Child Beauty Pageants: Robbing Little Girls’ Innocence

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Child Beauty Pageants: Robbing Little Girls’ Innocence
There are over 5,000 child beauty pageants held annually across the United States with girls as young as two-years-old competing in them. Little girls strut across the stage with make-up painted on their tanned faces, hair teased into big and luscious curls, fake teeth, and a raunchy dance to complement it. There’s no doubt that the very young girls do not resemble their age when they are on stage and performing; they’re transformed into “sultry, Lolita-like waifs” (Giroux 270). Millions tune in and watch shows exploiting the children such as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Little Miss Perfect” where we see the little girls strive to be the best and prettiest. Parents should not enter their young daughters into beauty pageants that promote premature sexuality and a false image of what is beauty.

The world of beauty pageants was first introduced in 1921 with the Miss America Pageant. It became increasingly popular and by 1961, the first Little Miss America pageant was held in New Jersey. Originally, the young girls were between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but as the pageants grew, younger girls started entering. Today, there are more than 250,000 children who compete in pageants, 100,000 of those children being under the age of thirteen (By the Numbers). Many supporters of child beauty pageants are the parents of the contestants. They argue that beauty pageants increase their child’s confidence and teach them “skills such as going out in a crowd, not to be shy, and to be [themselves] while people are watching and focusing on [them]” (Cromie, paragraph 12), but participation in beauty pageants can easily cause the opposite effect on the girls.

Little beauty queens fall victim to what much of society considers “beautiful:” blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and a perfect smile. In a competition judged solely on appearance, contestants and their parents strive to be perfect for the judges. “My daughter...
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