Child Beauty Pageants - The Huffington Post
Karen Kataline, a mental health professional near Denver who participated in child pageants in the 1960s, says she understands the motivation to ban the competitions, but doesn't think that's the answer. The problem "is not just the pageants, it's the parents" who support and encourage the sexualization of their children, says Kataline, author of the memoir
Could child beauty pageants be banned in the USA?
The concept of started way back in the 1920s to boost the tourism sector. The first child beauty pageants in the United States started in the 1960's. Today, the beauty pageants have conveniently seduced the very essence of beauty, confidence and poise to gain its position in the world of fashion. The beauty pageants for children are judged on how well they display the different clothes line, how well they dance and how talented they are. Are the children geared up to match the standards that most beauty pageants outline? Are child beauty pageants harmful? Let us have a look at child beauty pageants pros and cons.
Beauty pageants have become a dominant part of our culture, and based on statistics, about 5,000 child beauty pageants are held every year and 250,000 child contestants are participating. In general aspect of beauty pageant, more than two million girls are competing in beauty pageants every year in the U.S. alone. Based on statistical record presented by Women’s News verified last year, in 100,000 beauty pageants held in the U.S. each year, about 72% hire pageant coaches.
Three parents who were interviewed put their children into pageants because they have birth defects. "Her plastic surgeon thinks its wonderful because he sees parents hide their children with a facial defect," according to one mother, whose daughter has a cleft palate. "We dont go for competition or for her to win. We go to meet other children and parents. We dont want her to think shes different, that she isnt beautiful."The competition is tough. The girl child contestant has to walk the ramp to showcase her looks, poise and confidence in different types of costumes; formal wear, sport wear and casual wear. Looks being the prime focus, the face is done up with cakes of foundation and the fake eyelashes are stiffed with mascara. The lips are colored devoid of any natural gloss. The training program and subsequent practice sessions to enter a pageant are grueling. At a very young age the child learns discipline, patience and confidence. The pride of standing and modeling in front of an audience instills self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. An organizer of child beauty pageant states that pageants should be treated like extra curricular activities, and should not be interfered with academics. The winner of the pageants are usually given a scholarship to finish their collegiate degree. Most of the beauty pageants take part in community service, delivering a social message and help in bringing up funds for charity.To start one needs to understand the basis of a beauty pageant, especially those geared towards children. Beauty pageants are defined as “An assemblage of girls or women at which judges select the most beautiful” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online). Beauty in these competitions is based on many different aspects of the child and what society views as beautiful. One major child beauty pageant is Paramount Beauty Pageants. Some of the important aspects that the judges look at in the young girls is their use of formal wear, beauty, creativity, personality/stage presence, and overall appearance. Swim wear is also judged in most child pageants, but generally they score based on costume and personality rather than body type. Beauty is centered on the contestant’s facial beauty and use of complete makeup and the neatness of the contestant from the neck up, including hair. Creativity applies to the costumes and formal wear. It is important for them to be neat, put together, creative and original, glamorous, and match the theme. Another make it or break it standard is the enthusiasm and character of the contestant on stage. Eye contact, poise, smiling, and a confident attitude is important for the judges to see in order to please them. Overall appearance wraps up the criteria by making sure everything fits together and works as a whole (Paramount, Sec. Judging Criteria Para. 3).While the debate on child beauty pageants benefits and risks is getting hotter day by day, one can imagine the intensity of the destruction this could do to a child's self-esteem. What does a child need? Independence of eating and standing on his/her own and confidence that her parents love them. From birth, many children ages 0 to 18 compete in pageants that judge them on appearance, apparel, personality, interview, and talent. Parents, in most cases, sign their children up for these competitions. Pageant organizations are mostly ran by parents. There are many different views and perspectives on this subject.While the discussion on child beauty pageants pros and cons are getting hotter day by day, one can imagine the intensity of destruction, this could do to a child's self esteem. What does a child need? Independence of eating and standing on her own and confidence that her parents love her. Aren't we oblivious to those needs? Child beauty pageants facts are sometimes more horrifying than the most horror movies. The mothers pressurize their children to work on their appearance to look like a barbie doll. The cost of entering a child beauty pageant is quite expensive. The cost includes entry fees, training program, accommodation and hair and make-up services by a professional. The irony of the situation is that, parents prefer to spend money on designer dresses than on the child's education. The whole education system is a failure in the US as the interest of the child is diverted to some irrelevant beauty pageants. This is total betrayal of the trust the child has in her parents to provide a secure future. There is a lot of pressure on children to perform on the stage. If the child happens to lose, frustrations creep in. The frustration leads to depression and other psychological complication. Child beauty pageants effects are disastrous on the child's body and mind. A child's innocence is marred by fake plastic smiles, false eyelashes and polished appearance. Children grow up to think that the only way to earn money is through exploitation of their bodies, which is not true. Children develop eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia to make their bodies look perfect.Beauty pageants for children have many pros and cons. Many people believe pageants give children self-esteem and confidence. Others tend to believe that pageants are somewhat ridiculous and that parents live vicariously through their kids. The debate continues on whether children actually enjoy doing pageants or if they are forced to. Also, most beauty pageants involve a lot of makeup and expensive clothing and hairstyles. Is it worth it? And why? There are several TV shows, such as “Toddlers in Tiaras” and “,” that showcase children in pageants. As viewers, we get to have an insight on what exactly goes on and if the child is actually happy. Many of the episodes include kids who truly do not enjoy pageantry. Most of the time they did not like the practice time and the hair and makeup that they endured. Their parents blatantly bribed their children with candy and/or toys just to get them to cooperate.