Beauty Pageants

Topics: Beauty contest, Child beauty pageant, Miss Universe Pages: 6 (1942 words) Published: June 5, 2013
Child Beauty Pageant Controversy

Michaela Phonkhoumphon
US History

Entering young girls in beauty pageants is detrimental to their well-being because they exploit their participants and can lead to mental and health issues.

I. Introduction
II. Parents of Pageant Contestants
a. Morality
b. Costs
c. Participant’s ability to speak for themselves d. Stress on participants
III. Health Risks
a. Hairspray
b. High heels
c. Spray tans
d. Eating disorders
IV.Mental Health Risks
a. Insecurity
b. Future emotional problems
V. Sexualization
a. Inappropriate portrayal
b. Safety risks

Beauty pageants may be full of perfect, white smiles, however many do not take the time to acknowledge the reality of these contests. People fail to realize the negative effects they have on their participants. These girls prance around a stage while they are judged on their appearance and allure, clearly making it evident that these contests revolve around vanity. The competitions basically breed narcissism. Their young, naive minds are adulterated with the idea that appearance is the only option that brings success and fortune. They are lead to believe that being pretty makes them ultimately superior to others. This easily proves pageants to be precarious and unhealthy environments for young minds.

Beauty pageants are not what they used to be. They used to be about natural beauty and even morals and had a lot less of a competitive edge. Nowadays, the contests are based on who can pile on the most makeup and who has the best tan. These children are progressively being dragged into this world of hair extensions, fake teeth, and spray on tans. Girls become dependent on their appearance rather than knowledge or morals. Pageant parents are more concerned with their child getting a trophy rather than getting good test scores. The girls spend so much time on these pageants, leaving barely any room for education. Instead of spending tremendous amounts of money on their wardrobe, makeup, hair, accessories, trainers, and participation fees, they should be saving for their child’s college education. The parent of the contestant is also heavily involved in financing and arranging the child's pageant career. Basic entry fees vary from $50 to $500. They also charge for competing in separate categories, such as talent, gowns, casual wear, etc. The costs of dresses for the pageants can range from $1,500 to $12,000 (Nussbaum). Parents also pay large amounts of money for “flippers”, devices used to insert fake teeth into a child’s mouth to compensate for missing baby teeth. These devices run at about $150. Promotional photos, coaches, dance and vocal lessons, and travel expenses all charge high amounts of money. Parents also pay for rhinestones, professional hair and makeup, spray tans, fake nails, etc. These outrageous prices can easily blow out an average family’s budget. Many contestants cannot even make decisions for themselves, so they do not originally choose to participate in the first place. These children are “too young to say no”. Many pageant children feel obligated against their will to participate in the pageants just because they fear disappointing their parent. Pageants risk "the exploitation or potential exploitation of very young children who really do not have the capacity to express their own views" (Sun, 2012). Parents also pressure children to win just to project their own ambitions on the child. A child psychologist, Dr. Robert Reiner (2006) states "very pushy parents who for a variety of reasons, didn't get what they wanted when they were children." These pageants also greatly hinder the self confidence of its participants and take away their chance of a...

Cited: "Beauty Pageant Statistics." Statistic Brain. Web. 04 June 2012. .
Eubanks, Andrea. "The Collegian." Online: Youth Beauty Pageants: Beautiful Children, Ugly Parents. The Collegian. Web. 04 June 2012. .
Grosaru, Lucia. "Toddlers and Children Beauty Pageants – Risk Factors for Severe Psychological Turmoils."Psychology Corner. 8 June 2011. Web. .
Henson, Melissa. " 'Toddlers and Tiaras ' and Sexualizing 3-year-olds." CNN Opinion. 13 Sept. 2011. Web. .
Nussbaum, Kareen. "Children and Beauty Pageants." Children and Beauty Pageants. Web. 04 June 2012. .
Shanley, Laura. "JonBenet Ramsey 's Beauty Pageant." Orato. Orato Media, 12 Aug. 2008. Web. 04 June 2012. .
Stork, Travis. "Child Pageant Dangers." The Doctor. CBS. WCBS. Television.
Sun, Matt JH. "Children Beauty Pageants in Firing Line - Ban Tot 'terror '" DailyTelegraph. 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 June 2012. .
Wonderlich, Anna, Diann Ackard, Judith Henderson. “Childhood Beauty Pageant Contestants: Associations with Adult Disordered Eating and Mental Health.” Eating Disorders 13 (2005) : 291-301
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