Eve Gilles attends Salon Du Chocolat 2023

The Year Is 2023, and a Pixie Haircut Is Prompting Backlash

It’s almost 2024, yet we’re reminded of how little progress we have made as Miss France winner Eve Gilles faces backlash because of her pixie haircut.

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Gilles was recently crowned Miss France 2024, and the odd reactions to her hair reiterate why reform in the beauty pageant industry has been so slow. For years, beauty pageants have promoted harmful beauty standards and encouraged the objectification of women. Meanwhile, a number of rules throughout the years have embraced countless sexist ideals.

Up until this year, Miss USA and Miss Universe barred women over 28, as well as mothers and married women, from participating in the competition. Rule changes have come far too late and don’t mean much when there are additional issues of transgender women being banned from competitions and a significant lack of body diversity.

Of course, the persistent archaic rules and norms in beauty pageants are hardly surprising when we witness how society at large reacts anytime a woman who doesn’t meet their narrow and sexist idea of womanhood wins the competition.

People are mad that Miss France has a pixie cut

Eve Gilles attends Salon Du Chocolat 2023
(Foc Kan/Getty)

Gilles is believed to be the first woman with short hair to be crowned Miss France in the competition’s history. That fact alone should be pretty embarrassing for the competition to acknowledge. The first Miss France was held in 1920, and in all that time, not one woman with short hair won the title? It reminds us that there are likely many similar unspoken rules that are just as ridiculous as the formal rules in beauty pageants. However, instead of scoffing at how bizarre it is that a short-haired woman has never won the competition before, the tabloids and social media users took offense at Gilles’ win.

Media outlets like The Week and The Telegraph posted headlines about how Miss France’s “androgynous” winner with the “woke haircut” is stirring controversy. Social media users quickly started bemoaning how the competition has gone “woke” and labeled her win an inclusivity gesture. There were also more disturbing comments speculating on her sexual orientation and gender identity while calling her win “woke propaganda.”

The backlash got so bad that Gilles was forced to respond, telling The Independent, “We’re used to seeing beautiful Misses with long hair, but I chose an androgynous look with short hair. No one should dictate who you are. Every woman is different; we’re all unique.”

It’s bizarre that anyone could be so bothered by a woman having a pixie cut. However, in a world where people are so terrified of the smallest hint of progress, inclusivity, and equality, these are the kinds of things women have to put up with. One has to ask, what exactly is so “woke” about having short hair? It seems like it’s the fact that Gilles exercised the tiniest bit of bodily autonomy by choosing her haircut that is being considered “woke.” How dare a woman look as she wants to look instead of exactly how society wants her to look?

As a woman who went from having hair down to my waist to having a pixie cut and then back to having long hair, I can assure everyone that women usually don’t cut their hair with the intention of becoming “woke propaganda.” Usually, it’s because we like how we look with short hair, or maybe we’re tired of tangles and going broke on expensive hair products. There’s also something oddly satisfying about being impulsive and cutting off all your hair occasionally. It certainly never crossed my mind when I got a pixie cut that grown men might be frightened and threatened by it.

It’s (nearly) 2024. A pixie cut is just a pixie cut. Women shouldn’t have to explain why they have short hair or be accused of making some kind of statement. It should be wholly normal for a woman to make choices about her own appearance, and it’s deeply disturbing that it’s not.

(featured image: Foc Kan/Getty)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.