22 October 2013
Child Beauty Pageants
“Lipstick, big hairdos and sparkly crowns the world of beauty pageants can be child’s play” (Schultz). Finding the right pair of earrings to match the dress; and the right talent may not sound like a sport to some people. “Children are the fastest-growing segment of the beauty pageant market, with annual children’s competitions attracting an estimated three million children, mostly girls, ages six months to sixteen years, who compete for crowns and cash”(Schultz 1). Beauty pageants are the second biggest sport in the world (Day2). A child’s future can be jeopardized by a beauty pageant; it can cause financial strain, vanity, self-esteem issues, and rob a girl of her childhood. A child’s world is fresh and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is the parent’s misfortune that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before a child reaches adulthood (Schultz 1). Changes are needed in the pageant world; both girls and their mothers within the pageants seen are becoming out of control. There is not a great enough reason to be dressing a child up in partial dental pieces, spray tans, and more makeup than a Kardashian. “The run for crowns and cash can cost thousands of dollars. Entry fees range from $10 to $200. Dresses can cost up to $5,000, with most averaging $1,000 or so” (Schultz2). Contestants compete in many different categories; and they are required to wear multiple outfits. Traveling, makeup, coaches, and modeling lessons all contribute to the enormous pageant cost. Advocates for pageants claim their children benefit; earning modeling contracts, cash, and college scholarships; this is true, a child can earn money and such from a pageant (Schultz 2). To earn these items a child must win; therefore, when a child does not win the thousands of dollars that was spent is all gone with nothing to show for it. Parent’s want their child to be the best so prior to the pageant they hire professionals they feel will help their child become the best. The Professional helps the child prepare for the pageant from how to walk to what to say. Pageants have a talent category that contestants have to prepare for; that can mean dance lessons or voice lessons. Both have a high price tag (Schultz 2). Most pageant contestants have to travel to get to the pageant they are competing in. For an out of town pageant not only do parents pay thousands of dollars for outfits and entry fees they have travel expenses as well. The cost of a plan ticket, gas, and the hotel room can add another few hundred dollars for their daughter to compete. With all the cost involved in the pageant world parents are left financially strapped (Schultz 2). “Pageants have changed over the years, with children going further and further to look more attractive” (Schultz 3). When child beauty pageants first started; a hair bow, and party dress were the only things required. Pageants are a competition that is based mainly on physical attributes. In today’s pageant world it is not unusually to see the children with highlighted hair. “Some young contestants wear false eyelashes or "flippers," which are false teeth used to cap missing front teeth” (Schultz 3). Pageants teach children that looks are the most important thing, and girls become very vain. Even when children are not at a pageant the girls are worried about their hair, and makeup. The children focus only on their next pageant and are always preparing for it. When at home they have to be the center of attention, and when they are not they throw a hissy fit. Their Pageant life becomes their everyday life with the focus solely on pageants. Girls get dolled up in costumes, hair products, and makeup that their parent’s spend thousands of dollars on. This is making girls believe at an extremely young age that their worth is based on appearance (Cruz 2).
Pageants have an extreme negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. Parents claim pageants build their child’s confidence, self-esteem, and forms longtime friendships (Schultz 3). The belief that their child confidence rise when she steps on stage is the thought of pageant parents. This may be true, but when the child is transformed with caked on makeup, fake teeth, and a sparkly dress, how is the child blossoming? The parent is creating a false confidence, and the child is not showing what is real about themselves. “An Ofsted study of almost 150,000 children aged 10 to 15 found that 32% worried about their bodies, while a recent BBC survey highlighted the fact that "half of girls aged eight to 12 want to look like the women they see in the media and six out of 10 thought they'd be happier if they were thinner"(Day 3). It is a sad thing that the pageants judge on what they find to be beautiful; young girls are adorable without all the glitz and glamour. As soon as these girls step on stage they are being judged. It may be a self-esteem boost to the child that wins, but what about the girl that does not. The losing girl goes home with her crazy pageant mom nagging her, telling her how horrible she did, and how she wasted so much money. The child develops self-doubt and believes that there is something wrong with her. With the focuses on their bodies many pageant contestants develop an eating disorder to try and achieve the body that the pageant finds beautiful. The children are taught at a young age that the other girls are competition. They hear their mothers talk nasty about everyone there; therefore, the children have a hard time making friends (Friedman).
When a child is involved in pageants their days are filled with hair appointments, dance lessons, and dress fitting. There is no time left to be real kid. With all the pageant prepping their school work falls behind, and their grades suffer. “Pageants are pushing girls into the realm of sexuality, long before their time” (Schultz 3). When parents encourage a five-year-old to act like a fifteen-year-old, they are encouraging them to be sexy and seductive. These parents put their children in skimpy outfits, and have them dance pornographically on stage. A child focus should be on playing, and school. Pageants are taking precedent over things a child needs to be doing (Schultz 2). Parents need to stop putting their toddler on stage in a skimpy swimsuit, with a gallon of glitter and makeup. No Three-year-old should get on stage puckering their lips and jiggling their ass like an exotic dancer, especially if they are still wearing diapers. With all the dirty dancing and skimpy outfits, parents are giving pedophiles an invitation to ogle. Society wonders why youth is having sex earlier, and becoming pregnant. Maybe, it is the fact they are being taught to be seductive at three-years-old.
Cruz, Deborah. “The French Government Bans Beauty Pageants and I hope it Catches On.”
The Huffington Post 20 September. 2013, United States ed.: Print. Day, Elizabeth. “Living dolls: inside the world of child beauty pageants.” The Guardian 10 July. 2013, United States ed.: Print
Schultz, Kristen and Ann Pleshette. “Beauty Pageants Draw Children and Criticism.” ABC
News 26 February. 2013, United States ed.: Print
Friedman, Hilary. “The Evolution of American Style Child Beauty Pageants.” The Huffington Post 10 May. 2011, United States ed.: Print