25 May 2012
Does competing in beauty pageants adversely affect a child’s development? Pageants are a way of forcing a child to act as an adult – smearing make-up on a child and making her dress up like an adults to “supposedly” build confidence but instead giving that child the wrong message. They are basically beginning to lose their childhood. Overtime, children get very competitive and at that point in their minds all they think about is winning, not about the true purpose of a beauty pageant. Beauty pageants have a negative influence on young children. A child’s life is supposed to revolve around academics and their social life in school, not about competing in back to back to back pageants. It is too much stress for a child to bare. Then later on, a child will acquire negative attitudes and inappropriate behavior. “Elementary school children are not aware of themselves as sexual beings”, say Rebecca A. Eder, Ann Digirolamo, and Suzanne Thompson. A child is not suppose to begin to describe themselves in that way or manner, but unfortunately this is what beauty pageants do to young little girls – develop a child too quickly. “In addition, they have experiences that are abnormal for their developmental stage. A 6-year-old beauty queen is put at risk for problems in most major areas of development: cognitive development, peer relationships, adult relationships and self-concept.” A young girl would not have time for friends because they will be too busy to acquire any. Having friends is an important part of a child’s life because they help promote a child’s sense of adventure so they can be open to trying out new things.
Make-up, acrylic nails, spray tans, false lashes, small dresses, heels. What? Is this what a mere child must face at such a young age? This is just destroying a child’s mental health. “At best, such pageants put little girls at risk for delays in most major areas of development”, says Rebecca A. Eder. Children do not have that state of mind yet -- the mentality to just focus on winning all the time and they are the being pushed into thinking that way but not purposely. After a beauty pageant is over and the child has not received any awards, she then begins to feel a sense of failure and feel unworthy about herself. This child clearly has been taught the wrong meaning of pageants and this will bring in all the stress and anxiety a child is not even capable of handling. “One of the reasons why so many girls lack self-esteem is that we live in a culture that values women for how they look more than what they can do.” Children will grow up believing that life is mainly about physical appeal. “A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood” -- Rachel Carson. Are beauty pageants really one of the first few things a child should be participating in during their first childhood years? I child should be outside playing with their friends, exploring the world all on their own and learning from mistakes. These are a child’s first steps; this is what makes them grow into a dependent young teen or adult. Parents are the ones who push their child into competing in pageants; this is where a child’s ability to think on their own is diminished. As many know, there are different categories in a beauty pageant a child may come under. Most of the time a child is placed in a certain category by the sponsors of the pageants and in other cases a parent is able to place their child in any category they please. Should 4-year-olds be beauty queens? This position is giving a child too much power and, of course, this child does not know how to handle that. This child may not even completely understand the importance and meaning of the title, so what’s the point? Besides the fact the pageants do indeed boost...
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