Child Beauty Pageants
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. The year was 1920. The First World War ended and the women’s movement began to take off. 1920 also marked the first year of the American beauty pageant. This was a groundbreaking year, as women from all over the United States were given the opportunity to show their talent, outer beauty and inner intelligence. Little did our country know that 40 years later, children as young as 10 months old would be competing in beauty pageants? 1960 marked the first child beauty pageant in America and started a major American trend. Since the tragic death of Jon Benet Ramsey in 1996, child beauty pageants have been a hot topic of debate. Ramsey’s death opened a new door to the skepticism of beauty pageants by allowing the media into the world of child beauty pageants through more curious eyes. These eyes began to see beauty pageants as a threat to children and their safety; being exposed to the world at such a young age with a made-up face of inappropriate maturity. Destruction of the child’s self esteem and constant attentiveness to appearance are major cons that continue to grow. Cons of unremarkable expenses, loss of educational interest and loss of innocence also remain, strengthening the fact that beauty pageants are harmful to children who compete in them. A child’s self-esteem is a fragile element. Advocates for child pageants believe beauty pageants boost children’s self-esteem by the attention they receive for being dolled up, dancing and singing and winning awards for placing higher than the other children. But as fast as self-esteem can be built up by a sentence of praise or a trophy, it can be just as easily shut down by not being good enough for someone else.
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