME. Well, not me, at least, as long as I can help it.