Never Too Young to Be Beautiful?

Topics: Beauty contest, Childhood, Eating disorders Pages: 6 (2253 words) Published: December 6, 2011
Imagine a girl strutting across a stage in high heels, short skirt, and tank top. Makeup airbrushed onto her smooth, spray-tanned face, red lipstick, and cascading blond curls make her look like a Barbie doll. She starts dancing to risqué music in a promiscuous way. Would you believe that this girl is only two-years-old? Would you be shocked to know that she has been acting and dressing this way since she was a baby? Many young girls are subjected by their parents to act and dress this way to compete against other girls to win money and other prizes. These girls start in pageants at only a few days old and sometimes keep entering pageants into adult-hood. Others still are “retired” from pageants to pursue modeling at as young as six-years-old. It is widely accepted that materialism, vanity, and “skinny equals pretty” ideas go against moral codes. It is also universally accepted that children should be allowed to enjoy a care-free childhood full of fun and learning; not the pressure of winning a crown, money for their parents, and looking like a doll. The TLC reality show, “Toddlers & Tiaras,” is a good representation of why children’s beauty pageants are wrong because it shows that the pageants teach materialism and vanity, promote “skinny equals pretty,” and force girls to grow up too quickly which are all poor characteristics to enforce on young girls just for prizes and titles. Children’s beauty pageants are wrong because they teach materialism and vanity at an extremely early age. In season four of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” three-year-old Olivia showed just how materialistic and spoiled a pageant makes young girls. Not only does she smart off to her mother, Karey, without consequence frequently, but she is quoted in one episode for shouting, “I want the crown!” Karey told TLC that “Olivia has only been in four or five pageants, but now we better leave with a crown or she’s gonna have a meltdown.” Instead of punishing her child for that sort of behavior, Karey instead feels that she needs to give her everything that she wants in order to keep her from getting angry or aggressive. The point of a pageant is to win a shiny crown, money, and other prizes. Putting a young girl like Olivia through pageants that force competition for material items could only result in the spoiled attitude Karey receives from her daughter. According to some body image experts, these children that are subjected to the pageants will eventually become obsessed with their body image, making them more likely to develop eating disorders and desire plastic surgery. “‘You see a high rate of dissatisfaction with their looks when they are older,’ says Dr. Martina Cartwright, a psychologist and nutritionist who has worked with professional dancers. ‘There are unrealistic expectations to be perfect. They strive to be flawless, and they can take that too far’" (Triggs). While the general image of a beautiful girl is one who embraces her flaws and is beautiful because of them, the idea of beauty pageants is to make little girls perfect. Along with airbrush makeup, girls wear wigs and hair pieces from as young of an age as one year. Not only do they wear makeup, wigs, hair pieces, and get spray tans, but their parents buy things called “flippers.” Flippers are dental prosthetics that cover up gaps in teeth left by missing baby teeth (Hollandsworth). These things are teaching girls from an extremely young age that beauty is entirely external and that one is only beautiful when flawless. If there are flaws on a pageant girl’s body, she is taught to repair the flaws with surgery, faux teeth, and other vanities instead of recognizing her flaws and being proud of them. Learning this from a young age causes girls to grow up extremely self-conscious. “Skinny equals pretty” ideas are another basis of the immoral function children’s beauty pageants hold. They are the ideas of women who firmly believe that one must be size 0 to be beautiful. These ideas are...
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