Parliament in France has moved to ban child beauty pageants on the grounds that they promote the “hyper-sexualisation” of minors.
The Senate adopted the bill by 196 votes to 146 on Tuesday evening. It must now be passed by the National Assembly, before becoming law.
Organisers of such pageants may face a jail term of up to two years and a fine of 30,000 euros (£25,000; $40,000).
The measure was prompted by a row over a photo shoot in Vogue magazine.
The photos published in December 2010 showed a girl of 10 with two others, all three in heavy make-up and wearing tight dresses, high heels and expensive jewellery.
Vogue defended the pictures, saying they merely portrayed a common fantasy among young girls – to dress like their mother.
Parliament heard a report entitled Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight For Equality, which called for the ban on beauty competitions for the under-16s. It also recommended other measures, not included in the bill, including a ban on child-size adult clothing such as padded bras and high-heeled shoes.
“Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is only judged by their appearance,” said the author of the report, former Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno.