Beauty pageants: A confidence boost for kids or setting kids up for disaster? Children competing in beauty pageants have a higher chance of eating disorders, mental health problems, and self esteem issues in the future. More then 2.5 million beauty pageants are held a year with over 3 million girls competing, 100 million being kids in the age range 4 weeks old to 18 years old. Nearly 6% of these girls will or are suffering from depression (Kelly, Christopher.). The question is why as a parent would you place your child into such a strong competition at such a young age? In other words, pageant kids are forced into aggressive competition and have to focus extremely on physical appearance, causing long-term effects on the young kids. Needless to say, the kids wear exploitive clothing, fake hair, teeth, and more make up then the average adult. For example: four-year-old Lindsay Jackson, a competitor on a hit TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras, shows off faux breasts and padding on her derriere to mimic Dolly Parton, and week later anther 3-year-old contestant named Paisley, wore a costume to represent Julia Roberts's streetwalker costume from Pretty Woman, complete with
a cutout dress and over-the-knee boots. Paisley won the pageant (Trigs, CharlotteWest, KayAradillas, Elaine.). Not only do some kids have poor fashion choices, behind the stage the kids are very demanding and have an attitude no child should have or be rewarded for (Trigs, CharlotteWest, KayAradillas, Elaine.).
Firstly, body experts warn that children competing in pageants become obsessed with appearance. The children obsession can promote health risks such as eating disorders, or may be so unhappy with their appearance and turn to plastic surgery in the future. Dr. Martina Cartwright, a psychologist and nutritionist says "You see a high rate of dissatisfaction with their looks when they are older. There are unrealistic expectations to be perfect. They strive to be flawless, and they can take that too far" (Trigs, CharlotteWest, KayAradillas, Elaine.). Meanwhile, a study was done between past child beauty pageant competitors, and women who have never competed before. Childhood pageant participants scored higher on body dissatisfaction, interpersonal distrust, and impulse dysregulation than non-participants, and showed a trend toward greater ineffectiveness (Wonderlich, Anna, Diann Ackard, Judith Henderson.).
These findings suggest childhood beauty pageant participation may influence adult body dissatisfaction, interpersonal distrust, and impulse dysregulation.
Secondly, 3 year olds get away with wearing provocative clothing. Like mentioned before, young kids get away with wearing fake breasts and padding to enhance there looks for more attention. Audience member Dickey, a Georgia native, was horrified at the reaction to the Pretty Woman outfit and notes that viewers never saw Paisley's second outfit--the film's dainty brown polka-dot dress-which made the performance "tasteful and funny," she says. Still, "If I knew there would be a reaction like this, I never would have used it," Dickey says. Anther mother defends her daughters costume by saying padding her daughter's costume was just a colorful way to give her a little edge (Triggs, CharlotteWest, KayAradillas, Elaine.). Kids wearing these outfits at such a young age might think that it is okay to wear that type of clothing in the future, or attracted unwanted viewers.
Additionally, is it the kids who choose to come into the pageant world or the parents? Critiques argue that a 4-week-old baby or even a 6-year-old girl doesn’t know what she wants to do, but listens to her parents. Anther statement that is often fought in the pageant world is wither the child has true self-confidence (Academic Search Premier). The child may be out going on stage and confident now, but she’s young and still doesn’t understand the whole concept. Sooner then later the stress of the compition is going to hit her and her physical
appearance may not be good enough. Last but not least, Should kids really be wearing a face caked with makeup and false eyelashes (ROBERTS, ROBINCANNING, ANDREA.). Kids should plays with dolls, not be a doll. Children may become depended on the make up to make them feel good because they feel like a “princess” and enhances their features. But really, should the newborns and little kids really be wearing all the makeup. Critiques argue over the fact all the time.
Furthermore, kids under the age of 10-years-old should not be able to compete in pageants due to the facts that the child is growing up and doesn’t need to be around the drama involved in the beauty world also the kids don’t know if that’s what they really want to do when they’re young. They listen to their mother ‘s judgment. The young kids don’t need the stressful situations. Even though there are pageants out there based on “natural beauty” (ROBERTS, ROBINCANNING, ANDREA.). Not winning could lead to the child feeling worthless and that could lead up to health issues or other disorders.
To conclude, should kids really be allowed to do pageants at young ages, or should there be an age restriction due to the fact is causes health issues and disorders, also attracting unwanted attention to little kids with the outrages costumes and sick attitude’s. Beauty pageants are highly based on looks and not what truly matters, personality. The winners of the pageants are usually the snobbiest kids, but work hard to win. Overall, should little girls be dolls, or should they play with dolls.
Kelly, Christopher. "The Last Pageant Show." Texas Monthly 39.3 (2011): 90. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 23 Jan. 2013.
"Prettiest Doll." Publishers Weekly 259.43 (2012): 57-58. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.
ROBERTS, ROBINCANNING, ANDREA. "Toddlers In Tiaras." Good Morning America (ABC) (2009): 1. Regional Business News. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Triggs, CharlotteWest, KayAradillas, Elaine. "Toddlers & Tiaras TOO MUCH TOO SOON? (Cover Story)." People 76.12 (2011): 160-168. Canadian Reference Centre. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Wonderlich, Anna, Diann Ackard, and Judith Henderson. "Childhood Beauty Pageant Contestants: Associations With Adult Disordered Eating And Mental Health." Eating Disorders 13.3 (2005): 291-301. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.