Researched Position Paper
April 22, 2013
The Spark of a Glitzy Circus
Commonly, children beauty pageants are judged by the following: modeling sportswear and evening wear, how well they dance, and how much talent they possess. The children are judged by their looks, how well they perform, and how confident they appear. Mother’s prepare their children for long weekends of make-up, hairspray, and gowns, but what about the children? How will this prepare them for life? Why would any parent want their child to grow up any faster than they already do? Children are really thinking that they’re appearance is everything, while forgetting that true beauty comes from the heart and personality.
I, myself have encountered this problem by trying to be someone I am not, forgetting that God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and it is up to me to believe that I am princess regardless of what people may say. Parents are really teaching their kids that self-worth is measured by how pretty they are. However, this statement is not true because our outside appearance has nothing to do with our moral quality and character which make us unique. In researching about the history of pageantry, I found that beauty pageants are a huge influence in the perception of how people perceive and feel about themselves. Religion has been one of the greatest influences on beauty trends and beauty pageants (Lieberman, 2010). Beauty pageants can date from the early tenth century, to Twiggy a fashion icon and Tyra Banks a popular model. It is clear that beauty pageants has been a key role in determining whether big or skinny is considered to be ideally beautiful. I believe that all shapes and sizes are beautiful, but what really matters is what kind of heart a person has.
Child beauty pageants are portrayed to have a positive; perspective such as it builds self-confidence, social skills, and healthy competition, but is that just the parents? Mothers and critics that support child beauty pageants believe that these pageants provide a beneficial and safe environment for children to expose their talents and character. Supporters of beauty pageants believe that pageants are a form of healthy competition. For instance, if a child doesn’t win a pageant, children learn to refine their skills, and work harder to achieve success. Pageants obviously teach a child to get back up when they fall. Beauty pageants to parents are a harmless way to a prize, and to get money, if lucky. But the question is, what about the child? Apparently, the child has been excluded and cast aside, showing how beauty pageants are negative. Some people believe that beauty pageants produce negative ways to exploit children often consider as “kiddy porn.” The idea of porn being related to children they believe is absolutely absurd and it teaches that the only way to get money is through exploiting their bodies in front of sex-driven men (Feldhahn, 2009). Parents involved in these pushy competitions often live their lives through their children to accomplish wanted goals in life. Pageant parents base their child’s success as their own and don’t give them an option on whether they participate or not in these pageants. This form of act is similar to child labor laws. However, another way they believe beauty pageants exploit children is by causing depression, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction (Archard, 2005). I believe that beauty pageants can be a major setback to a child’s life and I am fighting on behalf of small innocent children stolen by fake plastic smiles, false eyelashes and a polished appearance. Television shows such as Dance Moms, Toddlers and Tiaras, and Honey Boo Boo are very influential in expressing exploitation in child beauty pageants (Aradilla, 2011). Beauty pageants are supposed to provide a fun environment, but instead it is, and is shown as a mockery and ridiculous “circus act.” With all of these tragic and controversial problems, there definitely needs to be a national outcry to protect our children. Through the pros and cons of beauty pageants there is the middle man who tends to be neutral in an argument like this. Child beauty pageants pros and cons depend largely on the parents. Believers state that there is lots of negativity that can be explained about beauty pageants, but they don’t believe that it is all evil. The positive aspects of child beauty pageants is that children explore talents, win scholarships, and gain confidence, but the downfall is that parents ruin the overall well-being of a child and it also creates the form of borderline child pornography exhibited by television shows and in reality. Although they believe that child beauty pageants are the source of the main problem concerning children, the parents have the most influence of the lives of these innocent children. To address the issue that beauty pageants are a form of exploitation, I could easily state that child pornography was around before beauty pageants had even started. Also, if beauty pageants are a form of exploitation, this issue would be more popular like abortion issues. By banning beauty pageants, there would be no benefit because people would still be concerned with their appearance regardless of whether beauty pageants are in existence. If beauty pageants aren’t a form of exploitation, supporters need to believe that girls and women are most likely are going to be naturally self-conscious of their physical experience. In addition, parents need to know that their children are not a product of auction and their children are far more worth the value of money. When parents become more concerned about the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of their children, instead of their outward appearance, that’s when the epidemic of self-image will be enhanced. It is not the responsibly for beauty pageants to create positive and negative self-images of children. It falls on the shoulders of the adults and the communities in which they live. The only way to enforce positive acceptance, is to accept children’s physical appearance and not dwell on their negative body image. We as an American culture, have a duty to teach our children about themselves and to also teach them how to embrace their individualities. Through downfall, turmoil, and celebration it is evident that beauty pageants are a significant part of American culture. I believe that beauty pageants are negative by all means, but by researching this issue I have a broader stand point of how pageantry has changed the lives of the past, present, and future girls all over the world. I look on the horror to see the way beauty pageants have turned out to be in society and I hope to draw awareness of this issue and inform pageant parents about the risk they are taking to enter their daughters, and sometimes sons into the glitzy circus of beauty pageants.
The spark of glitzy circus is the relationship between the child and the parent. I realize that I cannot blame anyone for my faults whether it means being fat or skinny. This beauty pageant war is clearly good versus evil and is hiding behind the truth to beauty pageants. We need to value on how we perceive true beauty is, how we value ourselves, and how we can impact the community through changing lives through acceptance of how beauty pageants in today’s society is overrated. First, we need to stop blaming a simple beauty pageant for the cause of a child’s life. For truly, it is the parent/adult’s responsibility that the children get the care that they deserve because it is about the children!
Achard, D., Henderson, J., & Wonderlich , A. (2005). Childhood beauty pageant contestants: Associations with adult disordered eating and mental health. 13(3), 291. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=17107849&site=eds-live
Aradillas, E., West, K., & Triggs, C. (2011). Toddlers & tiaras: Too much too soon?. 76(12), 160-168. Retrieved fromhttp://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db
Feldhahn, S., & Sarvady, A. (2009). Woman to woman: The merits of kiddie beauty pageants; do kiddie beauty pageants border on child abuse?. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=126F9B899811F108&site=eds-live
Lieberman, L. (2010). Protecting pageant princesses: A call for statutory regulation of child beauty pageants. 18(2), 739-777. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=126F9B899811F108&site=eds-live
Cited: Achard, D., Henderson, J., & Wonderlich , A. (2005). Childhood beauty pageant contestants: Associations with adult disordered eating and mental health. 13(3), 291. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=17107849&site=eds-live Aradillas, E., West, K., & Triggs, C. (2011). Toddlers & tiaras: Too much too soon?. 76(12), 160-168. Retrieved fromhttp://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db =f5h&AN=65549278&site=eds-live Feldhahn, S., & Sarvady, A. (2009). Woman to woman: The merits of kiddie beauty pageants; do kiddie beauty pageants border on child abuse?. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=126F9B899811F108&site=eds-live Lieberman, L. (2010). Protecting pageant princesses: A call for statutory regulation of child beauty pageants. 18(2), 739-777. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=126F9B899811F108&site=eds-live