Child Beauty Pageants

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Beauty Pageants: From the Title of Mini Supreme to America’s Next Top Model English 106
Cassie Robinson
3 Otober 2012

Abstract

Beauty pageants have changed drastically in the past fifty years. Beauty pageants used to be all adult females who dressed in their Sunday best and walked on the catwalk at the county fair. Now, little children are decked out in glitzy outfits, have wigs that make their hair twice as long, and have teeth to make it seem like their baby teeth haven’t fallen out yet. In this literature review, I reviewed different articles, some against child beauty pageants and some that showed a firsthand look into the beauty pageants. Based on the reviews, I have made a decision as to whether child beauty pageants are good for those involved or not.

Hundreds wait in silence as the announcer walks to the stage. “And the first place award goes to…” The pause is added for dramatic effect, as if these parents and children need any more drama in their lives. Hair is pulled, tears are shed, and crowns are won. This is just another typical weekend for those in the pageant world. The views of beauty pageants have drastically changed within the past decade. Some think pageants are used to exploit little children and are a way for mothers to live vicariously through their daughters who are winning crowns and money. Others believe they are just a more drastic way for their children to play dress up and win money while doing it. The six articles chosen for this literature review will discuss one side of the argument.

Something eye-catching in the article, “Toddlers in Tiaras,” written by Skip Hollandsworth in 2011 was the line, “And you know what I hate? All these years later, I’ve still got this anxiety about feeling like I have to be perfect” (Hollandsworth, 2011). This is how Brooke Breedwell feels about pageants now, after being a pageant queen from age three months to eight years old. After telling her mother she wanted to quit pageants and emphasizing it by throwing a curling iron at her, Breedwell finally gave up the lavish pageant life due to stress. Even as an eight year old, the stress was too much to handle. “The promise of a tiara has always been a fast, easy sell to young girls who pine to be princesses,” (Hollandsworth, 2011) which is something all girls and their mothers want. In order to win that crown, there are many time consuming tasks that must be done before the pageant. There are layers of makeup to be put on, eyebrows to be waxed, natural hair and fake wigs to be curled, fingernails to be manicured, bronzer to be applied to arms and legs, dresses to be sewn, and dances and routines to be learned. It is enough to stress any eight year old out. After all of this work and stress, it would be downright heartbreaking to find that someone else has beaten you for the title of Grand Supreme.

This article is different from the others I chose to include in my literature review in the sense that it discusses not only the stresses that pageant girls go through, but also some of the legal situations that have been brought about thanks to the pageant world. JonBenet Ramsey is a name that is famous all around the world. The six-year-old pageant beauty who would have gone on to be the next Marilyn Monroe who was found murdered in her home on Christmas morning. For a couple months afterwards, pageants seemed taboo, but then, even in the wake of JonBenet’s murder, pageants became even more famous. Little girls are being trained to dance provocatively and blow kisses at their judges from a young age and these videos end up online and even on TV. These videos are made to be public so others can see the awards and crowns the little girls win and anyone, including pedophiles, can access them. “On TV, the shows not only give the names of these children, but they also tell you what towns these little girls live in,” (Hollandsworth, 2011) which would give these pedophiles easy access to track down the little...
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