Child Beauty Pageants

Topics: Beauty contest, Child beauty pageant, Beauty pageants Pages: 5 (2050 words) Published: November 21, 2010
One would believe that a life of glamorous hair and make-up, beautiful gowns, and sparkling tiaras would be every young girls dream, unfortunately, for many, this dream often turns into a nightmare. For nearly fifty  years children have been subjected to the world of beauty pageants where they have been forced to behave as young adults rather than the five year olds that they actually are. Young children spend numerous hours every day practicing speeches and model walks for upcoming pageants rather than focusing on schoolwork and playing with friends. With an emphasis placed on appearance in beauty contests, children become devastatingly concerned with the way that they look before many of them can walk. The lifestyle of child beauty pageant participants has proven to be one full of stress and negative self-evaluation which can ultimately lead to a number of mental and physical disorders as the children become older. While it is clear that beauty pageants can be damaging to its participants, especially ones who begin their career of pageantry at a young age, nothing is being done to solve this problem. Every pageant is independently organized and rules are specifically developed for each one. This variance in rules and guidelines allows an opportunity for anyone of any age to enter into beauty pageants. Pageant promoters, with little more than how much money they can obtain, do nothing to curb or change the aspects of pageants which lead to easily influenced children developing issues with their appearance and self-esteem. In order to put a stop to the lifelong negative effects of beauty pageants on young children, state laws need to be established, putting minimum age requirements and event restrictions on beauty pageants throughout the United States. Beauty pageants have continued to grow in popularity ever since they were first created in the 1920's, however, they involve a much deeper level of commitment and work than many people are aware of. With nearly  250,000 children taking part in the various 3,000 beauty pageants created each year the competition is fierce and children are forced to spend a significant amount of time every day preparing for the contests (Nussbaum 3). As each beauty pageant typically consists of modeling different forms of attire, such as sportswear, eveningwear, dancewear, and costumes for talent showcases, children spend a great deal of time at fittings for every outfit that they wear. This fitting time is magnified by the fact that many children enter a pageant every other weekend, all of which require different outfits, many of which are handmade. Children must also practice in-depth for the interviews and talent portions of beauty contests, learning every word they speak or song they sing by heart. As for the days of the pageants much time is needed to prepare with, "hair lasting around an hour and forty-five minutes, make-up around an hour" (Nussbaum 2). For children as young as the age of one to be forced to sit still for such great lengths borders on child abuse as parents do not take into account the welfare of their children (Nussbaum 2). Children spend so much time in the world of beauty that they tend to neglect their schoolwork or even their playtime in exchange for an early entrance into an adult world. As most children are not capable of making the decision to enter beauty pageants before they can speak it is obviously the decision of parents to place their children into these negative settings. However, when confronted, many parents insist that it is purely in their children's best interest and that their children will, "gain better social skills, listening skills, confidence, independence, poise, and talent," by participating in these intense competitions (Wonderlich 298). What many parents do not seem to understand is that they themselves often mentally hurt their children rather than help them. As children move into pre-adolescence and adolescence they become more susceptible...
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