Few organized child activities spawn as much heated debate as child beauty pageants. They strike a nerve with some people who believe small children should not parade around in hairdos, clothing and makeup that are not age-appropriate. But proponents claim it builds confidence in their children.
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External Vs. Internal Values
Psychologist and TV talk show host Phil McGraw told pageant moms in a 2003 episode that they need to explain to their children that a beauty pageant is a fantasy. If parents don’t stress that fact, children might be more concerned with developing their looks than with developing their internal selves, he said. Beauty pageants stress looks, glamor and, often, provocative attire. Children can easily believe after competing in pageants that they should concentrate to much on external and superficial aspects of beauty instead of developing internal values of caring for others and a love of learning.
Possible Emotional Problems
Syd Brown, a child and adolescent psychologist in Maryland, agreed with McGraw’s sentiments on “Good Morning America.” Not only do children who compete in pageants measure their self-worth by their looks, they are in for a downfall if they don’t stay as pretty when they grow up, says Brown. Kids could develop acne, or their figures might not develop into what they imagined they would. Many pageant kids who placed all their eggs in their looks basket might be in for emotional problems. Martina M. Cartwright, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona, said at PsychologyToday.com that it's not uncommon for teens who used to be in pageants to develop eating disorders and have body image problems.
Beauty pageants are expensive, and some parents use money that could be spent on education or maybe family vacations on pageants. The average cost of a...
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